Friday, July 30, 2010

Buddhist Monk Says He's Harmless (Letter to Moorpark Acorn)

The following letter was printed in today's issue of the Moorpark Acorn, without the "Dear Citizens of Moorpark,". Instead, there is seen the heading "Buddhist Monk Says He's Harmless".

Dear Citizens of Moorpark,

I am writing to introduce myself as a new resident of your city. I am a Buddhist monk and I teach insight meditation to students from around the world. I am also currently doing volunteer work as a chaplain at the Federal Detention Center in LA, and I teach over the Internet via YouTube (channel: yuttadhammo) as well.

Every morning, I walk to the local Thai restaurants whose owners kindly give me food for my daily meal. I don't beg and I don't touch money at all. I don't practice martial arts or any sort of religious ritual. I wear simple, coarse robes that often draw attention to my person, and I wish to make it clear that I am not here to convert people or interfere with others' lives in any way, though I am always happy to teach meditation to those who ask. Otherwise, I mostly keep to myself and attend to my students.

Recently, I was stopped by a local police officer who politely asked who I was, telling me that they had received a call by a concerned citizen wondering who I was and what I carry under my robes when I walk. As I explained to him, and later to the Sergeant at the Police Department (whom I took it upon myself to visit), I am a simple monk, and I carry a simple alms bowl under my robes that is used to carry the food I receive. I don't wear shoes when on alms round, in order to maintain humility when receiving food. Otherwise, I wear shoes as normal people do.

I hope my presence in Moorpark will be seen as an addition to the community, rather than a threat, the latter of which I guarantee that I am not. I am residing at the Woodcreek Apartments on Spring Road, and am in the process of setting up a small residence in the countryside near by. This letter is only meant to ease the minds of the general public that I should present no danger or inconvenience to anyone, and hope to be on friendly terms with the residents of this fine community. Thank you for reading this, and thanks to the Acorn for publishing it.

Sincerely,

Brother Noah Yuttadhammo

Update: someone called from their car as I walked back today, "very good article!" That was quick... encouraging, too.