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A Buddha in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Michael Babcock, Monday, July 1st, 2013

On our trips to Thailand there are many temples that we visit year after year; one of these is Wat Mahatat in Nakhon Si Thammarat. Over the years I’ve come to especially love one Buddha statue there and have photographed it frequently.

The full name of the temple is Wat Phra Mahatat Woramahawihaan, sometimes abbreviated to Wat Phra Boromathat. It is found a couple kilometers from the town center on Thanon Ratchadamnoen, the long street that runs the length of the town, and is easily reached by songthaew.

Statue 2004

The statue in 2004

This first picture shows the statue as I saw it in 2004. It shows a beautiful, stone statue that has weathered over the years. The cheeks have been gold-leafed by worshippers and the statue is dressed in a plain orange robe such as a simple monk in Thailand would wear.

(Click images to see larger version.)

The statue is one of many found in the Thap Kaset Congregation Hall, also knows as “The Gallery at the Foot of the Buddha’s Relics.” It’s a wihaan (or viharn) or meeting room found to the left of the main chedi – there’s a blue sign with an arrow pointing to it. Once you enter there’s a quadrangle with two levels of Buddha statues. It’s a quiet, peaceful place.

There’s something about this particular Buddha statue that attracted me from the beginning. According to my understanding, and verified by The symbolism,iconography and meanings behind the Buddha Image, this position of the statue represents:

Statue 2006

The statue in 2006

Absence of fear – either one or both arms are shown bent at the elbow and the wrist, with the palm facing outwards and the fingers pointing upwards. It shows the Buddha either displaying fearlessness in the face of adversity, or encouraging others to do so. The right hand raised is also referred to as “calming animals” and both hands raised are also called “forbidding the relatives”.

The next picture (to the right) from 2006 shows the statue substantially unchanged except that it’s now wearing a fancier robe – obvious when you click on the image to bring up a larger version of the picture.

I loved the simple rock statue, the weathered face with the gold leaf; it gave a peacefulness and the sense of aging to the statue, a hint that with the passing years, one can attain wisdom. It seemed to be an echo of the Buddhist teaching that everything arises and passes. As the statue slowly aged, it seemed to echo the fact that “everything that has the nature to arise has the nature to cease.”

Statue 2007

The statue in 2007

I like this picture to the left from 2007 because it shows the Buddha statue without the orange robes: you can see how the body has been gold-leafed by worshippers over the years. You can see how the gold leaf on the face has weathered.

So it came as a bit of a surprise, and not a pleasant one, when in 2011 I arrived to find that the statue had been painted over in gold and black. Instead of an beautiful, aging statue the image now appeared to me to be new and garish, almost like a person who can’t accept that they are growing older and is doing everything in their power to stay young.

Staute 2001

The statue in 2011

The change in the Buddha ended up being a useful teaching for me. This periodic painting of beautiful old statues is not new for me in Thailand. It first happened at a temple in Chaiya many years ago. I should not have been surprised. Things age quickly in Thailand and there are often efforts to make things look new again.

On reflection, it turns out to exemplify the fact that “everything that has the nature to arise has the nature to cease.” In this case, my beautiful “old” statue ceased: it arose as a painted “new” statue.

The Buddhist text called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta (Setting in Motion the Wheel of Dhamma) purports to be the first teaching of the Buddha after attaining enlightenment. From the Sutta:

As this exposition was proceeding, the spotless, immaculate vision of the Dhamma appeared to the Venerable Kondanna and he knew: “Everything that has the nature to arise has the nature to cease.”

Staute 2013

The statue in 2013

These are the last two lines of the teaching:

Then the Blessed One made the utterance, “Truly, Kondanna has understood, Kondanna has understood!”

Thus it was that the Venerable Kondanna got the name Annakondanna: Kondanna Who Understands.”

It appears as if Kondanna became enlightened by realizing the truth that “Everything that has the nature to arise has the nature to cease” – not just as an intellectual concept but as an absolute knowing that informed the way he approached the world.

If we look carefully, at this picture from 2013, two years later (click on the picture to see a larger version), we can see small indications that the gold paint is already starting to age. It will be interesting to continue my yearly visits and to see how the statue continues to change, continues to age, continues to exhibit the nature of all conditioned things: arising, abiding for awhile, and then ceasing.


