On Traveling

Ajahn Liem

On Traveling

Luang Por reflects on traveling as a Buddhist monk as follows:

The Buddha said that we should go like an elephant who does not trumpet about where he comes from. We must humble ourselves, be obliging and gracious, and fit into the various situations as smoothly as gently flowing water which you can easily pour in and out of a bottle.

If we come across as inflexible, things become difficult. We need to practice conducting ourselves respectfully towards all the different places, individuals, and societies. Being able to adapt oneself brings about good feelings among one another and opens up the possibility to introduce Buddhist principles and communicate that these teachings are truly valuable.

Luang Por is fond of saying that all countries are just parts of the earth’s surface; the only differences are the local landscapes and languages. Adjusting oneself to the specific terrain or climate can easily be done if we have mindfulness and wisdom and are ready to change ourselves accordingly, cautiously practicing forbearance and restraint.

Luang Por tries to be easy to look after and not demand special activities, as he rather likes to spend the time in quiet and simple ways. He sometimes asks to cut down the hosts’ program, leaving just some of the educational items, which help in understanding the local culture or the events entailing teaching meditations and monastic training.

Luang Por does carry a camera of his own, which he uses to take pictures of the various new things he encounters, thinking of all the monks, novices, and laypeople back in Thailand.

They will hardly ever get the opportunity to travel to foreign countries like him, so with the warmth and kindness of a father explaining the world to his children, on his return, Luang Por happily shares all the new experiences he had with lots of photos to pass around.

This reflection by and regarding Luang Por Liem is from the book, The Life and Teachings of Luang Por Liem Thiradhammo (80th Birthday Honor), (pdf) p. 118.