Cell Phone Etiquette

I’ll be the first to admit that I probably can’t function for day without my iPhone.  Although I tried not to disturb others when I’m talking on the phone and plus I never like others listening to my conversation.  Cell phone etiquette test should be giving to everyone prior to issue the cell phone, just like driver license.  They should make it a law and I’ll vote for it:).

On Saturday I had a chance to join my parents at the local temple to merit ceremony for grandpa.  Most of temple goer for this temple are Cambodian-Lao and some Thai.  The monks are mostly from Thailand and maybe one local monk.  As everybody took their seats on the floor and proceed to pray.  Most of the folks are trying to repeat prayer after this elderly gentleman, then suddenly this loud cell phone ring tone interrupted the praying session.  Everybody was looking around to see where the sound came from.  Then finally I heard a voice answering the phone, ALO… blah blah he continue to carry on conversation for about 2 more minutes before hang up the phone.  Talking about being rude.. Plus I can’t believe this head monk actually answer his phone call, instead of turning it off.  I stop praying and pick up my camera begin to shoot the pictures.  I left my cell phone in the car to avoid this embarrassing moment and plus my ring tones are not for those elderly to hear.  Immediately I was thinking about blogging on this topic. hahhahahahha

carrying on conversation while all the folks trying to pray

My little princess enjoyed her time with grandparents at the temple.  She loves sticky rice and constantly asking for the rice from grandma.

priceless moment... spending time with grandma at temple

Tuk Bard “Giving Alms”….  This is my first time giving alms at this temple and everybody does it differently.  I feel little awkward to be standing at the same level as those monks.  I need to do this more often:-).

so much foods... those monks are eating well that day


25 thoughts on “Cell Phone Etiquette

  1. Victor

    Hey Seeharhed – is this part of celebrating the Chinese New Year? Sorry for my ignorance. Your little princess – she is so gorgeous.

    I am with you about mobile phone. It gives me the sh–. Sorry, I can’t help it. Esp in the plane before take off and about to land. This happens all the time with flights in Asia!

    Gong Xi Fa Chai!

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Victor – Yes, it is part of celebrating the Chinese New Year since my parents didn’t have time to prepare. So, my folks decided to go ahead and go to the temple.

      She definitely got it from her mom:-).

  2. Dallas

    I feel the same way too about the cellphone during the chanting and Dhamma talk. Monks and lay people does the same thing. I don’t expect them to respect me but at least have respect Buddha and to the event that is going on. It is why we go to the temple. Situation like this is one of the reason why I am discourage to go to the temple. If the monks and the people going to treat it as if we are sitting in a cafeteria then there is no reason to go there.

    Monks are leader/teacher/guide but they are human like us and still cling to some sort of attachment. I find it difficult to follow anyone that does not practice what they preach. It is like a blind leading the blind.

    (On a side note, I thought monks suppose to give up on worldly possession for luxury items and live a simple life. Isn’t that part of the monastic code or some vow they took before entering monkshood? It is ironic some monks possess cellphone, computer, camera, camcorder, TV, and radio.)

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Dallas – I feel the same way with you on all those things you said. Monks are suppose to set examples for the temple goers and should be able to manage without all the gadgets. This particular monk was busy taking pictures of people during the middle of praying session too.

      I’ve seen a monk from this temple drove F-150 Ford Truck around town before.

      1. Dallas

        seeharhed – when I visited my mom in Illinois last year, I took her and her Vietnamese friend to Lao temple. The Vietnamese lady is also a Buddhist. During the chanting some of the monks were looking out the window and around instead of focus on the chanting.

        The Vietnamese lady later asked why the monks were behaving that way. I couldn’t explain. All monks behaved that way at all the temple I’ve been too. So I thought that was normal. Apparently the monks at the Vietnamese temple doesn’t do that.

    2. Cambree

      I agree with Dallas, being a monk means giving up many things.

      But like Nye noted, there are many decent and wise monks our there as well.

      Btw, I would be disappointed to see a monk driving a F-150 Ford Truck around town. A bicycle would be OK – better for the environment. 🙂

      1. seeharhed Post author

        Cambree – I’m glad you stop by…

        Here is my take on the monkhood in America. Majority of the laotian monks in U.S. entered their monkhood late in their lives, exception of those whom migrated as monks from Laos. I questions most of those men and young adults whom shaved their heads and put on yellow wardrobe. Are they doing it to get away from everyday lives?? I’ve seen middle age guys got divorced or had families problems decided to be a monk. From what I see, some of those men are running away from their problems. Also young adults been in and out jail, what did their parents do?? Guess what?? They send them to be a monk at the temple. The problem is the temple never says NO to anyone and they should.

