I wish to give an apology to the way in which I was disrespectful to Buddhism and the sangha that upholds the structure of this beautiful spiritual path. Back in May of this year, I made a post which included me without clothes on in combination with expressing a desire to become a Buddhist Monk. This was inappropriate on my part, and my action created harm, potentially damaging the Buddhist image. The path of Buddhism is about humility, letting go of vanity, and simplicity.
While my path is not one where I will dedicate myself for a lifetime of service within a temple, it is seen as something that people periodically do in Thailand. When they feel called to practice Dharma in a more serious way, people can choose to become a novice or become ordained for a short period of time (sometimes that can be from a few weeks to a few months).
This is my calling, to prepare myself for service and to dedicate myself to that path within the next few years. Through my last trip to Thailand, I found a temple that I am happy to dedicate myself to, and the commitment I am looking at is 3 months of service within a Monastery in Chiang Mai. But the way that I introduced this concept in May was problematic because I carried a lot of Western assumptions as I traveled to a South East Asian country. I can’t make the commitment yet because I have a teenage son, but I will continue to visit this monastery and establish a relationship with them simultaneously while I visit family.
While it is not wrong to be proud of one’s body, it is problematic to create an announcement of this intention while simultaneously posting pictures of myself without much clothes on. I did not know this while I made the post, and that is why I’m making amends now.
I knew the path was going to be long and obscure, and it is requiring a lot more of me then I thought it would. I am grateful for my ancestors and family to lead me through this process so that I can make them proud by aligning my thoughts with my actions. I want to be clear that there might still be more “revealing” photography in the future (because I mean… I live in a commune-like situation and nudity is a way of life for me), but I will not confuse it with this other aspect of my life where I am welcoming in this discipline and humility. Becoming a monk feels like a rite of passage for me. Will there come another time in my life later where I might go into the monkhood again? Probably. But for now, I shall focus on this shorter term goal and keep learning Thai, praying, making merit, and loving my family who were so generous to me as I visited Thailand over the past few months.
I feel grateful because the forgiveness of ignorance seems like something that is easy to grant, but what I wish to bring attention to is how much we can accidentally damage or unintentionally create harm. Buddha teaches to alleviate suffering, and lays out a clear plan on how to alleviate suffering, but if we don’t look at the way our actions create suffering, we will not be living Buddha’s teachings. Thank you for taking the time to read. Many blessings to you <3