I received ths lovely email from Asaf in Israel last week. Asaf is a consultant for our www.mindfulnesstrainingcourse.org and my advisor on Pali terms. Asaf gave me the OK to share it with readers of my blog and Facebook.The email read:
“I had a couple of hours with Naama (my wife) today and we decided to let go of coffee in favour of an on foot exploration of the forest next to our new Haifa home.
We went down the wadi which was steep and wet, and kind of lost our way, hoping to meet the footpath that will take us back to civilization later on. At some point we started climbing up hill towards the houses. I thought we had completely lost the path but we managed to find some way in the vegetation at the bank of the wadi. We were slowly making progress.
Suddenly, an orange cloth caught my eye. What’s the matter? asked Naama. It looks like a monk’s robe drying up, I said. I climbed up towards the cloth, and before she managed to wonder what I was doing, I was facing two Theravada monks by a small cave. My face probably betrayed my shock – but they kindly replied to my interrogation: where are you from? what are you doing here? which tradition are you trained in? do you have a community supporting you?
It appears they have some links with Tovana ( a major Dharma network in Israel), and they belong in the Ajhan Chah lineage of north east Thailand. They have been In Thailand for 7 years and returned to Israel in the summer. Mettacitto and Brahamavihari, if I got the names right. Not only that, after I said only a couple of words about myself Mettacitto said “but I know who you are! You are Asaf Federman. I read your article on Ben Gurion!”. Well, that is what I call a small world.
So there are two Buddhist monks living in a cave 15 minutes walk from my house. In Haifa. Who would have thought?”