My Path Towards Nirvana


Day 1
Today was a very exciting day for me because I will be getting
ordained. My family and I were going to the Burmese temple for
Thaththi and I to get ordained. When we arrived at the temple, we saw
that many more people were going to be ordained as well. That made
me feel slightly more comfortable about becoming a novice monk. The
ordination ceremony was longer than what we thought it was going to
be, especially because all the novice monks had to dress up as
Burmese princes. The people shaving our heads also ended up
cutting our heads a few times. We also had to shower using a garden
hose, which felt extremely uncomfortable. After the novice ordination
ceremony was over, me (now as Bhante Paññāloka) and Thaththi
(now as Bhante Deepāloka) ate lunch as an alms round in the alms
bowls. Eating in the alms bowl was like eating in an actual bowl, and it
felt much more normal than I thought. After lunch, the higher
ordination ceremony took place, but we weren’t allowed to be there.
Before leaving, we were offered essential items and toiletries.
Afterward, we went back to the Our temple to perform evening pooja
and go to sleep.
Day 2
Bhante Deepāloka woke me up this morning at 5:50 to get up
and taught me how to put on my robes. Disappointingly, I wasn’t able
to fully understand his directions and needed someone else’s help for
me to put them on. He then told me that I needed to learn 3 sutras for
the Buddha pooja: Mangala Sutra, Ratana Sutra, and Karaniya Metta
Sutra. He told me in the meantime I could use a recitals book to read
it. Breakfast was very normal, as we served ourselves normal food in
regular plates. It turns out that we don’t need to always eat in an alms
bowl. Knowing this, I felt a bit more comfortable overall being here.
After breakfast, I expected to do some meditation, but instead the
Bhantes gave us a choice to read, study, meditate, etc. I ended up
reading multiple Dhammapada verses until lunch. After eating lunch,
I went back to reading in the shrine room until the evening pooja.

My Path Towards Nirvana

Day 3
Bhante Deepāloka woke me up again, but I didn’t actually get up
until 6:10. I was still able to get ready in time for the morning pooja.
Today’s breakfast had paratha and dal, so I ate that for all of
the breakfast. In the library, I ended up finding a book on jātaka stories
with multiple volumes. For some reason, volume 1 was missing, so I
grabbed volume 2 for me to read. The book translated all of the pāli
words into English, including all of the names. I found most of the
characters’ names very strange, like Delightful, Good speaker, etc.
Later in the day, Bhante Deepankara gave a few Dhammapada
stanzas for me to read. I wasn’t able to read them fully, but I still was
able to remember most of the stanzas he gave me. Bhante Deepāloka
came into the shrine room and saw my sleeping bag was still out, so
he taught me how to fold up my sleeping bag. I thanked him as he
went to the other side of the room and started reading on a small
chair. Today, Santhushi and her family came over to offer dana. After
offering dana, Santhushi and Damsas asked me some questions
about how it was like being a novice monk. Damsas then found a book
in the library and pointed it out to Bhante Deepāloka, saying that it
was a book he read about the life of Buddha and his teachings. After
examining it and showing it to me, Bhante Deepāloka said that it was
a good idea to use in next year’s dhamma school. After they left, I
went back to reading in the shrine room until the evening, when we did
the evening pooja, showering, and going to sleep. Strangely, I found
multiple spiders in the shower, as they built their webs there as
permanent residences.
Day 4
Again, Bhante Deepāloka woke me up and I got ready for the
morning pooja as normal. After breakfast, I started reading some
jātaka stories when I realized that I had run out of jātaka stories in
volume 2. When I went to go get the next volume, Bhante Deepankara
gave me a few more verses to memorize. He also said that I could

My Path Towards Nirvana
utilizes these verses in a dharma discussion tomorrow. Realizing that
there was a Dharma discussion tomorrow, I decided to study these
verses especially hard. I studied and read until the evening pooja, and
followed the schedule from there.

Day 5
Today is a very special day, which was very exciting for me. The
reason why is because today was the day when Thai was becoming
ordained, and the retreat kids (plus some new ones) are coming as
well. Sadly, today was also the last day that Bhante Deepāloka was
staying as a monk, During breakfast, I accidentally picked an overripe
strawberry, and Bhante Wajiribuddhi told me that just as I need to pick
the best strawberry from the worst, I need to pick the best friends from
the worst. I found it very nice that he was able to give advice with a
strawberry. Later, after lunch, Thai came over to the temple to get
ordained. The ordination technique for him was much different than at
the Burmese temple. He shaved his head without being cut and took a
shower in the bathroom. He then got dressed in the robes and started
reciting the permission to get monk-hood. When the retreat children
came, they were very intrigued to find me and Bhante Saddhāloka
(Thai) as novice monks. The uncles and aunties came upstairs and
offered us gilanpasa. After that, everyone went to the shrine room for
some of them to “retreat from sensual pleasures”. They ended up
taking the same 10 precepts that novice monks had to take instead
of the normal 8. Bhante Wajiribuddhi then pointed us to the crowd and
said, “These 2 novice monks have become ordained after attending a
retreat, so I am very excited to see how many monks will be ordained
next year.” After the pooja, Bhante Wajiribuddhi invited me to do a
dharma talk. I was anxious about giving a dharma talk, but I eventually came
to a topic on why we are here. I told all the participants that they were
here because of the fact that this was a great opportunity for them to
learn to practice dharma. I then pointed out that if they wanted to,
they could have refused the retreat, but they decided to make the
choice themselves to join the retreat. After the talk, everyone
unpacked their things and went to sleep.

