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转载--A  Monk's  Dream  Comes  to

发表于 2010-5-13 16:26:35 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
A  Monk's  Dream  Comes  to  Life

      Phra Viriyang Sirintharo

For Phra Viriyang Sirintharo, Lord Abbot of Wat Dhammamongkol, the journey towards enlightenment began more than sixty years ago in the north-eastern village of Nakhorn Rachasima when, as a boy of 13, he witnessed a miraculous event that would change his life forever.

The day was much like any other, filled with hard work and household chores, beginning at dawn with the collecting of watermelons in the fields. After taking them to the market, the young boy would have to wait until they were all sold. As usual, he would not return home until after dark, but the day’s work was not yet over. All the water jars were empty. The nearest stream was about 500 metres from the house and it would take him many trips, returning each time with two fully laden buckets, before the jars were filled.

Although very tired and ready for his bed, Viriyang was allowed only a short break for dinner before being sent out again, this time to fill the rice buckets which were also empty. In those days, mechanical rice mills were unheard of in the rural areas and each family had to husk the paddy for themselves. This was done by pounding the paddy in a large wooden mortar and pestle, a rather primitive device operated by vigorously stamping on a wooden lever.

That evening, Viriyang took up his position to begin the rhythmic pounding. Harder and harder he worked, gradually becoming oblivious to his exhausted state and quite unaware of the late hour. Then, suddenly, everything went black and the boy collapsed.

He remained unconscious for about an hour, but when he eventually came to, he was shocked to find himself unable to move a single muscle. He was totally paralysed.

For about one month, Viriyang lay stricken while his parents tried in vain to find someone with the ability to restore his health. Secretly, the boy made a vow to devote the rest of his life to Buddhism should he be completely cured of his paralysis.

Seven days later, a stranger appeared in the village; a white-robed ascetic who went directly to Viriyang’s house and told his father that he had come to cure his son. The man whispered in the boy’s ear, saying that he knew of his secret promise of eternal devotion and, after making him repeat the vow aloud, he proceeded to bring him back to health.

The next morning, the ascetic returned and made Viriyang repeat the vow once more, then instructed the boy to meet him at the local temple later that afternoon. Arriving there at the appointed hour, Viriyang found the stranger waiting under a tamarind tree. After asking the boy to repeat his vow yet again, he led him to a wooded area beyond the temple where they found a buffalo. Quite unexpectedly, the ascetic took a knife from his bag and, with one swift stroke, severed the buffalo’s tail. Then, while reciting a prayer, he rejoined the tail as good as new, without seeming to hurt the beast in any way.

The strange man went on to teach Viriyang a prayer and made him promise to recite it daily for the next 10 years. Naturally, the boy agreed to do as he was instructed and, with this, the mysterious stranger turned and walked away, never to be seen again. It was this dramatic encounter that set Phra Viriyang on the road to enlightenment. At 15 he was enrolled as a novice in the same local temple and became a monk at the age of 20.

Wat Dhammamongkol

In 1963, after more t Dhammathan 20 years as a forest monk, Phra Viriyang began to feel that his Buddhist studies were of benefit only to himself. Something was urging him to share what he had learned and help others whose needs were greater than his own. In fact, he had a vision that compelled him to leave his woodland retreat and make the long, arduous journey to Bangkok.

On reaching the capital, he settled in a thatched hut on the flat, swampy area alongside Sukhumvit, soi 101, where his only neighbours were snakes. Traditionally, temples have been built near water as Buddhists believe that monks should always be ordained on or near water. Phra Viriyang had chosen this waterlogged spot to realize his dream and, with steady perseverance, he began to raise funds to build a temple. This, of course was long before Thailand’s economic boom and he could only expect to receive donations of 10 or 20 baht from his devotees but, slowly, the temple complex began to take shape.

On March 4, 1979, The Nation newspaper ran a photograph of Premier Kriangsak Chomanan handing over a casket to Phra Viriyang at Don Muang airport. The golden casket contained five Buddha relics and strands of Buddha’s hair, a gift to Wat Dhammamongkol from the Supreme Patriach of Bangladesh.

Meanwhile, the construction work continued and, in 1985, the impressive 95-metre-high chedi was completed to house the precious relics; a modern version of the famous Bodhgaya Chedi on the site of the Lord Buddha’s enlightenment in India.

Phra Viriyang has never been content to sit back and admire his handiwork. Since the completion of the chedi, he has continued to raise funds and has built 12 more temples in Thailand, a hospital in Chiang Mai, and has established numerous day care centres around the country to provide free pre-school nurseries for the poor.

