What happens when you miss making merit twice? You get run over by monks!
As a wide spread tradition in Thai culture, merit-making is a big deal in the office life. Once a year, nine monks from a near-by (or not so near-by) temple come to the office for a blessing. In the morning, they sit and chant in Pali. Employees gather around to share spiritual experiences as well as strengthen their social ties.
The successful process of merit-making depends on the receivers, the alms and the donors. The purer and more observant the receivers (monks), the more merit the donors receive. If the donors are morally clean and have good intentions, and the monks as well, then full and perfect merit will be received.
All kinds of merits stem from alms giving. Depending on the alms, one will have abundance in different areas of the next life e.g. if donating money and materials for the construction of buildings in the monastery, a big and beautiful house will be waiting for the donor in the next life. Nowadays businesses often make merit to improve customer confidence and their public image. For the employees it is done as a community and hence increases the sense of camaraderie within the office.
So, making-merit has a direct impact on the quality of the next life, contributes to the personal growth towards enlightenment and attracts good circumstances in this life. Who would want to miss the merit-making?
My co-workers invited me to come along and join in the fun in the end of November. I even asked a few friends how to behave and what to expect. When the big day was upon us, we found out that the merit making was in a different building with a different company. So, we skipped it.
A few days later, a friend of mine informed me that I could make up for lost times and go to the merit-making in a public place. It was very early in the morning and as the monks had been late at the previous merit-making (which we then did not attend), I decided that I did not want to waste my time sitting around waiting if they were late again.
I went to work at the usual time and walking up the stairs to the sky train platform, I was overrun by about 100 monks. I squeezed into a corner and let them pass. When I changed trains a few stations later, we were re-routed to the end of the platform, because it was already overcrowded with more monks.
So, in my thoughts I attended the merit-making and hope it will not have an adverse effect on my path to enlightenment, but I will certainly take the next opportunity to attend in person.