My Path Towards Nirvana

Day 6-8 (Retreat)
Day 9
After the retreat ended (with Deshan staying for 4 more days),
we went along with our normal routine. After the pooja, breakfast was
slightly different. We sat at the front table (Deshan sitting on one of the
small ones) and ate in the alms bowl, like in the retreat. Though, after
breakfast, we went upstairs and started reading. A little while later,
Bhante Deepankara gave us three more verses for us to study and
remember. We studied that for the rest of the day, though we were
only able to remember 2 of them that day.
Day 10
Bhante Wajiribuddhi woke us up at around 6:30 AM, which felt
very strange to me because I was used to Bhante Deepāloka waking
me up at 6:00 AM. After we woke up and followed our normal morning
routine, Bhante Deepankara came in to check on our stanza progress.
We told him that we only got 2 stanzas complete, but that we would
have all 3 finished by today. He nodded and went out. A few hours
passed as we helped each other memorize the last stanza when I
looked out the window and saw the flowers. I noticed that some were
drooping. I decided to go outside, with Bhante Saddhāloka and
Deshan following close behind. I examined the soil and noticed it was
dry. We decided to water the plants for today because of how hot it
was. After that, we decided to start reading. While we were reading,
we noticed some cars starting to come in. We checked outside to find
that it was the construction people and some of the uncles coming to
construct the patio. Bhante Wajiribuddhi came upstairs to tell us that
we were basically on “break” for the rest of the day.
Day 11
Today, I woke up the latest, which ended up making me later
than I would’ve wanted to be. I joined the pooja slightly late but was

My Path Towards Nirvana
still able to perform most of the morning routine normally. Bhante
Deepankara came back to us to see if we memorized the stanzas. We
recited them to him (and their meanings), and he was pleased. He
then told us that we should start trying to memorize some of the
sutras. He told us the sutras to start memorizing and we started to
memorize them. We also watered the plants again today.

Day 12
Today was the day that Deshan was leaving. The other Bhantes
figured this out when he said that he was going to be having dinner
tonight. When they realized this, they told him, “Well, your last lunch
here also has to be the best one as well.” Later, in the evening, all of
the construction crew came over, along with some of the parents as
well. Bhante Saddhāloka said that he was sad to see Deshan leave,
and wanted to say goodbye. No one left until midnight, and some
didn’t leave until 1:00 the next morning.
Day 13
With Deshan being gone, Bhante Saddhāloka said that it was
quite sad seeing Deshan leave, but said that we should just focus on
the sutras given to us to study. I agreed with him as we just focused
on our studies. Today, I decided to do walking meditation as well.
While I had previously done walking meditation, I wasn’t focused fully
on it until now, when I learned some new techniques. While walking
on the sand path, it started to rain. Knowing this, I decided to bring my
meditation inside to be able to continue. When I came back to the
library, I found Bhante Wajiribuddhi carrying a box. Being curious, me
and Bhante Saddhāloka asked him what it was for. He said that he
was donating some books to another temple. He then asked us if we
could help in putting some books in the box. We happily agreed and
did that for the rest of the evening.

My Path Towards Nirvana
Day 14
After following the normal schedule, I decided to work on Metta
meditation this time. I sat and meditated for a while before getting
back up and going back to the library. This evening, I was happy to
see my older sister coming over with Shanali and Sumudhu auntie
with the intention of doing the evening pooja with us. After the evening
pooja, we were tasked with giving the pirithnulas as well with Bhante
Deepankara. I didn’t know how to tie the strings properly, so the
strings got tangled within both themselves and the opposite ends. It
was honestly quite embarrassing. I also gave a dharma talk as well.
Afterward, they offered us gilanpasa and left.
Day 15
Today, after eating breakfast, we went to the Burmese temple
with Bhante Deepankara for a dharma talk. He had to give a simple
talk because of the fact that most people there were not older than the
age of 7 years. Afterward, the senior monk of the temple had asked
Bhante Deepankara for permission to keep me and Bhante
Saddhāloka for the evening. He said yes, and that he was picking us
up around 6:00. We spent the evening there watching meditation
videos and talking to 2 laymen about the different Buddhist cultures. I
enjoyed being exposed to different kinds of Buddhist cultures that I
hadn’t had known about previously.

Day 16
Today, we were woken up early because of the fact that today
we were going to a dana for in Tennessee. After eating breakfast, we
packed up our stuff and headed out for the dana. After sleeping for a
few extra hours on the way, I started to read about a new book that

My Path Towards Nirvana
Bhante Saddhāloka got me. I was very impressed with the amount of
detail listed in it. It was about the Buddha’s entire life and how he lived
before, during, and after the quest for enlightenment. When the
Buddha pooja was over, another guest monk started giving a dharma
talk. They had also mentioned that we were here for a graduation
ceremony. Afterward, they invited me to give a dharma talk as well. I
gave a dharma talk about anger. I also had mentioned that if they ever
get frustrated with college, they need to practice and cultivate loving-
kindness and compassion as well. After the dana. , we recited some
more pirith and blessed everyone there. Afterward, we left for our
temple.
After coming back from the dana, me and Bhante Saddhāloka
had realized that we were going back to our normal lay life. I was sad
to be leaving but was excited for the next year when we would be
coming back to become monks again. The valuable lesson I learned
during monkhood was mainly discipline. I learned that with proper
discipline, your life could become much more peaceful and spiritually
successful. I want to thank Bhante Manijothi for ordaining me and the
Burmese community for supporting me through my ordination. I also
want to thank Bhante Wajiribuddhi, Bhante Deepankara, and Bhante
Piyananda for teaching and guiding me with compassion and
patience, along with my family for encouraging me to pursue the path
towards monkhood. Finally, I want to thank all the uncles, aunties, and
my friends for giving dana and encouraging me to continue my path to
the fullest extent.
With all the merits I gained, I would like to share them with my
family, friends and whoever else would like to rejoice them with the
the intention of attaining Nirvana as they wish.

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