Today is a holiday, a Buddhaday. Yesterday was headshavingtime. It's quite cold, but not cold enough to have no more mosquitoes. So they have easy accsess for their meal while monks and a nun walking peacefully through the village for the meal of this day. Going on pindabat [almsround] one is not allowed to wear a woolen hat unless one is sick.
This morning few people where present to offer food. I confess, i was gettin worried wether i will receive enough. Thougts of selfpity, like: without your teacher you do not count here, your female, only a mae chee, arouse. not much, not strong, but i noticed them.
Maybe i'm spoiled, usually i receive enough to feed an entire family. grateful i finished almsround, having again more than enough food for one day. [it's not allowed to save some food for next day]
When i came back to the monastery i put in my bowl what i wished to eat. The rest, i wanted to bring to the buddhahall. where those who want can take it. After 12:00 o'clock a villager comes and takes the untouched leftovers.
[Nowadays the food is offerd in little plastic bags.]
When i entered the buddhahall everybody was there. It almost felt like a surprise party, which it was not, of course. I put my food on tryes and plates, prepared for a cerymony, as the others did. When i wanted to leave the old monk said: nang! [sit!]
Oh, oh, i was still wearing the monkesrobe that i use to wear for almsround. A mae chee wearing a monksrobe, for some people possibly offending, for some defenately a sign of going in the right directon, but in any case seldom and unusual. People were greeting me, some offering flowers and food to the old monk. I sat at his side to his feet and at a certain point of a chant i joined in. First low volume ... it was o.k., i was not chased out. next time with more power ... Than two monks, i've never seen before came in. Oh,oh, i thought.
I bowed to them and they stared at me, the alien. I turned around again to sit as before and prepared for questions. Than food and monksbuckets [a yellow/orange bucket that contains things a monk may need in small portions, you always find toothpaste, toiletpaper, soysouce, incensestick and so on] were placed in front of the monks, suddenly one tray full of food in front of me. Than the old monk ordered to offer me one of the buckets and we did our chanting together.
The villagers took the five precepts [trainingroules: not to kill, not to steel, no sexual misconduct, no false speec, no intoxicants or alcohol, this last one will be broken soon ...] and went home. I heard some questions about phra farang, but nobody answerd and nobody insisted.
By the way, i guess my teacher is staying at the monastery i just left, at the cemetery, where i often meditated. With luck a place for a new meditation center is found.
For outsiders this bucket story might be not very interesting but it is somehow a milestone, a sign of anicca - even thaiculture changes.