Homeless and Living Out of a Box.

cooler

I remember when I went to America in 2008 with one of my monastic friends named Ven. Visarada. He was an experienced monk and had good ascetic practices. When we went to America, he did not have any luggage and brought everything he owned with him. Instead of using luggage, he used a simple cardboard box. It is simple, easy to get, easy to dispose of and also more suitable for a monk than fancy luggage.

I remember when I saw Ven. Visarada several years later, maybe in 2011. He had spent several years in Malaysia and Singapore where monks get spoiled to bits. He came back with luggage, a new computer and god forbid, a modern razor from Gillette. I jokingly said, “My god, you have fallen,” when I discovered the razor cartridges and knowing his old fashion single double edge blade shaving habits. (The blades sot of look like razor blades you stick in a box cutter). Then I demanded he give me something in his magic bag of goodies, because he had way to many things. He gave me an extra new 4gb thumb drive (which I still have and was the most memory I ever had in 2011).

Not long after, he disrobed and is now married. He had 24 years as a monk before he disrobed and many, including myself would say he was a really good ascetic acting monk. We will surely miss him.

Inspired by his old practice, I decided to follow suit. I used a box for my travels to England in 2013 and also Hawaii in 2015… yes, carrying everything I owned except for a few certificates my brother has for safe keeping.

When I was about to leave Kaua’i, Hawai’i, USA, my donor wanted to go on a purchasing spree for me. I refused luggage, an iPad and laptop, but told her that if I was accepted into ITBM University, I would accept a laptop. That is what I am typing on now. When the donor was shopping for a computer, she sent me a picture of a $650 laptop. I said that was too expensive, and then accepted a $250 laptop which suites my usage needs well. I love to brag how cheap it is, because I am a little embarrassed to have a laptop even though it has only 32 gb of internal storage. It keeps me lean and I installed Ubuntu Mate on it to keep in touch with my geek past. As promised too, I gave away my tablet ten days ago which I felt was redundant.

I still wanted to leave Kaua’i with my cardboard box, but then Joe McNarney who saw me packing the day before my flight said, “Why don’t you take one of our coolers? Local Style.” I thought about it for a second or two, and then accepted. They had four or five of them in their storage room. They keep the ants out, and they are moisture proof. Likewise, they are strong, “Perfect for Myanmar Rainy Season,” I thought. So now I have a plastic box.

In my last move from Mudon to Varansi, I noticed two things about my cooler.

1. The bus dropped me off in front of Tiger Beer Factory which is the bus stop for Varanasi Monstery and I wondered what the locals were thinking when they saw a monk with a beer cooler at 3:30 am.

2. If PlaySkool ever made play-luggage for a kid, this would be it.

 

Article by Bhikkhu Subhuti

Bhikkhu Subhuti is an American Buddhist Monk with roots in both Sri Lanka and Myanmar Forest Traditions. He currently resides in Myanmar but his heart sometimes floats back to Kauai, HI where he spent six months in 2015.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

84 + = 91