Listen to the Chanting

A Thailand Short Story


Willard Van De Bogart

March 31, 2001
Enroute to Cambodia
(Buddha Sculpture at Wat Suan Mokkh, Chaiya, S. Thailand)
Photo By Willard Van De Bogart

Its 6am in the morning, and the train is pulling out from the Makkasan rail station in Bangkok. Leaving the Makkasan train station is a whole lot different than leaving the main train station in Bangkok at Hualamphong. Makkasan is a very small train station with only two sets of tracks compared to the many tracks serving all the trains for Thailand at Hualamphong. This morning only one train is leaving east to Aranya Prathet.

Willard and Dr. Narong Nimsakul: Click on image for larger view

Daily I would walk on these Makkasan tracks in the Pratunam district of Bangkok as a short cut from Juldis Towers to the Deja General Hospital to oversee a Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber I installed in Dr. Narong Ninsakul's Health and Beauty Clinic. Now I was about to ride on these tracks.

Today I was off to Cambodia across the border from Aranya Prathet, a six-hour train ride, to renew my American passport for another thirty days so that I could stay in Thailand. As the train wound its way out of the city of Bangkok I could not help but think of Na, my Thai lady, lying in bed trying to understand what it is I do. 5am came and she asks, "bai nai"...where you go? "I go to take care of my passport"...was my reply. The "farang" moves again leaving behind the innocent drippings of jealousy predicated on the fact that I may be going out to find another woman.

The early morning sky has a light yellow glow to it. Outside of my open train window I can see watery fields, white cranes and fish ponds endlessly passing by. Its green everywhere I look as I make myself comfortable in a soft blue leather seat. All the train windows are wide open with a distinct cool morning breeze flowing over everything with a tinge of the odors from the open fields. Peering out of the train window into home after home I can see the rural life of Thailand waking up and beginning to prepare for the countless chores which supports these peoples lives. I have come to know this world from Na's village next to the Ping river in Ban Phot Phisai. The scenery outside the train window is poor and rich. Poor by my American standards, but rich in community and sense of cultural identity.

I keep on pitting myself against this world of rural greenery and simplicity, and my knowledge of world affairs and celestial happenings. Mir, the Russian space station, has fallen to Earth, but nary a thought was raised over it in the village life. Only the daily irrigation of the rice field prevails. In this world of digital processing there is another world entrenched on this Earth based solely on the fertility of the land. Hopefully, this caring for the land will remain for a long time for it just may be that this new digital world will loose site of how truly valuable the land really is to all of our survival. The virtual world is definitely no substitute for the natural world we live in.

As I ponder the simplicity of the rural life and watch the landscape on the way to Aranya Prathet I also can see countless earth moving machines making new roads, wires being stretched from pole to pole, and the eternal iron rail tracks weaving their way across the land east of Bangkok. Then I take out of my brief case a recent clipping from the Bangkok Post on how the new American president refuses to accept a global warming accord established in Kyoto, Japan. Asians cry, and the world revolts again as the destruction of the Earth's atmosphere continues. The next paper I pull from my brief case is a summarization of Georgio de Santillana's book "Hamlets Mill" by the American Mayan scholar John Major Jenkins. After having just finished reading Hamlets Mill I could clearly see how our modern world has sealed the mythic world from expressing humankind's true connection and portal to the universe.

From these mental incubations of modernity and simplicity, while the train rattles it's way into the morning sunrise, their occurs in my mind the need to bring attention to the world using some grace of action, or an ability to penetrate what has become an intolerable waste of divine consciousness which is a gift given to every human being since birth. I can not help think of the sleepless nights of the crying souls of Thailand as the masses experienced the destruction of their beloved ancient Buddhist statues in Afghanistan depicted through the eyes of the media. The world is like a macabre soap opera where the boys continue to kill unabated their fellow classmates, and teenagers drop like flies in Palestine directly before the viewing world on live media broadcasts as Israel perceives threats to its nation from flying stones.

Building up inside my own psyche on this lumbering train to Cambodia this morning seethes the want to find a solution to the eternal repetition of ignorance and suffering that haunts the human race. How, I ask myself, has it been possible for the people of the world to be unable to join in unison against all the perceived social injustices. The need for personal identity and sense of place seems to be first among peopleÕs needs the world over. Heads are rolling as ethnic wars lash out to claim a right to personal space and the means to earn a livelihood as the owners of power continually strip the means for people to live a simple life to its fullest. Millions of indigenous people the world over have had their land taken away in the name of economic reforms. The human heritage of the Earth is being removed in the name of progress. As I ponder all of this I know I can at least express my sorrow for the loss of the divinity in humanity by a power greater than all the swords on Earth. Now I can use new plowshares by the thousands as countless computers are connected around the world and a new means to communicate feelings and thoughts can be expressed though the invention of the internet. Now I can use these few crippling words to convey my awareness over the web of digitally connected computers spewing forth a message among the millions of war games children play daily. Who among these infant virtual warriors can hear their own calling to become part of the new vigilantes of revolt, and bring to the world a new order of civility and human dignity. Nobody can blame the desire to disrupt the corporate greed as the barons of money cry when their world catches a virus. The viruses of the world are eating slowly, one by one, every living thing and the eternal song of business as usual sings out while never hearing the death songs of planetary sorrow.