I previously blogged on this temple:


Written by Michael Babcock, April 2013

Kasma’s Mother

Michael Babcock, Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Recently Kasma’s mother, Somjai Loha-unchit, passed away. She had been quite ill for many years and living in a Thai hospital for the past two years or so. Her death, although long expected, still brings a wellspring of grief into our life.

Kasma with Mom

Kasma & her mom, early days

I especially wanted to acknowledge her passing on this blog because, in many ways, Kasma’s mother is the inspiration for everything that has appeared here.

Kasma first learned to cook and obtained her love of food from her mom. She dedicated her first book, It Rains Fishes: Legends, Traditions and the Joys of Thai Cooking

To Mother, Who taught me how to cook;

More importantly, she raised Kasma to strive to achieve what she wanted and not to settle for less. Largely because of her mother’s influence, Kasma left the corporate world (much to the dismay of her more conventional father) and ultimately ended up introducing Thai food and culture to thousands and thousands of people over the years. It really all began with her mother.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Kasma & Mom 3

At Cha-am, 2010

Mom's 90th

90th Birthday, 2011

Although her last years were difficult, Kasma would take her out on excursions whenever possible. Her mother had always loved the beach and this picture shows her playing in the sand on her last visit to the beach at Cha-am in 2010.

And up until the end, mom did like her cake and ice cream. Here she was celebrating her 90th birthday in 2011.


Kasma & Mom 2

On an outing in 2006

Here is the reply Kasma made to emails from students, friends and trip members who wanted to know if they could make a memorial gift on behalf of Kasma’s mother:

“Thank you so much for your email and your condolences. I really appreciate it.

“A memorial gift isn’t necessary, but if you wish, I think you would honor my mother very much by making a donation to the Global Fund for Women. My mother fought to be recognized in an era and in a part of the world where women were oppressed and secondary to men. Raised in poverty without the resources to get an education beyond secondary school, she had the strength to lift us out of poverty by her frugalness, hard work and dedication to the family and was very vocal in making sure her daughters get an education equal to her sons. She was absolutely delighted when I honored her by giving up a prestigious job with a large American corporation to put the cooking and survival skills I learned from her to good use to create a life of my own.

“Should you decide to make a donation on her behalf, her name is Somjai Loha-unchit.”


Kasma‘s Mom, 2010

Somjai Loha-unchit, 2010


Written by Michael Babcock, November, 2012

Samrong (Thailand) Street Repairs

Michael Babcock, Monday, October 1st, 2012

Often on the streets of larger Thai cities you’ll find seamstresses and cobblers set up right on the street. This blog looks one of each on the streets Samrong, part of Nakhon Thong in Samut Prakan, which is adjacent to Bangkok to the SE.

Shoe Repairman

Samrong street cobbler

These street stalls offer an inexpensive alternative for getting repairs made. For years I’ve been buying a rather expensive pair of very comfortable shoes that seemed to need replacing every 15 months or so; it is always the outside heel on each side that wears down. It was only two years ago that it occurred to me to try Thai street repair.

(Click images to see larger version.)

Kasma owns a townhouse in the district of Nakhon Thong, which is right across a klong (canal) from Samrong Market located just off Sukhumvit Road a little ways past Soi Sukhumvit 113. The street cobbler is found in between that Soi and Sukhumvit Soi 111; he sets up just under an overpass leading from his side of the street to the Imperial World shopping center.

I took the shoes and showed them to him. I don’t speak enough Thai to explain what I wanted and didn’t really need to: it was obvious. He did not replace the whole sole; he added a new piece to even out the bottom of the shoe and then put a rubber sole replacement over the whole existing (and now evened out) sole. The cost? I remember 200 baht (less than $7.00).

Shoe Repairman

Samrong shoe repairman

Fixing a Shoe

Finishing up

You can see on the left picture how the cobbler’s stand is nestled in on the street.

The repair lasted half a year. The shoes cost roughly $180 and last about 15 months – so about $12 a month or $84 for 6 months. Extending the shoes for a half a year for $7.00 sure beats $84! Now every year I bring a pair or two of shoes to be repaired.


Street Seamstress

Street seamstress

Seamstresses are another type of street repair that we take advantage of in Thailand. Each year we bring a few things that need repair such as a pair of jeans with a rip, a computer bag with a torn strap.

