They Hike US, We hike Them
St John's, Newfoundland
Jaya Kesava, our monk from Liberia agreed with me that the waves going constantly in sound all day long within earshot of our host's home is a very pleasing audio reality. When we stepped outside the condo and inched our way right next to the stony shoreline the receding wave dragged its water over the well worn stone to create a sound like that of an applause. Jaya concurred, "yeah it does sound like people clapping."
Since coming to Newfoundland the reception for myself and Jaya Kesava, who preceded me, has been rather positive. And if it wasn't the sound of hands clapping, it would be people with rapt attention listening to our message. We both had several opportunities to speak to grade 12 students of Gonzaga Secondary School. The buzz word around the school was " there're monks in the school." The teachers who welcomed us, Neil and Kathy, who happened to be neighbours of our host, Rikin, had given us the invite.
One former student Approached Kathy: "Miss, why didn't we have monks when I took the course last year?" One autistic pupil, a boy heard Jaya Kesava speak, ran down the hallway practically knocking people over and not explaining his behavior. He came back a few minutes later with his palms full of coins from his locker.
"Where's the monk?" He asked the teacher
"He's gone!" was the reply
" I brought my coins for the monk," he said lamenting.
Students especially liked our talks and the chanting.
The Lotus Center downtown filled up this evening. The fee was $25 per head for a mini seminar on "The Bhakti Method - 9 Devotions. No power pointing was used; we facilitated and involved people in interaction. Participants here were the best ever. I experienced the taste of Newfie warmth. My heart sends its applause to them. They were great and grateful for the transformational experience undertaken.
It used to be that to be accepted as a Newfoundlander, you had to bite into a live fish. This method has been modified to giving a kiss to a fish from the freezer. Both of us monks were welcomed without the traditional formality called "screeching." It looks like we got a lenient initiation through our presentations.
So, for the friendliest North Americans around I salute them - the Newfies. (Just to comfirm; when 911 occurred many US planes landed in Newfoundland. Residents opened their arms to the flood of unexpected guests by accommodating people into their homes. People were stunned by the warmth and hospitality of Newfoundlanders.)