Brighter now is the yellow glow of the morning sky as the train begins to slow down, and as it stops there is a Buddhist temple right outside my window. When I stuck my head out I could hear the birds singing, and the distant chanting of the monks lending an eternal mantra of peace and tranquility to the landscape. Where, I asked myself, did all of this solitude go to in the world. Why have we all succumbed to the audacity of those that say no to keeping our planet safe from destruction? It's time we combine our thoughts and together and forever wipe clean this Earth of the mindset that takes away from humanity the ability to continue in peace. What do we call ourselves, where do we meet, how do we begin? The chanting left me paralyzed as the train began to move again, and I knew I was trying to find an answer to a question that has been plaguing mankind for millenniaÕs. How do you create a golden age, and bring heaven on earth?

For some reason my mind was consumed with all these social problems this morning. It was a challenge to see what I could come up with independently from the way the rest of the world was currently organized to solve these problems. I was trying to think "out of the box". Was it at all possible to even find a solution? What were the common denominators that had to be worked with? I would come up with short phrases like: "ItÕs the us in all of us that has to know the inherent truth of a global cause", or "Only by our own need to establish a correct path can we all live into the future". Can we band together as one voice as each river stretches out to reach each shore simultaneously? Can we all know a truth and be so selfless that in unison we care, and step over those that rape in the name of greed?

By this time I knew the chanting had put me into a trance of sorts. The mixture of the early morning cool air, mixed with the calmness of the country side and the Buddhist monks chanting all seemed to serve as some sort of space where all these worldly social concerns came to the forefront of my mind. Again I would pose questions to myself. Have we reached the time of the "Universal Bastille Day" where people the world over can be liberated from the controls of corporate investments? Can we accomplish this together as some new digital voice that interacts with the majority of people of Earth who are farmers, peasants, laborers, and indigenous people who need to sleep and enjoy their eternal bliss of a hoped for successful crop and peaceful future? How do we as a concerned collective body of connected souls cut the wire that transmits the plan to take away another stretch of land where people have flourished and children played for hundreds of years? How do we collectively say no, and begin a planetary resistance in harmony and under one cause of a people from a galactic outpost that speaks the gift of life for our new millennium?

The train continued lumbering its way to the Cambodian border passing thousands of pink lotus blossoms on its way. I was still trying to sort out all my moods and feelings as they kept on coming faster as each moment passed, and the morning sunlight started to pour through the train windows. Again I started to create attempts to express my concerns for the world situation. We are all here on the Earth, and we need to find a way to look to the stars and bring back a celestial quest for our evolutionary destiny and be able to express ourselves with full enlightenment. These were the kinds of thoughts that kept coming to mind. More and more thoughts came as I glanced again through the window and saw streaks of lightning in the distance, and all the stilted legged cranes were huddled together against the black top soil. What hypnotizing elements on this journey were causing me to ponder such global questions as if any thought might break out into the world and champion a new cause to liberate humanity from run-away progress? Returning to my thoughts was as effortless as the passing banana trees outside the train window. I seemed to be drifting inside my thoughts and outside in the countryside.

It was so easy to write on paper and claim that all obstacles to ignorance can be removed from the human condition. It was so easy to identify those bastions of power that have no regard for people who wish for a better life. So easy to know who harbors the want to eliminate the pristine destiny of each human being. So easy to say that it's possible to remove those people who destroy humanity by their actions of ignorant choices and self-serving interests. It does not take a leap of some unobtainable state of mind to know that global genocide is rampant on the earth. Eliminating life to maintain life has been the major ideology for renewal for millennia. At this point in my thinking I was looking for a crescendo of ideas that could be effective to bring about a peaceful New World order. The storm outside was diminishing, and I could sense that I was beginning to wake up from some dream of a new social revolution. The magical yellow glow had gone, only to be replaced by a very hot sun pouring into the open windows of the train as noontime approached and as Cambodia was only an hour away.

I was awake, as never before knowing I had just emerged from some trance induced perhaps by those monks chanting in the early morning hours when the train stopped next to a small village. What had I been thinking about in that state of mind when I wanted to remove from the earth those people who removed the will to love from the masses of the earth? I wanted to remove the people who caused the earth and its inhabitants to suffer and pay no heed to their importance. I knew it was life that needed to be honored. There could be no importance associated for any personal gain resulting from the successes of planetary liberation. Only life and only an eternal future of air that could be breathed and a destiny deserved in collective cooperative harmony without need for ownership or want of credit for bringing about the balance to continue what had begun.

Now fully awake and knowing were I was and where I was going I found myself thinking thoughts that could hardly be real, and yet I knew the time had come to eliminate the source that wants to destroy life and instead create a new world order that honors life. I knew there could be no betrayals, no lies, no hypocrisy, but only the honest awareness to heal this planet so as to survive into the future. I knew that it was necessary that we had to carry all earth passengers so that we could continue to chant for the humble oneness from which we all stem.

The eastern edge of Thailand was approaching and in some ways I felt the chanting monks had implanted a message in my mind to bring about peace on this earth. Walking off the train I realized that this morning I had made passage through another time and place. Now I was in Aranya Prathet, and when I stepped out of the train these lyrics streamed through my mind:

Come over to our side
Believe in everything that you can
Take up the way to become one
Never let them have it all
Never let them have it al
Never let them have it all

Every time you see them die
Tell all the people that you can
Take up the way to become one
Never let them have it all
Never let them have it all
Never let them have it all

Om Om Shanti Om
Om Om Shanti Om
Buddha Buddha Buddha
Take up the way to become one
Never let them have it all
Never let them have it all.

Sequels to this story are titled: Stones in the Sky, Part I, II, III, IV, V and VI - Click to begin the series.

Other Thailand Short Stories
Willard Van De Bogart

Return to:| Back to top | Willard Van De Bogart | The Portal Messenger | Home | Earth Portal Controls |
©1995-2008 Earth Portals