This particular seamstress is found on Sukhumvit Soi 113 just on the edge of Samrong market. I usually drop my items off on the way to somewhere and then pick them up on the way back, usually a couple or more hours later. This last year I had her repair some moth holes in a sweater and replace a zipper on a bag. I’m usually embarrassed by how little she charges: 10 to 30 baht, usually. It hardly seems fair!

Street Stall

Seamstress on the street

Seamstress at Work

Repairing a bag

Street seamstresses are easy to find – they just set up on the street.


Some related reading

  • Here’s a blog on Samrong Market with some pictures. The market has two areas: the blue marker in the map shows the section near Imperial World Shopping Center. There’s also a large section on the other side of Sukuhmvit road directly by the canal (shown in blue).
  • Here’s some more pictures of Samrong Market, including some shots of the canal.
  • Another type of repair stall that you’ll find is watch repair. I’ve previously blogged on a watch repair stall on Sukhumvit Road near Soi 55 (Thong Lo) in Watch Repair – A Thai Option. The street watch repairman we use in Samrong is found on the street on the south-west side of Imperial World shopping center.
  • Kasma has written a great blog about the community around her townhouse: Nakhon Thong – Portrait of a Thai Community.

Written by Michael Babcock, June 2012

Wat That Noi in Nakhon Si Thammarat

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Wat That Noi (วัดธาตุน้อย) is a temple found in the south of Thailand in Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. It was the residence of Portan Klai (1876-1970), said to be one of the most famous guru monks of his generation. The temple includes a wax-reproduction of him as well as his mortal remains. (See Portan Klai (1876-1970) of Wat That Noi was one of the most famous guru monks in Nakhon Si Thammarat (NST) one generation ago. (See Wayne’s Dhamma Blog.)

Reclining Buddha

Recining Buddha at Wat That Noi

The most famous temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat is, of course, Wat Mahatat, found in the town itself. Kasma and I visited Wat That Noi on a recent visit and it is worth a stop. It is found to the west of the town of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Highway 4015. Here’s a map of its location and more photos. One of its more prominent features is the large reclining Buddha shown to the left.

(Click image to see larger version.)

At Thai temples I love to wander around and look at the details, from the nagas on the staircases to the bas-relief of the walls. I’m including a slide show of some of the interesting features I found at this slightly off-the-beaten-track temple.


Wat That Noi Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.
Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

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Reclining Buddha
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Nagas (dragons) on a staircase at Wat That Noi

Reclining Buddha at Wat That Noi in Nakhon Si Thammart Province

Detail of the reclining Buddha

Another view of the reclining Buddha

Wax reproduction of Portan Klai, a famous abbot

Buddha statue at Wat That Noi

Buddha head on statue at Wat That Noi

Another dragon at Wat That Noi

Buddha bas-relief

Another bas-relief at Wat That Noi

Elephant, detail of bas-relief

Concrete decoration on wall

Bas-relief sculpture at Wat That Noii

Monk drying clothes at Wat That Noi

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Reclining Buddha thumbnail
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Written by Michael Babcock, May 2012

Two Thai Hospitals

Michael Babcock, Thursday, March 15th, 2012

During my recent trip to Thailand I had occasion to visit hospitals in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Trang. Here are my impressions and a comparison to previous visits. (See my previous blog Two Emergency Rooms from 2010.)

This year I visited the hospitals simply to get a Vitamin B-12 shot. I am deficient not for dietary reasons but because a problem my body has in processing B-12 and making it usable. The solution is a monthly B-12 shot. I had brought two vials to Thailand, intending to give myself the shot; unfortunately, this turned out not to be possible so instead I went to the hospital to have it done.

In Chiang Mai I went to Chiangmai Ram Hospital. Things went very smoothly. First I registered, which involved filling out a form, showing my passport and getting photographed. The next step was a doctor visit to confirm that I needed the shot. Then the nurse gave me the shot and I paid the cashier. The entire process took about 45 minutes. The cost was 212 baht, about $7.00 U.S. at the current exchange rate of 30 baht to a dollar. This included:

  • Medication: 84 baht
  • Medical Supplies: 28 baht
  • Nursing OPD Service Charge: 50 baht
  • Service OPD CHANGE: 50 baht

In Bangkok I went to what is now called Bangkok International Hospital, although on my card from previous visits it was called Bangkok General Hospital and it’s called Bangkok Hospital on its website.

