Two Buddhist monks, one older, one much younger, are sitting together in the lotus position. The Younger Monk is restless but cheery. The Older Monk’s eyes are almost closed; he is at peace. A long silence. When they do speak, the Older Monk only replies very slowly, and gently.
YOUNGER MONK: It was a banging night last night.
OLDER MONK: Is that right?
YOUNGER MONK: Yeah, I mean everyone was there. Venerable Tenzin Puntsok couldn’t make it in the end but Venerable Geshe Charlie was hammered.
The Older Monk smiles indulgently but returns to his meditation. Younger monk is silent and respectful. Then, suddenly, he produces a mobile from his wide sleeve and starts texting. Older Monk notices, but tries not to mind. Now and then Younger Monk snorts with laughter. He reads something and nudges the Older Monk with an elbow.
YOUNGER MONK: “Cadburys are bringing out an Oriental chocolate bar. Could be called a Chinese Wispa.”
OLDER MONK: Really?
YOUNGER MONK: No, no, someone just posted it on Facebook. It’s good though.
He laughs to himself and returns to the phone. With a long exhale, the Older Monk produces a tiny pair of cymbals and starts to chink them together to calm himself down. He hums very quietly under his breath. Younger Monk eventually puts his phone down and readjusts his sitting position. He looks outwards.
YOUNGER MONK: What’s he raking all that sand for? What does that all represent then?
OLDER MONK: It is a zen garden; the sand represents water or the sea. That man is achieving tranquillity in his creation of circular, fluid patterns — like trailing one’s hand through water as they pass through a river.
YOUNGER MONK: He looks like the bloke they get in at the Olympics to tidy up the end of the long-jumps.
OLDER MONK: (with a sigh) I suppose he does.
They sit together peacefully, gazing out for some time. In the distance, a gong is tolled and there is the sound of running water. After a little longer, the Older Monk sets down his cymbals and rummages in his robes. He produces a tube of Pringles and opens them up.
OLDER MONK: Would you like a Pringle?
YOUNGER MONK: magic, cheers.
He helps himself. They sit together for a time sharing Pringles and listening to the gentle sounds around them. We hear the singing of windchimes. The lights fade.