written/non-written things by me (from 2005-2008)

Saturday, May 06, 2006


My favorite times of day were 630am, 11am, and 630pm, when we gathered for the communal meal with the monks. They had a few ways of gathering us for lunch. One way was to smack that big metal gong, another was to bang a wood stick against a marble slab, and another was a smaller gong stuck with a hollow stick, I suppose they all meant something different, but I didn't know, besides I was usually early!
The monks arrive, we stand, they take the first 2 rows, bells ding, chants are sung, we thanks the chefs, servers, and god, and are then served our simpley, but no less abundant vegetarian meal in efficient rows.
On bowl of steamed rice and one for a melange of different vegetable and tofu dishes. To me the food was perfect and delicious, despite the lack of variety. I love vegetables and sloppy stuff that mixes with rice.
Our bowls must be kept at the edge of the table, we must remain silent, and we must finish everything served to us, even if we have asked for too much. I learned the special chopstick sign language to communicate with the servers what and how much I wanted. When when are finished we must place the bowls at the edge using our chopsticks to flush the distance between the edge of the bowl to the table.
Day tourists weren't allowed to eat with the monks, only us meditation retreat people. Some tried to sneak in, but mostly they just watched as if we were apart of a living heritage museum...Though I suppose we were.

My name is Hannah Pierce-Carlson