A Quarterly Journal of Contemporary English Language Haibun
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December 2006, vol 2 no 4

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John Stone

Culture Shock

begging bowls
two monks discuss

New Year's Eve in Thailanl. We are sequestered next door to the ancient Buddhist temple; a grizzled old structure thriving with orange-draped holy men, living and praying together.

In their proximity, a certain reverence comes upon our crazy little blues band, and this holiday in a foreign land is expected to be subdued if not non-existent.

two monks
parting company
share the moon

It never occurred to us that the monks would get roaring drunk, banging on any convenient metal object, and creating a general anarchy until dawn. We cower on the balcony, bewildered by a chaos normally taken for granted on any Saturday night. At one point, two monks in their traditional robes engage in a heated argument on the street outside our quarters; a sight we Westerners never thought could occur:

Human Nature shining through the light.

two monks
argue a riddle
with no solution