My name is Num. I was born in Thailand and I am a Buddhist Gen. I am a musician and a painter. At the moment I’m teaching computer skills to people with disabilities. As you can see my hair is extremely short because I’ve just come back from a time as a Buddhist monk.
In our tradition young men spend a period as a monk in a monastery. Unfortunately the practice is not popular today. As a Gen, I want to get to know more about my religion and to live my spiritual life better. So I decided to be ordained a monk. The ordination ceremony was really significant for me. The focolarini and the other Gen were present for this important occasion. I felt they were with me in this experience.
I had more time to meditate, beginning very early in the morning, at 4:30. Immediately after meditating, I would leave the monastery with other monks to go begging in search of food. I discovered that people trust monks and have a great deal of respect for them. I understood how important this trust is and that we monks should be faithful to the teachings of the Buddha in order to keep the trust people have. I have learnt so much from the teachings of Buddhism, especially from the older monks. And also while I was in the monastery, I felt that the other Gen were united with me.
I met the Gen through one of my Buddhist friends. He had got to know the Gen Ideal from a Buddhist monk in his village. The first time I met them I immediately noticed the very friendly relationship they had; they were like brothers and sisters, even though they were (and we are are) very different from one another – even following different religions.
What does it mean to be a Buddhist Gen? We have a lot of things in common with Christians, such as, for example, trying to be committed and good, and also in our choice to treat others well. I can live as a Gen anywhere I am, in each moment and, above all, by loving everyone I meet, helping to build family-style relationships with everyone. We Buddhist Gen try to live the Ideal of unity every day, loving and building unity wherever we are. We organize many things for the good of society together with the Christian Gen, for instance, fundraising for the victims of natural disasters. Now we are working to help people affected by the Typhoon in the Philippines. Let’s go ahead together!