Last week Lizard King returned from a rare voyage overseas to Thailand. Now we won’t deny Lizard’s enthusiasm for the liberally available diversions of Bangkok, and without question he did some bar hopping there.
Having satisfied his healthy and irrepressible appetite for the sensual with a few days in Thai-town, Lizard embarked for the countryside. With no particular plan, of course (after all we are speaking of the ultimately spontaneous Lizard King), our affable Chameleon stumbled upon the Pathom Asoke Buddhist Community about an hour outside of the bad city. What struck Lizard King most about the kind and humble people in this community who welcomed him so warmly, was a mysterious combination of openness and reserve. Even as the mellow monks offered him food and bed, shared with him some of their teachings, guided him around the enclave and it’s natural surroundings, he was profoundly aware of a secret, unfathomable reality not to be accessed casually, or quickly.
For our likeable Lizard, with his proclivity for instant self-gratification, the measured and reserved interactions with the buddhist folk were a revelation, and a challenge. This was our young Lizard’s first exposure to a culture of reserve and moderation. He wanted in. He sought a key to open these people to him a bit more.
He discovered Blind Monk.
Blind Monk was born to a single mom in Bangkok and raised in the back alleys. The unsuspected blind boy fenced cash throughout his teens. He knew the street and the street trusted him. At about 19, an old Lama suggested to our young hustler a break from the city, and our Monk found his place in Pathom Asoke.
For Lizard King, the young man represented a link, a bridge, to the rest of the community. He was open and accessible to Lizard King’s normal “in your face” approach to making friends, to carving out a niche in new surroundings. And he was willing to offer Lizard King some insight, to guide Lizard in some deeper levels of understanding, of appreciation for the Buddhist culture upon which he had stumbled. Buddhist Monk and Lizard King established something of a collaboration. Lizard offered Monk some relief from the stricture of Buddhist life, some connection with the outside world. Monk offered Lizard a window into the hidden aspects of his Buddhist community.