Yesterday was a blend of innocence and innocence lost.
My monk student, Kham, came back again - dedication, considering it is a 40 minute walk from his temple to the reading rooms of volunteer group Big Brother Mouse.
He remembered my interest in Buddhism and brought along a book to help me understand the 'precepts' (rules) for being a monk, which he wanted me to explain to him in English.
This presented some challenges. Exactly how does one explain the rule about 'abstaining from sexual misconduct' to a naive young 17 y.o. monk, without using hand signals AND while keeping a straight face? His was the face of total innocence. It was much easier to explain the 'abstaining from eating after midday' rule.
Inspired by Kham's long walk of dedication, I set out by bicycle to visit his temple. It was beautiful. The fact that I had navigated my way to the wrong temple is irrelevant, the 'false' temple was still beautiful and deserted........ or so I thought.
In the sacred temple grounds,were two not-so-innocent, young Laos girls. From their pile of clothes sprawled on the grass (fashion wardrobe) they proceeded to change into skimpy outfits and photograph each other with their smartphones. Like magic, once they spotted me, they transformed back into demure, traditionally dressed young ladies. Best not to think about the end destination for their photos.
I was struck by how quickly innocence can be lost and never retrieved.