Buddhist Monk at Staples??

Note that I’m not at all religious, spiritual, or have a set belief defined. However, about 5 years ago, in the midst of going through another one of those drastic, self-evaluating, contemplating the meaning of life, & human existence phase, I turned to a Buddha book given by a friend in hopes to possibly find “enlightenment” or be “enlightened” by his story.

The book was a condensed version of Buddha’s biography and how he came to be.  As I read the book, I found myself blocking out all the chaos that was going through my mind, and became at peace for a brief moment.

The next morning, (6/05/05, to be exact), I went to Staples with my sister.  After my purchase, I was waiting for my sister at the entrance.  She spotted me and walked towards me.  Just then and there, I happened to look back at the entrance when I noticed a MONK walking in.  The monk was an elderly, darker skinned Asian man, with shaven head, special beaded necklace,  entirely dressed in a bright orange Buddhist robe all wrapped around himself, and he was barefoot.

I was incredibly puzzled, but curious to know what a monk needed at Staples, but I didn’t want to appear rude staring, so I quickly looked back at my sister who was only a few feet away asking me if I got what I needed.  The monk was walking in slow, small steps, passing by, in between my sis and I, then looked at me with a warm smile, and continue walking towards the back of Staples, then disappeared.

It wasn’t until we were home, when I mentioned to my sister,  “Hey did you see the monk in Staples that walked right by you?”  She was confused, “What?  Is that a movie?”   I explained about seeing the monk and not wanting to say anything earlier because I didn’t want seem to be rude staring.  She still gave me a blank stare in disbelief asking me “Are you sure?”  I started to freak out thinking that there was a possibility that I was the only one who saw him.. “Yeah,  he walked RIGHT by you in a BRIGHT orange robe..”

My sis, still clueless, still did not recall seeing the monk.  In disbelief, she asked “Heh, so do you think that was a sign??? You think you were blessed by Buddha??”  My Buddhist friends believed so, and believed that what I experienced was a special gift.  I was convinced that it could have been a sign, but wasn’t sure and still not sure what to believe.  For a moment, I thought, Was he real?  I didn’t believe I would ever have a “vision” and have never hallucinated before.  He was as real as a guy standing next to me that I could’ve asked to shake hands with.  But there isn’t a known temple near by, definitely not walkable distance, the population is about 2% Asian, (so chances of seeing an Asian is slim), and monks generally don’t pop up barefoot at an office supply store.    I really couldn’t comprehend a monk at Staples, (What would a monk need at Staples?), but I found the it rather amusing.  My parents got a good laugh from this story.

There is no way that I would have not noticed and still think it was nearly impossible for anyone to not see a barefoot monk in bright orange, walking right by me in Staples.  I’d like to believe that I was the only one in the entire Staples store who saw this monk, and that it was a special gift, and a sign of good things to come; something to look back at and smile when things get tough.  Either way, I certainly felt  “enlightened” by this mysterious monk.
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