When I went in, noting how much the hospital seems to have grown, I showed my registration card and they took a photograph. They then sent me off to the International Registration Desk on the second floor; a bit of a trek to find. Then the same procedure as at Chiang Mai: a doctor visit to verify the need, a nurse gives the shot and payment is made. The whole thing took about an hour and 15 minutes. The cost? 810 baht (about $27.00 at the current exchange rate of 30 baht to a dollar). This included:

  • Medication: 260 bahtOPD Nursing Charge: 150 baht
  • Physician Evaluation: 400 baht

As a comparison, when I get the shot from my physician (at her office) in the U.S. I have a $10.00 (about 300 baht) co-pay.

I also visited two hospitals in Trang. I don’t have the names. None of the staff at these registration counters spoke much English at all. I was unable to get treated at either hospital because they did not have the medication available.

A few observations:

  • It was certainly much cheaper at Chiang Mai – about 1/4 the cost compared to Bangkok.
  • The discrepancy in medication cost is interesting: 84 baht in Chiang Mai, 260 baht in Bangkok – over 3 times as expensive. I find it hard to believe that the medication costs that much more in Bangkok. I chalk it up to Bangkok Hospital adding more mark-up on their pharmaceuticals so they can make more money.
  • Another possibility is that Bangkok Hospital has two price scales now, one for international patients and one for Thais, though I have no way of verifying that. Several times in the past the fee for a doctor at this hospital was 200 baht and 300 baht for a specialist. This visit was the first time that a distinction was made between Thai patients and foreign patients and I was sent to an international registration desk: before, all patients went through the same procedure. I guess that international patients pay more: based on the previous standard fee of 200 baht for a physician visit and the higher medication cost compared to the Chiang Mai hospital.
  • Over the years, Bangkok Hospital has become much more impersonal. The first time I came, there was a doorman to open the car door and a nicely dressed young woman to escort you to the registration desk. In the past, the people at the desk were friendlier – this time they seemed distracted and harried at both the downstairs desk and the international desk on the second floor. They used to have someone escort you from downstairs registration to your next stop: now you’re left to fend for yourself.
  • Medical costs appear to be on the rise, at least at Bangkok Hospital.
  • Bangkok Hospital has gotten less friendly, even compared to my Emergency Room visit in February 2010. The experience this time was more akin to a U.S. hospital, where it’s clear that making money is at least as important as treating the patient. I would be curious to know if the Thai side of the hospital still retains more of the previous friendliness.
  • I had a better experience at Chiang Mai Ram hospital: I found the staff friendly and welcoming.
  • One big difference between the U.S. & Thai hospitals as that no mention of payment is made before treatment: it is only after that you are sent to the cashier to make payment – there seems to be no need to make proof of payment before treatment.
  • Bangkok Hospital must treat a large number of Arab patients. All of the signs are available in Thai, English and Arabic (and some in Japanese). A notice in the international waiting area tells where to go to change several Arabic currencies into baht.

Compared to the U.S., there’s still lots to like. I could never have gone to a hospital to get a B12 shot in the U.S. without an appointment and been in and out in 45 to 75 minutes. Simply wouldn’t happen. The overall costs still are much lower. The standard of care seems very good.

In future years, though, I’ll make sure to bring the medication and either administer the shot myself or go to a clinic to have it done. I may look for an alternative to Bangkok Hospital next time.


Written by Michael Babcock, March 2012

Buddhism, Ajahn Viradhammo

Michael Babcock, Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Ajhan Viradhammo, a Thai forest monk in the tradition of Ajahn Chah, is a westerner whose teachings are accessible and insightful. This blog explores some of teachings from his podcasts.

This has been a difficult period in my life. In addition to having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which periodically leaves me virtually incapacitated from exhaustion, I recently was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, meaning a severe Vitamin B12 deficiency. It was diagnosed when I went to the doctor because of increased fatigue as well as peripheral neuropathy (numbness in the legs and hands) – both classic symptoms of B12 deficiency. There’s also been a number of frustrations for various other things lately. In addition, I’ve been watching my wife take care of an ailing (91-year-old) mother; that, and turning 61, have caused me to reflect more on the process of growing old, the possibility of eventually having to be cared for by someone else.

