Once, there was an 80 year old monk who lived alone in a monastery. The monastery was just outside the village, far enough away that the villagers were concerned that should anything happen to the Sayadaw 1, they would not know and could not help.
So, the Sayadaw proposed that he would strike the temple gong rapidly to signal when there were any problems. The villagers were satisfied with this solution and went home.
A few weeks later, at around 4 am, the villagers were awakened to rapid gonging coming from the monastery. Blurry from sleep and worried for their beloved Sayadaw, they rushed to the monastery.
Upon arrival, they saw the Sayadaw sitting quietly, and apparently contentedly, in meditation. After some time, the Sayadaw, with a half-smile on his face, slowly opened his eyes.
The villagers said, “Sayadaw, we heard the gong and rushed here to see what the problem was!”
Sayadaw replied, “I have made a decision.”
Curious, the villagers asked, “What decision, Sayadaw?”
Sayadaw replied, “I have decided to remain a monk the rest of my life!”
Photo: Mahabodhimyaing Sayadaw on alms round (not the monk in this tale); from internet, photographer unknown
- In Myanmar, “Sayadaw” is a term of respect for senior, much revered monks ↩