I hardly ever came to the temple but on December—when I was struggling with remorse of something shameful I did—I felt a calling to go to the monastery. I asked my mom if I could go with her and volunteer. And ever since then, I started cleaning weekly on Saturdays and became more involved by taking classes on Mondays. My old wisdom has been refreshed but what has truly changed me is by becoming a vegetarian and “re-learning” kindness and compassion all over again and practicing it.
The thought of becoming a vegetarian was from watching a documentary movie but what really helped me put my feet firmly on the ground was when I came to the realization that eating meat is eating a living being. And animal with a life and spirit, virtues and misdeeds, just like us. And who knows—they could have been our parents in our last life! And after about four weeks of going vegetarian, I am determined and keep saying “no” to meat.
Another thing that changed me is remembering kindness and compassion. I have already known about it but I had forgotten it. For a while, my kindness and compassion had been limited to a certain amount of people and things. But now my kindness has increased to almost anyone—good or bad—who crosses my path. Sometimes even my enemies.
But the thing that changed me the most was putting all of my knowledge into practice. “Knowledge is knowing but wisdom is doing it.” And ever since I have attended the monastery, I have been putting my knowledge into practice. I have become less stingy with money and more generous. I have constantly donated wholeheartedly to the temple—even if it is just two dollars, I still give because I know that I owe the temple so much—much more than two dollars. Every dollar counts but what really counts is the good feeling of giving. And that is the same feeling I get when I give money to friends or relatives when they ask me for it.
There is so much for me to learn but I have learned so much already—ever since I started coming here to the temple. I am deeply grateful for helping me cope with my troubles, reviving my old wisdom and changing me so much in just three months.