I had fallen out of a daily meditation practice and found myself in a bit of a state, with worry and fear, that the neuropathy would be permanent and that I’d always have this debilitating fatigue.

In the midst of this, I began listening to some of the talks of Ajhan Viradhammo that are available on podcasts. Ajahn Viradhammo is one of the resident teachers at Tisarana Buddhist Monastary in Ontario, Canada, a monastary in the forest tradition of Ajahn Chah. Born in 1947, he’s roughly contemporary (I was born in 1950); he studied for 4 years in Thailand with Ajahn Chah. I’ve gotten his podcasts through iTunes, though you can find out about them here: Tisarana – Podcast: Ajahn Viradhammo.

His teachings are a good supplement to the words of Ajahn Chah. Ajahn Viradhammo’s teachings are approachable and reassuring – Ajahn Chah is sometimes a bit daunting. Ajhan Viradhammo has a practical way of talking about the teachings, one that reassures because it presents the teachings as doable, it reassures that Buddhist practice is something we can all do.

Here are some of the concepts and ideas, reported through my understanding, that have proved useful.

Understanding “Negative” States of Mind

A good meditation can bring insights and diamond-like flashes of insight and can also result in a tranquility and peace of mind that is very alluring. It’s all too easy to judge your condition on whether or not you have that clear-sighted tranquility and whether or not it persists for long periods of time.

In the midst of difficult times with massive doses of despair, fear, anxiety, worry, etc., the so-called “negative” states of mind, it’s easy to feel discouraged, to feel that all that meditation, all the awareness and hard work really means nothing. The mind set is that these “negative” states of mind indicate failure.

Ajahn Viradhammo points out that these difficult mind-states are not to be lamented and feared, rather they are to be worked with. As he says, you can’t develop equanimity if you are already equanimous. It is during the difficult times that we can actually do the work that will help to nourish positive states of mind.

This means an illness doesn’t have to be used as an excuse and an explanation for feeling so miserable (“If I weren’t sick, I could practice better, I’d be successful”). Instead, it can be used as a teacher. It’s not the illness that is causing the suffering: the illness is just a collection of bodily sensations. The suffering comes from wanting it to be different than what it is. The unpleasantness of the body can be observed in terms of sensations and the mind watched to see what it is adding to the sensation. The suffering is in the mind.

I tend to want to run away from or change mind-states that I don’t enjoy. Instead of wishing the mind-state was different, I can, instead, examine it minutely: how does it feel and what are the thoughts associated with it. How long does it persist if I just watch it?

But I think the point of it is that we have enough presence of mind to see that the very conflicts of life are also the liberators of our consciousness. Because our consciousness, . . . in the conflicting part of our life, as long as we see them as problems that we’re trying to get rid of, or that we are to be blamed for, or that we are hopeless basket cases, or whatever way we go, if we don’t see them as liberating possibilities, then we just try to get rid of them: “Get out of my way, I’m trying to get to Nibbana.” And yet if we see them as the very things where our consciousness gets localized, gets contracted, gets detached, we see that if we’re going to realize the boundless in consciousness, rather than this limited sense of self, the little body and all the rest of it, then right there, in that conflicting part, right there is the part, the source of liberation, to some extent

Ajahn Viradhammo, “Knowledge, Insight and Practice,” released 4/12/10, after about 17 minutes and 22 seconds

The Concept of a Practice

Another persistent theme in Ajahn Viradhammo’s podcasts is the concept of working on the mind as a practice.

So much of Buddhism is honing awareness of what the mind is thinking and how we get carried away by thoughts. So much of one’s discouragment from practicing Buddhism comes because it is very difficult to change habitual ways of thinking.

Ajahn Viradhammo compares practicing Buddhism or Vipassana (insight) meditation to learning of any kind. One example he uses is that a couple of times he was taught to use a computer scanner; however some time later when he wanted something scanned, he couldn’t remember how to do it because too much time had passed. Like anything we learn, if we want to retain something we need to work with it, to practice with it.

When we learn a craft (bookbinding is one of his examples), our first efforts can be pretty pathetic. That’s just how it is. With each subsequent attempt, our skill level goes up.

This leads us to . . .

It is possible to be aware of mental states and have a choice about how to react or respond to them.

