The following testimonial and photos were contributed by Xiao Yan, a mother and a participant of the Temporary Ordination held in Samnak (December 2010). Thanks Xiao Yan.
My initial purpose was to get my boys to be independent and responsible. As a modern and typical Singaporean, I was very ‘kaisu’ and do not know how to let go- everything must be done by me or my domestic helper which in turn made my boys grow to be terribly dependent and irresponsible.
To khun mae’s monastery to practice short term ordination for Novices were our first trip for my two boys and me. To us, everything was new and fresh. I was surprised when my boys did not reject the experience and were even peacefully waiting for their hair to be shaved.
It was uncomfortable when my boys were supposed to be separated from me after they put their robes and needed to sleep independently in a tent. I was very worried cos both are very attached to me and they had never been placed separately from me at a new and strange place before.
Getting them to settle and calming me for the first night was not easy even with khun mere’s constant reassurance. I still struggled and couldn’t sleep. When I saw my boys in the morning, they looked fresh and alert.
I felt relieved and hoped that they will able to settle and sleep well. On the second night, my two boys came to me and wanting to sleep in the same area with me. Thankfully, Khun mae spoke to them with warmth and love and they finally settled with love and peace. I vividly remember one night when my younger son who was very loving wanted just a hug from his mum badly. He asked permission from khun mere cos novice wearing robes are not allowed to have contact with females. Nevertheless, consent was given by khun mae who said that “hugs and love are human passion and perfectly normal especially when we are so attached”. My boy told me that “mum, I love you and understand bringing up a child is not as easy and I do understand that I am not supposed to have body contact but I just want a hug from you. I love you, mum” with his words my heart melted and I teared. I never knew that my boy could be so passionate and thoughtful. He used to be demanding and selfish.
The trip was really awesome and fruitful. It is something that I will never get another chance to experience. It has changed my point of view in certain things. I have learned to take things easy and not to be so skeptical. Khun mae has not only taught me chanting, meditation and to practice self cultivation in line with Buddha’s teaching but through the whole process, both my children and myself have understood the importance of showing perseverance, endurance and loving in our lives.
During our all night chanting, I was amazed by my boy’s persistence to stay up and listen attentively to the chanting till the end. Not a sight of tiredness or frustration in him. He still proceeded with their almround in the morning with enthusiasm. That was amazing!
Back in Singapore, we, (my hubby and myself) noticed a great change in both boys. They were independent and helpful now. Especially the younger one, he is able to take bus and mrt to and from school when I used to fetch and sent. My older one is more joyous and optimistic. He was a pessimistic and withdrawn boy. My boys will ask to go again now and then. It was really encouraging.
Thank you very much, Khun mae, this trip has brought us out from our comfortable and ignorant way of life and helped us to understand the impermanence of life and the consequences of being ignorant. We have awakened to the importance of practicing the precepts and Buddha’s teachings.
I am sincerely thankful to Khun mere and the people in the monastery. I will return at the end of 2011.