Friday, 6 July 2007

A Monk's Progress

Yesterday I received this email from Daizan............

I'd been stood in the town square of Rugby for nearly half an hour. My alms bowl was slowly filling - with rain. Mostly people ignored the sight of a Zen monk standing beside his rucksack and straw hat. But now and then someone would come by. The pattern was pretty predictable. They'd get out some money to put in the bowl. I'd gently as I could, refuse it - "I'm sorry, I'm just collecting food. I'm walking up the centre of Britain, on this walk I'm not touching money." About half of them would reappear a few minutes later with sandwiches, fruit, something to eat, which I would gratefully accept.

"Excuse me, mate, who are you collecting for?" He was dressed in a red jacket with red baseball cap. Both were embroidered with the Rugby town logo. He carried a big black two-way radio.

"I'm not collecting money. I'm a Buddhist monk walking the length of the country. On this walk I don't touch money. I'm only accepting food."

"I'm sorry if you don't have a licence, I'll have to ask you to move on. We're town wardens paid for by the shops. We want to make it a pleasant experience for visitors. We're linked-up with the CC camera system."

I wanted to argue, but he'd clearly been given his orders and couldn't deviate "Ok." I said.

As I carried my pack away up the High Street. I stopped by a touch screen built in the middle of the pavement. "Free Internet Connection From Rugby to the World", it said. I stopped to look.

"Do you want me to show you how it works?" The warden said. He'd been following, perhaps worrying that hunger would get the better of me, and I'd get my bowl out somewhere else. "We want to make Rugby a pleasant experience for the visitors." He added.


This was just a blip on what's been an incredible experience so far. It's about a quarter done so still a long, long way to go.

Hope all's very well with you. Let me know if you know of anyone around Britain's centreline who might enjoy a visit from a walking monk.

More later Cheers Julian

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