In bold tropical colours fruits fabricated in paper mache line up on the monastery grounds like students for roll call. This is not your average school! This is the Monks school where the poor get a free or nearly free education. Where art is valued and language skills honoured. Where social standing is ignored and the poor are welcome.
In the middle of the monastery (school yard!) one of the oldest temple towers in the world emerges from the red sand. The roof is gone. Bomb gone! Sky light. In the cracks between the ancient bricks rice grasses have started to grow. The lessons are about tradition and the value of preparing for a life of service.
There behind us 330 steps on the way to enlightenment. I do understand what Martin Luther had to say about praying till your knees were worn away. The futility of it all. But as I came down the staircase (designed like a Roman Vomitorium) I rolled from the mountaintop of serenity to the ordinary in a fleeting moment. I dropped into a real world with every mountain dream shattered by the descending steps of reality. The lessons of the monastery school were not big and bold. They were simply lessons that I needed to learn. Colourful fruit is more interesting than a complicated plan!