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a very buddhist christmas

December 26, 2012

I had a pretty nice Christmas this year, despite not having any official plans, spending almost the whole day at Miao Fa Chan Temple hanging out with a Buddhist monk from Thailand who was born at midnight on Dec. 24th and was originally named Christmas, his niece, Paddy, and three of his students, Junko, Alan, and Sally.

A couple of days before, during the Sunday service, Ajahn Fa Thai invited those of us who wanted to join him for evening chanting and meditation, which he usually does every Tuesday from 6:30-8:30pm, to do so since the 25th is also his birthday. I ended up going over at 10am, however, to help him make food for a local homeless shelter, which he does whenever they get a lot of food donations, especially on holidays (three of us also helped the day before to make a big pot of curry to take to the shelter, and I donated some cans of soup and toiletries I bought earlier, as well).

As it turned out, he didn’t really need that much help as he started cooking early and a lot of other people showed up since it was his birthday. A couple of Thai families came by to offer food, as well, and we ended up having a big potluck lunch. I was actually planning on going back home after the meal and the food for the shelter was delivered, but I was invited by everyone to stay for tea and cookies and to just hang out (which is when I found out his original name was Christmas, although he eventually had his dad change it because he was teased so much about it).

Around 4:30pm, we all went to Bay Leaf, a local vegetarian restaurant, and were treated by Junko, Alan, and Sally to a vegetarian Christmas dinner. After that, we went back to the temple for the evening chanting and meditation. All in all, it was a nice way to spend the day; and because of all the time we spent together, I think they consider me part of the family now.

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