BootsnAll Travel Network

in search of enlightenment

this morning as i was getting ready for the day, the peace and quiet of the little road i’m staying in was shattered by the loud banging of drums and “lion dance” music which seemed to be right outside my door! i wasn’t able to get changed in time to see the actual lion dance, but this served as a reminder that today is chinese new year! all the markets have colorful red decorations and little treats, and i keep hearing lion dances going on around town but always seem to be in the wrong place at the wrong time – i still haven’t even caught one! maybe tonight… =)

after the lion dance music in the morning i decided to call up good old eddie from chiang mai to pick me up so that i could visit the bo sa umbrella village a few kilometers outside of town. he came to get me and told me stories along the way – he’s leaving for chiang rai on friday to take his family to watch his son’s muay tai match! the umbrella village was ok – sort of touristy, but i did enjoy walking around and watching the craftspeople at work. i hung out watching this smiley old man for a bit – he was putting all of the umbrella’s spines into place and securing them with string, then later a woman would apply the mulberry (sa) paper, and others would paint intricate designs on them.

such a happy smile

eddie also took me to a silver-making factory but i was starting to get sleepy so i had him take me home so i could get in a nap. i asked him to come back at 5pm because i wanted to visit wat suan dok, a temple a short distance from town which is known for beautiful photo ops at sunset. i was also interested in learning more about the meditation retreats offered by the temple, so i dropped by the “monk chat office” to get some info.

every monday, wednesday, and friday from 5-7pm, the monks who are studying at the university here hold a free “monk chat” session where you can come and sit with them and discuss anything you want to know – about buddhism, about chiang mai, about their lives, chit chat about the weather, anything. a couple from sweden and i sat down with two young monks from cambodia who were eager to answer our questions and to give their own insight into buddhism. they were both so friendly! they said their families suggested they go into this life, but that they were the ones who chose to continue to follow the path of buddha – one of them started when he was just 9 years old!

i got an application for next week’s meditation retreat, which is not quite as intensive as the one jess and i tried. it does seem like a great introduction to buddhism though, as well as meditation practices, including vipassana. overall, i really liked the inviting feel of the monk chat office, and felt very excited to sign up for the retreat, which starts on tuesday and lasts just one night. it’s held at the temple’s meditation center which is a few kilometers out of town, and again everything is included. it’s perfect because i paid for my room up until next tuesday too! (my landlady is so cute, this morning she gave me my receipt and two oranges – she told me i need to eat. haha!)

i’m really looking forward to another chance to try out the vipassana style of meditation and to learn more about my grandparents’ religion. i think this course will be a great experience, and i can’t wait to tell you all about it! =)

wat suan dok - chiang mai
wat suan dok, chiang mai

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3 responses to “in search of enlightenment”

  1. Mom says:

    Sounds like a good plan:) you. Mom

  2. kimi says:

    cool malia! I like this new zen side of you that is unfolding as you explore your surrounding in search of enlightenment! very cool!

  3. andie macdowell gallery

    I Googled for something completely different, but found your page…and have to say thanks. nice read.

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