The Choice of Nothing

Noel Rowe


I cannot say when I was chosen by the word, 'nothing', but I felt it first in Phuket, southern Thailand. It was in the New Year of 1990 and I was visiting the abbot of a Buddhist monastery called Wat Mongkolnimit. I had been taken there by my friend, Stephen Fahey, a disciple of the abbot's. According to Stephen, the abbot was an extraordinary person: wise, compassionate, detached, unpretentious and humorous. I can remember going up the stairs to the monk's room clutching my spiritual insights, hoping that I would not say anything too banal and that I might receive at least one little nod of approval. And the abbot gave us tea and never spoke tome.

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