The abbot’s influence has now spread well beyond the borders of Thailand, and Buddhist temples have been built under his guidance in five Canadian cities.

The Jade Buddha

Phra Viriyang’s connections with Canada began, once again, with a dramatic vision. It was in 1987 that he first dreamed of building a giant Buddha image from the strongest, most lasting material possible - jade - although the chances of finding a suitable block of sufficient size were remote to say the least.

Properly known as nephrite, jade was once considered more valuable than gold by the Chinese who refined the carving of it into a major art form during the Ming dynasty. Today, Canada is one of the few places left on earth where good quality nephrite can still be found and it was here that Phra Viriyang directed his search. He visited the country several times himself and urged his contacts there to continue looking for a solid piece large enough to create his Buddha statue. Despite their vigilance, nothing was found.

Then, on an auspicious day in November, 1991, as he was meditating, Phra Viriyang had another vision. This time, he saw an enormous jade boulder. Immediately, he informed one of his Canadian friends who in turn contacted Kirk Makepeace, president of Jade West Resources Ltd., the largest jade mining outfit in British Columbia. On a date coinciding with Phra Viriyang’s vision, a massive 32-ton jade block had been discovered more or less where he had pictured it - 10 metres below the waters of a river, 70 kilometres away from the nearest jade mine.

Within a week, Phra Viriyang accompanied by his disciple Chaiyot Sombuntham, set off for Canada where they inspected the jade boulder. Happily, they found it to be ideally suited to their purposes. Anxious to begin work on the sculpture, Phra Viriyang considered flying the boulder home to Thailand, but of course, due to its enormous size and weight, this was impossible and he had to settle for the more time-consuming sea voyage.

Meanwhile, there was still the problem of finding someone to carve the block once it had reached its final resting place. Upon his return to Bangkok, Phra Viriyang contracted his friend Professor Amnuay, a faculty member at Silpakorn University, to assist him in finding a qualified sculptor. As there was little hope of finding someone in Thailand, Professor Amnuay suggested travelling to Italy and approaching the University of Carrara, a city famed for its marble sculptors.

Three days later, accompanied by Professor Amnuay, Mrs Rattana, and Mr. Ronachai Sombuntham, Phra Viriyang was in Carrara, but unfortunately the university was closed for a holiday and they were unable to find the sculptors who had been recommended to them. Then, on the day before their planned return to Thailand, the pair were walking through the local market when, by pure chance, they ran into Mr. Troufix, an old friend, who took them to meet two of the top sculptors in Carrara, Ismail Zizi and Paolo Viaggi. The next day both of them were commissioned by Phra Viriyang to carry out this historical work.

At first, the sight of two muscular farangs labouring over an object so intrinsically Asian must have raised a few eyebrows among the curious visitors to the Wat Dhammamongkol workshops. Yet, strangely enough, the very first humanistic images of Lord Buddha, dating from the 2nd century A.D., are thought to have been created by artisans of Greaco-Roman descent under the patronage of King Kaniska I. When Alexander the Great, unable to stand the heat, withdrew his legions from north-western India, some of his artists had elected to stay behind and their influence is clearly visible in the earliest Buddha figures.

Zizi and Viaggi felt sure their experience in carving marble would hold them in good stead, but, once the daunting task was begun, they soon realized the cutting equipment brought from Italy was not strong enough to carve jade. Thankfully, the Royal Thai Marble Factory was able to supply a stronger device, reducing the time of the initial rough cutting from about one year to just three days.

The magnificent jade Buddha was completed in 1994 and installed, along with a smaller sculpture of Guanyin, the Chinese goddess of mercy, carved from a remaining section of the jade block, in a specially designed building within the temple grounds.

Surely, the jade Buddha of Wat Dhammamongkol is one of the great wonders of the world, but, as Phra Viriyang says, "The true value of the Buddha image is to remind us of the Lord Buddha’s teachings."

The Daily Life of a Thai Monk
The Sangha World in Thailand consists of about 200,000 monks and 85,000 novices at most times of the year. However, these numbers increase during the Buddhist ‘lent’ to 300,000 and 100,000 novices. Young boys may become novices at any age, but a man cannot become a monk until he reaches the age of twenty. He can then remain a monk for as long as he wishes, even for just one day. Three months is more usual, although some choose to remain in monkhood for the rest of their lives.

There are over 29,000 temples in Thailand and the daily routine of the monks in all of them is pretty much the same...

4.00 am - The monks wake up and meditate for one hour, followed by one hour of chanting.
6.00 am - The monks walk barefoot around the neighbourhood while the local people make merit by offering them food.
8.00 am - Returning to the temple, the monks sit together to eat breakfast, then make a blessing for world peace.

