Last night, Yezhong, Tim and I went to the Thai Buddhist Temple along Jalan Bukit Merah for a long-awaited reunion with our dear friend and fellow coach, Paiboon.
In June of last year, Paiboon started on a 3 month journey into monkhood that has now extended to 7 months. I was excited to see what changes Paiboon had made and why he had decided to remain a monk for more than twice the original time … but mostly I just missed my friend.
When we got to the temple, Paiboon walked out to greet us…what a surprise! You wouldn’t believe how much he’s slimmed down. Paiboon had always been a bit on the meaty side but now he was so lean! And that wasn’t the only thing that had changed.
As we sat down and began talking, I noticed how much more peaceful he seemed. He talked softer, and slower now, even though I could catch gleams of the old playful Paiboon from time to time. Both Yezhong and I felt it; his energy in the past used to be strongly outwardly directed, he was one of the most bubbly, enthusiastic and charismatic among us.
But now his energy feels a lot more strongly directed inside, and it’s tough to explain, but he feels more solid, more rooted as if his core had strengthened up. It was interesting because it was something that wasn’t there before.
And it wasn’t just an unwavering inner core I saw, it was a flexible core that refused to fight or be attached to a point of view. I was surprised how readily during a discussion he was to admit to differences instead of clinging to a point.
Throughout our too-short time together, he kept giving hints of the immense growth experiences he had in the past 7 months and encouraged us to pursue our own spiritual path to growth. Even as we were talking, he kept telling us how much he wished he could just show us the marvelous things he had seen, but he couldn’t; we could only truly know by experience, not talk.
He said he wanted to continue his learning experience as a monk because he felt he’d more to go. As we bid goodbye at the temple gates I couldn’t help but feel bittersweet feelings of joy and sadness, joy at my friend’s bravery towards walking his path, and sadness because I will miss him. I wanted to hug him, but the monk rules forbade it, so I did the best equivalent and gave him a bow.
Paiboon, you’re one of the most dedicated people I know to self-improvement and personal growth. I trust your choice and I wish you all the best. You are loved and missed.