All our enemies are in our mind. This was the primary message to the Pattaya City Expats Club at their Sunday, September 11 meeting at Amari’s Tavern by the Sea Restaurant. Richard Silverberg, Master of Ceremonies, called on Mike Warner to introduce Phra Mick Tatanapanyo Bhikkhu.
Phra Mick was born in Thailand, but moved to Australia as a boy and is now an Australian citizen. Currently, he is living in Thailand. Mike said that although the Club has had other Buddhist monks as speakers, he felt that everyone would find Phra Mick to be quite different.
Longtime member Mike Warner introduced our speaker, Phra Mick.
Phra Mick provided a lively and animated talk about his move to Australia, his life there, and how he found his calling as a Buddhist monk and how he came to realize all his enemies were only in his mind. Phra Mick said that when he was 14 years old, his mother dragged him off to Australia although he didn’t want to go. When he got there, he found it difficult as he didn’t understand “western” kids. Thai kids were different; much more obedient.
At this early age, he joined an “Italian” gang which led to a not so savory life. He started as a “delivery boy.” It didn’t matter what he was asked to deliver and he didn’t care. He said he became the favorite of the “boss” and described some his life growing up. Some 14 years later, he pretty much thought only of himself; he had two big houses, several cars, and four Japanese girlfriends. Many would think he had the great life; but in the business he was involved in, he found it hard to really appreciate it. His houses were surrounded with security cameras. He always carried a couple of firearms; even to the toilet. He was always paranoid that someone was after him and that he was always being watched by the police or others.
He said he had a poker face and put on a front so others would not realize his fear. It was at this point when his mother discovered how he was living that she suggested that he become a monk; only for a month. When he spoke with the Abbot, he said the Abbot told him three months. So, he approached the “boss” for permission. Although he was worried about the reaction, he said his boss told him to “go find who you are and don’t ever come back.”
Phra Mick delighted members as he related his colorful past and shared his fresh perspective on Buddhism, all with an Aussie accent.
That was 8 years ago when he was ordained. He said his training was by Shaolin and Tibetan monks. Through their guidance, he gradually came to learn that all his enemies, which he described as fear, pride, anger, ego, and greed were in his mind. He said his masters guided him and helped him overcome these fears. They taught him how one is thrown into the next moment, rebirthing through attachments of information. This information is derived from eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch, thought, memory and feeling. He emphasized that all things are based on feeling and this in essence is the meaning of life. Phra Mick said he also found he had a special skill; the ability to relate with and help street kids because of his own past experiences and his ability to speak the “lingo.”
After Phra Mick answered many questions, Richard Silverberg updated everyone on upcoming events and called on Roy Albiston to conduct the always informative and sometime humorous Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about expat living in Thailand, recommendations for restaurants and movies are made, and perhaps the telling of a joke or two.
Members devoured the samples of Italian cheeses and meats provided by Aroy Italy’s sales manager, Dhom (right), assisted by Nan.