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Alok's Posts / Monastery

Tea, Cups and Hot Water

Since summer started, the Monastery Monks have been practicing Mindful Meditation in the Buddha Hall, from four a.m. in the morning.

After an hour and half of sitting still, they all look forward to their stretching exercises and sipping hot cups of strong jasmine tea, sometimes flavoured with bits of ginger & orange.

For the past three days however, there have been strange occurrences in the hall.

The first time, there was only the large kettle with boiling water placed in the room. The next time there were many cups, but the tea & water were missing. This morning, there was only the large jar of jasmine tea, but the boiling water and the cups were nowhere to be found.

Just as Sensei entered the room, the Monks assembled in a semi circle and bowed to him.

Even before Sensei could speak, Angry Monk broke out and said, “Sensei, I am very angry! You have been tormenting us every morning by not giving us our tea. Now, when I sit for meditation, I think of the tea and not of mindfulness. Are you teaching us how NOT to meditate?”

Sensei laughed loudly and smiled benevolently at Angry Monk.

Business Monk bowed to Sensei and said, “Sensei, I have abandoned everything to be with you. But depriving us of our tea is really taking it too far. I really wonder if mindfulness is worth it…”

Sensei nodded, as if he were in complete agreement!

Loyal Monk bowed twice to Sensei and keeping his head bowed said, “Sensei, I am happy to get up earlier in the morning and help in the kitchen if we have a problem in arranging the Monks’ tea. I guess you are teaching us that to be mindful, you also have to be helpful?”

Sensei smiled and acknowledged Loyal Monk’s offer.

All of a sudden, Laughing Monk began to laugh, then slowed to a giggle and said, “I think Sensei wants us to practice sadness meditation. That’s why he is smiling while we are feeling so wretched. But I am happy!” Laughing Monk laughed many times over.

Sensei also giggled and gave Laughing Monk some company.

Sensei then looked towards Head Monk and requested him to speak his mind.

Head Monk first bowed to Buddha, then to Sensei and softly said, “Sensei, thank you for teaching us the true principle of Mindfulness. The tea is Wisdom, the hot water is your Grace and the cups are our Minds. Put together, they comprise mindfulness and when any one goes missing, we suffer from agitation & incompleteness. ”

Sensei smiled at Head Monk and clapped three times.



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