A Southern Thai Abbot’s Clandestine Sermon: New Year’s Eve at Ingkayut Camp
(an abridged translated sermon)
You should consider every year a year to make merit. We expend a part of our lives each year. We should consider what we have done, ask whether we have done more good than bad, or [whether we have done] more bad than good. If we have done more bad actions, we should hurry and try to collect enough merit. Merit or goodness is part of being a soldier. A soldier has to be tolerant. But what does it mean to be tolerant?
I used to live in the suburbs. I had to be patient in the cold and hot weather, even with the mosquitoes. Likewise, soldiers have to be tolerant when it comes to security levels for the general population. Nowadays, people have no one to take care of them. There are soldiers who can help them.
The second meaning of tolerance is to be patient with our anger. We should understand that no one can make everyone accept everything that we do. It is because of a different state of mind….
Today is nearly the new year. Last year was the Year of the Dog. There are many kinds of dogs. Some are cruel. There are many kinds of animals that are not tame. So, we should hope that this coming new year, and hope the Year of the Pig will not be cruel like the Year of the Dog. If this new year is not cruel, we can have peace. Peace will happened in a society that stays unified. We all stay in the same land called Thailand. Thailand has never been under the control of any other country.
We fight for democracy, but we don’t use democracy in the correct way. [For us] democracy has become what we like and want it to be. But for foreigners, they think it is about what is correct and what is incorrect. That means laws. Thai people respect what they like, so they judge everything in terms of what they like in this manner, so it’s correct. What they don’t like, they say, “it’s not correct.” This shows that we don’t know what democracy is.
Actually, democracy has existed for more than 2550 years. During the Buddha’s time, the Buddha used democracy for the livelihood of the monks. When one monk does something wrong, the Buddha asked that monks in a meeting of the Sangha, and allowed that monk to explain himself. Then, the Buddha let everyone in the meeting judge the wrong-doings of that monk. The Sangha, during the meeting, considered whether [the action was] correct or not. This is real democracy. Democracy doesn’t mean what you like, and what you don’t like. Our country is in chaos because we have been using democracy in such a way.
Today, we come together here to make merit for the soldiers, who devote all their strength, thoughts, and counsel to us. Everyone who is still alive here should make merit for the people who have died. We are still alive. So hurry up and make merit!