Wednesday, January 11, 2006

(and even Buddha is scratching his bald head)

It was a Sunday with perfect tennis weather, but instead i was stuck at this Buddhist temple with my mother-side relatives for one full day of chanting and praying. (It was near the 49th day after my grandmother's passing, that's why) Well, at least it was the monks doing the chanting and praying, while we followed them like a bunch of schoolkids as they alternately stood and kneeled and so on.

There were 8 of them, 2 bald guys resplendent in their bright yellow robes and 6 middle-aged women looking rather drab in their plain chocolate brown robes, all lost in their monotonous chanting and wailing (i would love to add "and gnashing of teeth", but that's exaggerating already :D)

That's when i noticed that the 6 female monks (monkettes? monquettes?) all had jet-black heads of hair...nary a strand of white or grey hair amongst them. In fact, i had more white hair than all of them combined! Pretty weird considering that by my estimate, the youngest would be in her mid-40s and the eldest definitely past 60.

Could it be that life as a Buddhist monk is so stress-free and full of tranquility and goodness and light, hence the paucity of white hair? This pet theory was sadly undermined by my cousin. As it turns out, the monkettes don't stay in the temple at all and are probably not full-time in the faith.

"Obviously, they all dye their hair black", she opined, with a look of mixed amusement and scorn in my direction.

Really? Somehow the thought that they all go together to the same hairdresser (Mother Ricky?) for a dye job seems....just weird. Or perhaps they do-it-yourself in their respective homes.

But surely they are above such vanity? Surely, they have other more important life-altering activities for the temple or Buddha?

I'm stumped.

By the way, the faux beef and faux chicharon served during our vegetarian lunch were good. Quite tasty, in fact. Yum.

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