This post is the latest in Kike Calvo´s series Dreams of the World, which profiles interesting people we meet during our travels.
“I was young the last time I was here. It was, perhaps, 45 years ago” Buddhist monk Tak Tak, 60, said gently as he contemplated the silent magnificence of early morning Ta Prohm temple in Angkor, Cambodia. “There were many more trees, larger plants wrapping around the ancient walls,” said Tak Tak as he gazed at the bas-reliefs and recalled the emotions of the first time he saw the temple as a samaner or novice monk (śrāmaṇera). While his monastery, Phras Ang Tep, is less than three miles away from Ta Prohm, this is only his second visit to the temple. “Monastic daily life is regimented and rules are to be respected. I go out but only on occasions,” said Tak Tak uncertain, and fairly unconcerned, about the next time he may be able to see again the striking Angkorian World Heritage site that has been standing close to his home for more than eight centuries. While a flock of two million annual tourists rush through the globe to see the ruins, scientists work hard at preserving the structure, and looters try their luck at getting a piece of the divine, Tak Tak knows that inevitably Ta Prohm will continue to change. “Everything is constant change. Everything is flowing. That’s the teaching of impermanence,” said Tak Tak. “My dream is to see more monks in Buddhism. I would like to become a chief in the Theravada Buddhist tradition to guide new generations, to teach them and inspire them to respect the rules of Buddha.”