We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Public Eyes

The young monks and temple boys swam and dived from an old wooden skiff, playing in the water of a small jungle cove away from public eyes.  As in a dream, I happened upon them at the end of a jungle track, just two narrow ruts leading to nowhere.  Hidden by the dense green of the forest, I thought they did not see me as I sat in my vehicle watching, the public eyes they sought to avoid.  But then one young monk in his twenties, shaven head and eyebrows, looked my way.  He saw my public eyes, and in response he smiled a broad, happy smile that filled his eyes with a quiet happy glance.  What a funny joke, his laughing glance said.  Here at the end of the track and the lake in the deep forest you found us!  Now our frolic is complete.  You are not an intrusion, not a problem, and not a burden.  You haven't ruined our swim, his smile assured me.  You are a gift making our swim perfect.  We missed you, public eyes.