  3. Victor

    Are these US monks? They are probably westernised with material and worldly possessions behind the facade of orange robes.

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Victor – Most of the monks at this temple are imported from Thailand. One of the monk looks young(30’s) but probably had many years in monastery.

      I think most monks in U.S. owned a cell phone, personal computer/laptop, tv, and even some with bank accounts. So much distractions and temptations. This is one reason when I decided to enter monkhood, I went back to Laos. It was the toughest 8 long days for me to be in the temple. You’re allow a meal per day and that was something I had hard time adjusting to.

  4. Nye

    I don’t have to worry, I don’t get much phone call and if I do, I’d just turn it off instead of answering.

    Dallas, there are all kinds of monk in the US, some hind behind the yellow ropes, but we can’t categorize all as one. Some might not deserve our respect, but the reason that we still attending that Wat is because there’s still goodness that we see in the religion, and focus on that, don’t let the little material things distract you from your devotion.

    Seeharhed, it’s okay for the men to stand when give Alms, but not for women to stand at the same level as the monks, so consider yourself lucky. 🙂

    1. Dallas

      Nye – I am old enough to understand that. But I see how this will have a rolling effect on the young one.
      Monks doesn’t live an isolated life. They need us as much as we need them.

      If they want to attract more young people they should do something about it. People are attracted to good leadership. Give them good reason to follow whatever your are doing.

      Those temple not going to fix or clean itself. I see goodness in our religion but some of the monks are a different story.

      My view might be too conservative and share by only a few. If I don’t speak up it is almost like I approved of this sort of thing. I don’t want our religion to become this.

      1. seeharhed Post author

        Dallas – I think the monks in the U.S. needs us more than we them. I’m pretty sure most of the temples in the U.S. are paying monthly mortgages and majority source of incomes will be coming from different festivals. If people doesn’t show up and eventually temples will be force to closed its doors.

        What’s going to happen after our generation? Even I don’t attend the temple functions as a regular basis, I highly doubt that the younger generation even care about it. Sad to say that we might see our religion comes to extinct in the U.S. The only way to get all these younger generation interest and wants to learn about our religion is to have weekend Lao School. Which meant the parents will have to be involved and the monks willing to teach.

  5. Victor

    How about handing out cellphone to them next time? LOL! Sorry, can’t help being cheeky a bit.

    I think the Lao monks in LP monastery are more pure at heart and unravelled by material possession, unlike Thai monks. But time will tell if things will change.

    Nye is right – it is in the heart and being spiritual in yourself. It is hard not to have the comfort of life in modern days. We are only human, and so are the monks. Some are more human like us I suppose to desire for comfort. As you can see – I can never become a monk. Definitely can’t live with one meal a day! Need 5 meals for me! Mobile phone I can live without as I rarely receive or make call. So not sure why I carry everyday. A bit silly. 🙂

    1. seeharhed Post author

      Victor – Even those monks in Luangprabang monastery are getting high tech now. A lot of those younger monks carried cell phones and hangout regularly at the internet cafe. During the late afternoon you’ll find monks at almost every internet cafes in town. Most of them are there to play games or responding to emails with foreigners visitor whom they came in contact with.

  6. lady0fdarkness

    I don’t get how some people are on their cell phones all the time. Even when they’re driving! What the hell could they want to talk about when they’re going 70 MPH on a highway????

    1. seeharhed Post author

      ladyofdarkness – What’s crazy is… some even texting while driving down the roads. In state of CA, they made it a law few years ago that it is illegal to talk on phone without hand free devices. I still see so many people driving around with cell phones glue to their ears. Perhaps, the penalty is not that severe and doesn’t count as moving violation.

  7. Jeffrey

    I totally agree with you. Unfortunately, the etiquette for how and when/when not to use them hasn’t caught on as much. For example, as a teacher I award students points for good behavior if they don’t start talking on their phones in class.

    I ran into two Buddhist monks at Wattay Airport when I came back to Korea; they were from Laos, but now lived in California. I talked to them for awhile; they were very friendly and nice.


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