Watching the mind is the same as learning a craft. An example is someone saying something that makes us angry. Often, we just react to that with anger and lash out. As awareness grows, we may notice that we are angry and then react by lashing out anyway. The next time we may hold onto the anger for a longer period of time until we fall into our habitual response. Eventually, we may even get to a place where we just observe the anger and don’t act on it at all.

Ajahn Chah says: “If someone curses us and we have no feelings of self, the incident ends with the spoken words and we do not suffer.” ( A Still Forest Pond, p. 24.) Getting to this point is a practice: over and over, as anger arises we can hone our awareness of the anger as an object (and not who we are) and habitual reaction; then we can choose how we want to respond. It is truly a practice. Even our feeling of “Oh, I blew it again” is something to be observed and practiced on.

The Gift of Repetition

Ajahn Viradhammo talks about one benefit of monastic life as the opportunity provided by repetition. If one is bored by an activity that is ongoing, you’ve got an opportunity over and over again to look at that boredom.

Well, we get that gift of repetition in lay life as well.

Recently someone who has never taken a class posted two untrue reviews obout Kasma’s classes and included a personal attack on me. This is the sort of thing that I tend to obsess about: Why would someone do such a thing? How to respond? Did we respond correctly? What should we do now? And on, and on, and on, and on: the mind can really run away with itself.

Rather than falling into this trap, of identifying with the affront and anger or trying to figure out how to make it better each time the obsession reappears, I tell myself that the recurring feelings are  not an indication of the failure of the practice: it’s an indication of the obsessive nature of the mind. They very repetitive nature provides many opportunities to see the workings of the mind and the consequenses of taking things personally. The very repetition provides more opportunities for growth in awareness.

It actually can be easier to practice in the midst of uncomfortable or negative feelings. When things are going well, when things are pleasurable, there’s less tendency to look at the way the mind operates. It’s only when I begin to suffer a little that I again start practicing awareness.

The conditioned can not lead to the unconditioned.

Ajahn Chah says: “Everything mental and physical, everything conceived and thought about without exception, is conditioned. (Food for the Heart, p. 183.)

In at least a couple of podcasts Ajahn Viradhammo talks about this – that we should not look for lasting peace and enlightenment in anything conditioned: it has to be found somewhere else.

One of the concepts of Buddhism is how happiness is followed by sorrow; how then sorrow is followed by happiness. If we spend all our energy manipulating conditions so that we’ll be happy, it will eventually turn over and result in unhappiness. Trying to change conditions will result in this endless cycle of happiness and unhappiness.

We can cultivate positive qualities (generosity, gratitude).

Ajahn Viradhammo’s teachings reinforce the necessity of replacing negative states of mind with more positive ones by cultivating positive qualities. Generosity and gratitude are sometimes said to be qualities of an enlightened being with the implication that they just flow out from such a wonder without thought.

They can also be cultivated. Ajahn Viradhammo had talked about an instance where a friend was going to be traveling to Europe. One response could be: “I’m so jealous of you.” A more generous response would be: “I’m very happy for you.” This idea shows generosity to be more than physically giving someone something; there is also generosity of spirit, something we can practice almost any time and in any circumstance.

Recently I ran into a friend who’s about to take the trip of a lifetime: he’s going to be riding (on a motorcycle) from Oakland to the East Coast of Canada. As we were talking I caught myself about to say: “I’m jealous of you.” Instead, I said “I’m so happy for you.” Fred got a big smile on his face and instead of feeling jealous, I got to share in his happiness about his adventure.

Recently I was standing at the fish counter about to order some fish. A woman came up and the guy behind the counter immediately went to help her. In the past I probably would have spoken in anger and told them: “I was here first.” They both would have felt badly. This time I caught myself: I told myself to just be generous, that it didn’t make any difference if she went first. I took a deep breath and worked on letting it go. At that point, the woman turned to me and asked if I was ready to order, that I could go first. I smiled and told her to go ahead, I wasn’t in a rush. She thanked me and the guy behind the counter smiled at me. A much better result!

One of my biggest challenges is to be generous to myself. I’m practicing not buying into all the judgments and negative opinions that the mind throws up.

This is something to explore more: the possibility that by acting generous, I can begin to feel generous. This, too, is a practice. And why not? We’re going to act a certain way in any case; if we can catch ourselves before we act out our normal conditioned response, why not try something different (like generosity) that may produce a better result?


More Thoughts on Buddhism

Written by Michael Babcock, November 2011