Since 3 days and nights it is bitter cold. As one man said on alms round: ‘I thought cold had forgot to come to us but now it is here.
The first day of the cold I went barefoot and just a sweater and shawl in addition to the robes. In the beginning the gravel was incredible painful underneath the blank soles, then was a period when I thought the toes surely will fall off, then the feet were a bit numb and the pain not so strong anymore. The strong wind felt ice cold and went straight through the layers of fabric. It was 8 degree Celsius, I was told. I regretted that I had not learned the tibetan tummo practice yet. That’s when they can sit calmly in an ice cold room or in the snow and meditate while every body else would either shake uncontrollably or freeze to death. But I remembered one tibetan monk explaining that the major part of the practice is to relax (There is more to it, though :). So I tried to relax. At least I didn’t shake uncontrollably, nor did I get sick so far.
Oh, how wonderful when the sun came over the hilltop, how relieving when the first baggy of hot food was put in the bowl. The simple joys of a nuns present moment. No little sunbeam could have been more welcome and no hot rice more appreciated than in this present moment.
During the day I tried to follow the sun, but there was no escape from the wind. On my visit in the valley N. had offered warm socks, remedies for cold, Ajahn S. had offered to give me a thick warm blanket, and this silly, silly nun rejected all those precious gifts. After lunch I found a whisky bottle, the last solution to get warm. Here in Thailand forest honey is filled in whisky bottles. This bottle was empty and the lid was not leaking so I filled it with hot water. Since then I do not let go of my whisky bottle unless I have to reheat the water. But I do not carry it with me on alms round.
Next day it was even colder only 5 Celsius. I wore the flip flops (slippers) double layer lower robe a big blanket, woolen hat and gloves. Still it felt bitter cold. This wind was so strong that it got right to the bones. People sitting around fires. Wherever I went I heard people say, ‘Nao, nao’, ‘cold, cold’. Pai, the little girl showed me her little puppy had died. I was told to wear socks and was happy. But every one and that includes me was smiling and at least thus we were warming each others hearts.
My kuti is made of wooden planks and between all planks are gaps. The wind sough through the gaps the whole day. It is difficult to know where it comes from. The wind seems to come from every direction, coming in from the valley and then changing directions at the tops of the mountains. Outside or inside the kuti no escape. Once dear B. gave me little pocket hot water bottles. I carried them around with me, thinking that there is no use for something like that in Thailand, so I forgot about them. But now everything comes together and makes sense. I was always wandering why my blouse has a pocket that is right at the center of the chest. Now I know, it is for the little pocket hot water bottle!
Today it was 8 Celsius again. Going on alms round I wore almost everything that I have and stuffed the little hot water bottle in the chest pocket of the blouse. The headman of the village smiled at me … thinking of it, he most probably smiled about me: Yellow socks in flip flops, a big blanket in the color of a pumpkin and a rust red woolen hat. When I came to Kun Mon’s house her husband called her: ‘Bhikkhuni ma laeo.’ ‘The nun comes.’ I smiled at him and said: ‘Pahum ma laeo.’ ‘The blanket comes.’ He burst out laughing.