Words of Gratitude During COVID-19 Pandemic

It has been a time of intensive practice at SBS, especially for four monks who have recently gone forth. An event that becomes even more worthwhile in times of COVID-19. A time that is challenging for most of our supporters. Bound to home, limited in the range of activities, amongst one being the giving of alms. That makes it, for us as new monks, all the more special to go forth and see all the support we are receiving. Besides the daily alms-food that we get from supporters who don’t have the opportunity to enjoy the giving of them face-to-face to the monks, as part of COVID-19 measures. Likewise, have we as new monks gratefully received from you as our lay supporters, the requisites that the Buddha himself made allowable to us. Besides the kuṭi that we stay in and practice, the daily alms food, our main requisites comprise of our set of three robes and alms bowl.

In times like these, it is all the more heart-strengthening to see how many of the SBS-followers have been willing to support our going forth and to provide these requisites for us. The alms bowl that we all use to get a daily meal to help us to keep practicing, to have enough energy in the body and hunger-feelings that are only there to a limited degree. To have a robe that we can use to protect us from the sun and the wind, and to be covered from the cold that can happen in rainy nights in Taiping. Having gone forth we leave behind our families and friends, and our basic requisites, the generosity of lay followers and our friends in the holy life become our primary support. As monks we train by instigation of the Buddha to be contended with little. To eat as little as we can, sleep as little as we can and practice as much as possible. Our basic requisites help us do that. They help us by making sure we don’t need so much else. We don’t need so much else, making as much as possible of our time available to practice the path of the Buddha. To find liberation. And to be able to share from our experiences so that also our supporters can keep following the path, every day, as much as they can. Not only by making merit through giving of alms and requisites, but also by practicing for yourselves for the goal. Practicing for yourselves the path that the Buddha laid down for us.

Your generosity forms a part of our daily support, but also helps the heart to be strong and grateful, qualities that help us as monks who have recently gone forth. May our devotion to the path motivate you as well to renew and strengthen your motivation to practice the path. To practice generosity, friendliness, but also work as much on developing concentration and wisdom as much as possible.

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