a nun and a lot of lay people were gatherd in the half ready but already beautiful buddhahall. 28 th aniversary of the monastery.
the first surprise was, that nuns were named: phra [monk], mae chii [nun], upasaka, upasika [lay], in a speach of a monk, very unusual, nuns existence usually is not mentioned.
second surprise was,
after interfearing of a lay woman, i was seperated from layity and asked to sit with monkscushion right behind the abbot who was sitting on a higher seat, monks left and right on the walls, on podests, as usual, laypeople were sitting on the floor in the middle back part. thats a quite typical sitting orden for ceremonies.
in front of ajahns seat was another, ever higher seat for ajahn's teacher who was the point of concentration that evening.
after i prostrated to him from far, he came for a chat, a short one due to my limited thai speaking skills. he was pleased of how i prostrate, sit in meditation, behave [surprise]. than the chanting started, i could join in to the abhidhamma and some parittas. i still haven't memorised them entirely but to chant with others it's ok.
the monks were offerd some water, hot ovaltine, soymilk ... [no surprise at all]. i meditated most of the time but i was very hungry and my stomac made noises.
i thought, with a touch of bitterness, i confess "good that some nuns have learned to be restained, patient and without envy."
at the end of the ceremony the monks received some gifts, put in front of them and offered by the people. suddnly just before i wanted to close eyes for meditation again, a little tray with offerings were given to me [next surprise] and i joined the choire of the blessings.