4 December 2016

A Heart to Heart with a Novice Monk

Last weekend, I once again had the pleasure of spending some time with some of our highest English level Novice students. This time we went outside of the classroom. Novice Pali and Novice Obee expressed their wish of showing myself and a few other teachers some of lesser known temples and sights of Luang Prabang. Every moment spent with these young men is enlightening and a joy. Their enthusiasm, curiosity, intelligence and sense of humour is always inspiring.
We first visited Wat Phabath, a very different Vietnamese stylised temple, that overlooks the Mekong River. It is home to the second Buddha's footprint in Luang Prabang. We spent a long time taking in the views, learning about the different images surrounding the temple, taking pictures by the Mekong River and talking.
Novice Pali and I had a very long heart to heart conversation about teaching, parenting, discipline and the future. As the senior Novice in his temple, Novice Pali has to take on a lot of roles and responsibilities. He becomes the defacto big brother, the one who is entrusted by the parents to look after all of the other Novices and the is expected by the Abbot to keep the Novices inline. It was interesting to gain another new insight into temple life. We traded stories of managing discipline, mine based on classroom experiences and spoke about my plans for once I finish with GVI.
We continued our conversations while we visited the nearby Presidential memorial park and another temple. Although it is rather cliche, the saying 'You learn something new every day', is never truer than when I spend time with my students, specifically Novices. Plus, who better to show me around the temples of Luang Prabang then Novice Monks themselves?
Luke T.

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