30 August 2008
A simply lazy morning. I went to the nearby active pagodas and the only Catholic church for a day’s walk on my own. My agenda was to look for fortune tellers – for the fun of it ( part inspired by the book written by Terziano Terzani – ” A fortune-teller once told me”). There are no lack of temples in Cambodia but many do not believe in fortune telling.
Cambodia embraces two schools of Buddhism in a broad sense – apparently differentiated as “higher” and “lower”, which surprisingly the latter is not taken as a derogratory term. Most Cambodians practise the latter, a more primitive yet fundamental approach on the basics of life and happiness.
I walked into Wat Po and was approached by 2 earnest local males who were extremely eager to put their English to some use. They asked if they could practice their English with me and I was certainly more than happy to. I was also invited to a humble classroom where two other girls of about 15 years old were peering over basic English textbooks. I then learnt from them that the temple offers free English lessons and this is where hardworking individuals will take the opportunity to learn English. Anyhow, it took us some time to figure what a “fortune-teller” is, until an English-Khmer dictionary was found.
They led me to a very young monk and translated my request. The young monk smiled, and very calmly asked “May I ask you a question? Do you believe in the future?” Offhand, I couldn’t answer to that. But even before I could think a little deeper into the question, an older monk came by and the young monk told him what I was looking for. The older monk was a jovial one, and said instantly, “You are a very lucky person!” I was surprised and asked why did he say that and he could only insist that I am a lucky person because he can see from my face, I have a very “fresh” face, so I am lucky!
And then, with a change to a more serious tone, he looked at me with firm, yet kindly and knowing eyes and said,
“There is no need to look for a fortune teller. What you feel or do today will be your tomorrow.”
Such simple words, but so much weight of wisdom.
29 Aug 2008
28 Aug 2008
17 Oct 2011 – start of travelblog
posted Saturday August 2008