When the vendor on the beach on Koh Samui sat down with me to visit I was struck by how serenity seemed to flow from her. She was not young and had a son attending college in Bangkok. Her husband had been killed at a young age when they were living near Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. She carried a folder with pictures of his coffin and her family. She was so serene and it showed on her face each and every day. She called me “Mama” and it warmed my heart. I bought a beautiful red robe from her and she fed her family that night. The beach at Bohput, Koh Samui is long and the sand is very rough. She carried her goods on a stick balanced across her back. We were at the end of the beach so she could rest with us. And she treated topless European women, people from Japan and everyone in between the same. I loved the attitude of kindness she displayed. We talked about her religion…”The Thai People are Buddhist” she said. “They cover their bodies to show respect for the Buddha.”
She is only one of many vendors that came by, each laboring under the poles with goods on the end. There were charcoal grills being carried and the vendors cooked corn or pineapple. Jewelry, and tattoo artists working with henna wandered by on their assigned days. They were not pushy or dissatisfied. The jewelry man made his pieces at night and was proud of a new design. I had promised him I would buy on Monday…I needed money (bot) to pay him and was out. He returned shyly on Monday to hold me to my word.
I still am not studying the basics of this ‘religion’. I will begin soon because I have come to realize that we all need to spend a little bit of our time in solitude and meditation. The serenity that comes following a quiet period with a hot cup of coffee is, I think, only the beginning. Understand, I am truly a skeptic in many ways. I learn, try to understand and make those things I can comprehend and agree with a part of my life. I do not go into life blind! Confusius said, ” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Good advice I think.
Have a wonderful day.
Kristen, this one is for you!!! Get well soon.
Photo by Barbara shot at Zazen resort in Boput Beach on Koh Samui, Thailand. Incidentally Buddha means “awakening”.