The day I was back from Chiang Mai, I got on the taxi with my granny, my mum and my sweet Mike. There was some talk show on the radio while everyone was being exhausted. Despite the radio, it was so quiet. I couldn’t fall asleep so, implicitly, I had to listen to the radio.
There were some deep thoughts said by a monk that I’d write more later in other blogs. However, my point is after I finished listening, it reminded me of the first time I could get to listen to the monk’s preach. It was back then when I was still 9 years old (around 10 years ago).
That time, my granny was invited to go make merits with her friends from Samutprakarn’s Oldsters Club in somewhere far away from Bangkok. It was my holiday so I went with my grandmother.
There, we gave monks stuff we prepared for them like cloth for raining season and other neccessary factors(toothbrush etc.). Then we listened to them chanting, gave them food and ate at last. It was yummy and I ate a lot. I really thought I could have fallen asleep easily after that because I was so full and the next thing we were about to do was to listen to the monks’ preaches.
Kids were ready to go play when the preaching time came because we expected it to be boring and incomprehensible. But I was really full and I thought it’d be better if I stayed there, listened and took a nap there. So I did. Then the monk started,
“Do you know about merits? Why do we have to make merits? Why do we have to take care of monks and serve other people?
Some may think and wish that they could get loads of merits and be able to stay in the heaven when they are out of this world. Some are wishing they could get a better life in the next life. But some just did it to feel fulfilled and happy from being good and helpful.
I have one story to tell you and I do hope it will make you understand about “merits” much more.
Long time ago, when rainy season (when monks had to stay in the temples)almost arrived, one monk had to hurry going back to his temple before the raining season came so he kept walking woods after woods. He finally stopped because he had met the end, it was the river. He was trying to figure out how to cross the river. He was hestitating to take another route coz it would take him to his destination much later. Then he saw his solution, one guy was coming closer to him with one boat. He was a boat paddler (like a bus driver :p). He helped people crossing the river and charged them some money for a living.
The monk quickly asked when that man reached the shore, “Can you give me a lift to the shore across the river?”
The man was thinking for a while, he checked the monk from head to toes and replied, “You are a monk, how can you pay me then? I only help people who can pay me. I never do it for free.”
The monk was standing still for a second and answered, “Yes, I am a monk and I do not have money or anything you think’s valuable to give you. But to help other people especially pure people like me, you are going to get merits.”
That man wasn’t sure so he asked more, “Will merits make my life better?”
The monk quickly said, “Yes!”
So the man helped the monk. When the monk got out of the boat, he thanked the man and started to walk away, the man stopped the monk, “Where are my merits?! You have to give me first. You already made a deal with me.”
The monk was a bit confused that this guy really had no ideas about what merits are.. so he picked his nose and made his snot into a round shape and handed it to that man.
He was so happy and thanked the monk cheerfully. He quickly paddled away.
A year later, that man came to the nearest temple hoping he could find that monk. He did.
The monk remembered him, “Oh, hello! Thank you for that time.”
The man yelled, “What did you give me?! Why am I still poor?! Why nothing in my life gets better?! You liar! You, bad monk!”
The monk recalled about what he gave that man, “Calm down. Listen to me. What I gave you wasn’t merit. I gave you my own snot.”
The man, “What the?! You dirty monk! Why did you do this to me?! You gave me hope!”
The monk calmly responded, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to lie to you. I meant to teach you a lesson. Actually, merits are invisible. Merits make you feel good about yourself and others. They come from when you do something good for yourself and others. There’s nothing harder than making good deeds. When you can, you achieve happiness, pride and respect. Your life ain’t get any better because you didn’t care about helping me. You cared only the result and that snot. You were obsessed and ignore the feeling of doing good.”
The man was quiet for a long time .. then he realized what the monk just said. He apologized and started to care to help other people. His family got helped from some people who he used to help later on.”
Surprisingly, I didn’t sleep at all. It was fun, funny and cool. Since then, I have had a knowledge about merits. They seem to be unreal but they are real. I proved already. But don’t believe me or the monk yet, prove it yourself. Remember, nothing’s harder than making good, and doing no evils.