Wow what a journey thus far! Currently writing you all from the garden of my guest house (which is rad) in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is so super lovely –it makes me realize that even after drifting away for weeks on a tropical paradise island –that I’m truly a city girl at heart. Mopeds, markets and a lil city grit just does something for me that idyllic scenery and relaxation doesn’t tap into. A lil
Vivacity that can only be found in places like this. The shopping is cheap, the haggling is an art, and every nook and cranny is filled with Buddha or religious artifact. Over 300 wats in chiang Mai alone! We went to Wat That Doi Suthep last night–this huge wat on the very top of this ginormous mountain. You can tell if a building was originally created to be a wat by the stairs–if the stairs have a dragon a body leading all the way up each side then this was this buildings original design intention.
This wat had the most beautiful shrines within it’s walls that I have seen so far–and I’ve finally been in enough temples that I don’t feel like a bumbling idiot with each step I make. There is quite a bit of ediquite and ritual that goes into Buddhism -and it gets extra tricky when you don’t even know when you are being offensive. Like-you can’t be taller than the monk, you can’t hand anything directly to the monk, your feet must never point toward Buddha or the monk-sit in mermaid pose, etc etc etc. I went to this monk chat and meditation session the other night and it was really rewarding to meditate in the Wat-to use it for it’s intention rather than tourism–it’s was funny cause there was sooooo much noise-construction sounding even though it was late at night it went on and on and on–at tines it was even hard to make out what the monk was saying it was so loud. During the actual
Meditation the noises all fell away. Afterwards I asked the monk what was making that sound and it was actually all the other monks hammering out the the metal etchings/relief-like plaques that they were creating based on their current teachings/lessons. 😉
I’m glad I went to this talk as it really helped me learn more about the principles of Buddhism and totally blew my mind and eyes open to the way of life of the people all around me. People stop you on the street and talk about their life, their meaning, their trials and tribulations, the impermanence, about doing good, not doing bad, and purifying the mind. Had I not gone to that talk it would have taken me a lil longer to crack the understanding that these people were all coming from the same place, from the same fundamental
Teachings, and applying them
Consciously to every part of their life. People not only have awareness and intention with their actions–but they are also analyzing and reappropriating their energy to
Continue to apply their Buddhist ideals. It’s all quite beautiful and truly all around us here.
I had a really fun vegan Thai cooking course today. I learned how to make 10 different dishes (mango sticky rice!!!, curries, soups, summer rolls, papaya salad droooool) and even got to go with to the market to pick up all the ingredients. It was called May Kaidee’s Cooking school and she was so nice and fun and afterwards I was asking her about Thai dance classes -cause they have not been so easy to find and she was like “No I just show you now!” And right there and then started dancing and singing so beautiful and teaching me hand motions and turning us in giggling circles–it was so lovely that I almost wanted to cry.
This weekend here in Chiang Mai just happens to be the Flower Festival!! You know I love a good parade and if you ve ever walked around with me you may also know that I ADORE flowers–so stay tuned for some inside shots of thus cultural bonanza.