26 July 2008
Fine Dining for Monks
I had dinner at Li Bai earlier this evening. At the next table, my sister observed two monks, one in saffron and one in grey eating with some people. We observed that the one of the monks was wearing rimless glasses while another had a stylish frame. The monk in saffron also had a sliding mobile phone with a metallic casing and he was flipping through a mooncake brochure. The Li Bai chocolate truffle mooncakes! The monk in grey was also wearing a large watch with leather straps and after his dinner, he swaggered out. I had thought that these people had sworn off lives of earthly pleasures and when I saw them at the 2007 Restaurant of the Year, I was somewhat astounded. Yes, they could claim that this dinner was a treat given by their devotees and friends but had they not vowed to live a life which foresworn luxuries? And they had all the trappings of modern life, late model mobile phone, stylish glasses and what else? I really don't know, perhaps someone can enlighten me. Is this right for monks?