Tales of Joy 2022 #9

Heading south to SDS II, known as Bodhisattva Valley, we began to feel lighter and lighter. Nawng Joy, Aey and I have a way of sparking each other into silly happiness. Here we are at a lunch stop along the way. Yes, rice paddies are really that green.

I packed pillows and extra towels and bedding into my luggage, in order to survive a week of sleeping directly on the cement floor like I did two years ago. And ear plugs, to drown out the snoring nuns in the next room, and barking dogs.

And sheets of seaweed, cashews and supplements, cause there wasn’t much I could eat, either: The nuns returned from their alms rounds with very spicy food, which was what we ate. Or in my case, couldn’t eat.

So it was quite a shock to arrive this year and enter into an entirely different reality here at B.V., as we refer to Bodhisattva Valley.

I was taken to a delightful cabin of my own, with a deck overlooking a pond and the mountains. These cabins (nine, in all) were donated by one of the nuns last year, after she disrobed.

They were delivered on a gigantic truck, donated by another devotee.

My current lodging is elegant, lined in teak wood.
Where am I?
The memories of B.V. from two years ago are fading … it has changed so much.

My buddy Chom the gardener is living here now, and pouring his genius into SDS II, in every corner of the land.

One of Chom’s latest creations…a waterfall next to my dining area

I was so happy to see the old crew as well. So now I show up for lunch before noon, custom-served by my old dear friend, Maechee Mem, who is now the chef!

We share twenty years of amazing memories, including touring hospices all over Thailand with Khun Mae and Nawng Joy and the team.

I’ve chosen to skip breakfast and eat only lunch, since monastics fast from noon until the following morning.

But friendly folks continue to bring fruit to my cabin in the morning and evening.

Yesterday, I ate the flower on my plate, which was decoration, and Nawng Joy was alarmed, saying that this type of flower isn’t edible. My boo-boo.

The next day, I found this under the basket: An incredible flower salad, with a vinaigrette dressing made especially for me, and egg drop shrimp soup.

Maechee Mem is asking me to share my western recipes with her. I have deluged her with ideas and possible food combinations.

The basket is significant:

On the first day, I asked her to begin thinking about alternatives to cellophane and aluminum foil wrappings…and to the fancy plastic cups with bubble lids and plastic straws. Nawng Joy was there to translate, fortunately.

I described myself as

Mei Torani’s Inspector
(Mei Torani is Thai for “Earth Mother”.)

…and that there isn’t really much time left to stop dumping plastic into the oceans and bio-sphere. BV is making wonderful strides, since all the veggies grown here are organic…but we need to think of every possible green innovation, every day… to be exemplary.

Maechee Mem nodded and agreed, her eyes wide. Later, we did a little ceremony and I passed her the Green Baton, to continue being “Mei Torani’s Inspector” after I leave next week……

Click Here to read the full Newsletter #9 (pdf)

Here are the kids waving goodbye to me as I left the rose gardens
this morning. The love is palpable, and mutual!