Lessons from the Monk I Married

An excerpt from the inspiring book by Katherine Jenkins about an ordinary girl who fell in love with a Buddhist Monk.

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I never expected my search for peace would lead me to a bowling alley. Nor did I expect my first experience with a Buddhist monk to involve putting on tacky shoes and comparing ball sizes. No—I expected we’d spend the afternoon watching monks chanting and doing prostrations to the steady beat of a moktak, a wooden percussion instrument used in Korean Buddhist ceremonies. Or maybe we’d attend a tea ceremony, sitting for hours on our knees in silence. Or maybe I’d even finally learn how to meditate.

Yet here we were, following Su Nim through the narrow streets downtown to the bowling alley. Along the way, I started worrying. Is there a certain etiquette I should follow when bowling with a monk? I wondered. No, that’s ridiculous. How could there be an etiquette? Who goes bowling with a monk, anyway?

After our bowling adventure, Su Nim suggested we visit a teahouse downtown. Finally, I thought. I was worried that my only experience out with a monk would begin and end in a bowling alley. On our way there, we learned that Su Nim lived in a temple above the teahouse in a room adjacent to a meditation hall. People from town would gather in the hall in the early morning for meditation sessions guided by Su Nim. As it turned out, the teahouse he was taking us to was not just a teahouse, but his house and place of work. Things were looking up.

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When we arrived, I was overcome by an immediate sense of calm. Su Nim invited us to sit on wooden stools around a wooden table. Traditional music wafted through the air as we sipped from tiny porcelain cups of green tea. This is more like it, I thought. After many rounds of tea, Su Nim realized he’d left his book at the bowling alley. Since it was near my place, I volunteered to retrieve it. To my surprise, it wasn’t a sacred text of Buddhism as I imagined it would be. It was The Discipline of Transcendence, by Osho.

Osho? I thought. Wasn’t he the same guy as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the guru who had the fleet of Rolls Royces? Who talked about “free love”? Who started a commune in Oregon?

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