Before 12.00 noon - Some monks choose to eat a light lunch at this time. This is the last solid food they are allowed to consume until sunrise the following morning.

1.00 pm - Classes in Buddhist teaching begin. Some monks may attend school outside the temple.
6.00 pm - A two-hour session of meditation and prayer begins.
8.00 pm - The monks retire to do homework.

Besides these duties, all monks are given specific roles to play in the day-to-day running and maintenance of the temple and its surroundings.

After being in the monkhood for several years and demonstrating extreme dedication to both social work and spiritual study, a monk can be promoted gradually until he reaches the Sangha Supreme Council, the governing body presided over by the Supreme Patriach.
All monks must follow 227 strict precepts or rules of conduct, many of which concern his relations with members of the opposite sex. When a monk is ordained he is said to be reborn into a new life and the past no longer counts - not even if he was married. Women are, of course, forbidden to touch monks and should not even stay alone in the same room as a monk. If a woman wishes to offer an object to a monk, it must pass through a third medium, such as a piece of cloth. In fact, monks always carry a piece of cloth for this purpose. The monk will lay the cloth on the ground or table, holding on to one end. The woman places the offering on the cloth and the monk then draws it away.

Thai monks can be seen wearing various shades of robes, from dark brown to the familiar brilliant saffron. There are no rules, but the darker shades are preferred by monks in the Dharmmayuth sect and Thu-dong or forest monks.

The Thai Buddhist Calendar
Visakha Puja - falls on the full moon of the sixth month of the lunar year (around the middle of May on the international calendar). It is one of the most important days for Buddhists because on this day the Lord Buddha was born, attained enlightenment, and died. All three of these significant events fell on the same day. Visakha Puja is usually celebrated with a public sermon during the day and a candle lit procession to pay respect to the Lord Buddha during the night.

Magha Puja - falls on the full moon of the third lunar month ( February). It was on this day that 1,250 enlightened monks converged to pay respect to the Lord Buddha without any prior appointment. The day is celebrated in a similar fashion to Visakha Puja day.

Asalha Puja - falls on the full moon of the eighth lunar month (July) and is also very important. It was on this day that the Lord Buddha preached His sermon to followers after attaining enlightenment. The day is usually celebrated by merit making, listening to a monk’s sermon, and joining a candle lit procession during the night.

Khao Phansa - falls on the first day after the full moon of the eighth lunar month (July) and marks the beginning of the three-month Buddhist ‘lent’ period. At this time, all monks and novices must remain in their temples. They should not venture out or spend the night in any other place except in cases of extreme emergency and, even then, their time away must not exceed seven consecutive nights. This is a time for serious contemplation and meditation for both monks and laymen alike. Traditionally, it is also important for laymen to ordain their sons into the monkhood on this day to get maximum benefit from the Buddhist teachings.

Ok Phansa - marks the end of the Buddhist lent and falls on the full moon of the eleventh lunar month (October). This is a day of joyful celebration and merit-making. For many families, it is also the day they welcome a son back into the home and celebrate his successful completion of a term in the temple.

Tod Kratin - lasts for 30 days, from Ok Phansa through to the full moon of the twelfth lunar month. During this time most Buddhists take part in ceremonies, either directly or indirectly. Robes and other necessities of temple life are offered ceremoniously to the monks on an appointed day. Each temple may hold a Tod Kratin ceremony once each year. Originally, in the time of the Lord Buddha, this ceremony was meant to teach monks humility and show them how to cut, sew, and dye the robes for themselves. The finished robes were then offered to the members of the company deemed most suitable. Today, however, the ritual has evolved dramatically into a grand celebration where hundreds and thousands of people join in the merit making. It is also an important occasion for the temple to raise funds.

The sequence of events for each of the above three religious days goes something like this: Early in the morning, people begin to arrive at the temple wearing their best clothes. They carry food prepared at home, usually in highly decorative gold or silver bowls, and offer it to the monks. After this breakfast, the people are blessed by the monks and many return to their homes. The more devoted may choose to remain at the temple and, later in the morning, take a vow with the monks to keep either five or eight precepts throughout the entire day. After taking this vow, they split their time between praying, listening to the monks’ preachings and doing meditation. In the evening, the monks lead a candle lit procession, making three complete circuits of the main temple building. This event signifies the end of the celebrations.

Copy  from        http://yidengamonk.blog.sohu.com/45711716.html

The  original text  dongload from      http://www.buddhanet.net


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