Kho khob chai than
Thank you from the team in Laos for all your support in 2013! We thought for this report, we would give share with you a the life of a novice monk in their own words, so you can fully understand the culture and context of this project.
If you become a Novice Monk, first you have to study about the Pali language, second, Buddhist teaching and third, meditation. All this things are very important for Novices.
When you become a Novice, you must change everything, such as clothes, body and mind. Buddhist people are not allowed to suggest another person should believe in Buddhism. If people want to know, they have to learn by themselves. Buddha says every religion is very good, and people can choose what they would like to believe. After you become a Novice for a long time, it depends on you which subject you want to study next. Like me, now I'm studying English, Japanese, and Chinese. I also study the Lao language at the Monk’s school. At the Monk’s school we have twelve subjects, sometimes making me crazy about studying so many things.
Novices and Monks usually practice meditation. When they practice meditation, they have to be calm and peaceful. For example, while they are practicing walking meditation their mind must not be thinking about their family, work or the world. If they don't have an empty mind they can't call it meditation. They have to stop thinking about their work, family and friends. But they have to think about the present moment and be aware of their body and their breathing.
On the weekend, Novices usually work around their temples. At their temples, they have a leader Novice when they work around the temple. He usually gives advice to the small Novices. Some Novices sweep around the temple's yard, some Novices clean around the temple, and some Novices cut the firewood in the forests. Some days they work very hard, but some days not as hard. Most Novices get very tired except the old Monks because they study about Buddhism instead of working.
The lives of Novices and Monks in the temple are very busy. They spend many hours working, studying and practicing meditation.
I hope this shows the amazing attitude the students have towards life and studying, given the opportunities and scholarships that your support and donations provide. The students have such a passion for learning that it makes it hard to not be motivated and inspried by their attitudes and commitment.
Thank you for your support and see you in 2014 with more students and novices!
All the best