Author Topic: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery  (Read 5963 times)


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Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« on: February 21, 2013, 07:47:21 AM »
What do you think of this story? A mother believes her child is better off in a Buddhist monastery but the child does not want to be there. I think that perhaps nobody explained to the child why he should be there - i don't even know if the mother really knows the significance of sending her son to the monastery. While i think it is of course a wonderful thing for any child to be at the monastery, any child who is unfamiliar with Buddhism, its benefits and monastic culture would of course take time to assimilate or may never do so. It must be difficult for the parents too, to leave their son there. They must be so desperate. I hope the parents also understand that being at the monastery does not guarantee a cure for cancer. However, it will be a blessings for the child's mind stream even if he does not recover. And if he does live and continues to be a monk, he will definitely get an amazing amount of benefit for this and future lives.

Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
Child sent to Thailand by parents to recover from cancer; authorities call in parents
By ADIV STERMAN February 20, 2013, 8:11 pm

An Israeli child suffering from cancer was sent away from the country by his parents and is currently living without his family in a Thailand monastery, Channel 2 News reported Wednesday.

According to the report, Israeli tourists visiting the country saw a young boy dressed in Buddhist monk attire and were surprised to hear him speak Hebrew. After approaching him, the tourists learned that the child suffered from a type of blood cancer and that his parents had sent him to the monastery because they believed the stay there would help cure his illness.

“He began to speak to us in Hebrew,” said Yossi Ben Saadoun, one of the tourists who met the boy. “When we asked him if he got used to solo life in the monastery he said ‘not really.’”

Authorities were speaking to the boy’s parents over the affair, Channel 2 reported Wednesday evening.

The child’s mother, who was interviewed by Channel 2 news, defended her decision to send the child abroad on his own. “Someone who has not seen children in the oncology ward for four years and has never seen children deformed by treatments should not be judging,” she said.

The mother also said she was aware that her son wanted to go home, but that he also realized that he liked it there.

In another interview with Army Radio Wednesday, the mother again responded to criticism of her decision.

“The only ones who can understand me are bereaved parents. This is a traumatic experience, I do not wish it upon anybody,” she said. “In the hospital he said he wanted to go home too. As long as they tell him there [at the monastery] that he should stay, he’ll stay. I’ve met people there who have been cured.”

On the other hand, Ben-Saadoun claimed that “at least twice, the boy told me that ‘everyone here knows I want to go home.’”

Ben-Saadoun added that the child seemed to be extremely unhappy.

“It’s difficult for me to see a Jewish boy in a monastery in Thailand who immediately upon seeing us gave us his mother’s phone number,” said Ben-Saadoun.

“Every day, he is not allowed to eat there until noon,” Ben-Saadoun said. “My goal is to make every effort to return him to Israel. I do not believe that the child will recover through the Buddha and statues.”
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2013, 06:23:19 PM »
Very interesting. I believe this news shows how much parents would do for their children in order for the child to get well. In this samsaric world, you would find that very few parents would put their children in monasteries, merely because of their lack of knowledge that putting their children in the monasteries is the best thing they can ever do for their children.

I remember once, I listened to an audio teaching by Ajahn Brahm. He told a story of a Theravada monk in Thailand, in a monastery which he used to be in. Ajahn mentioned that this monk is a very holy person, but the monk was also very mischievous as a child. The monk, said that he was sent to the monastery when he was young and he didn't want to be there. So what the monk would do is run away from the monastery... but everytime, his mother would manage to find him and take him back to the monastery after correcting him. It appears that this mother was a very wise woman and she only wish for her son's happiness. Eventually, the monk became very well learned and now he tells the story of how he would not have been a monk if his mother never sent him to the monastery everytime he ran away.

Big Uncle

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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2013, 02:29:11 AM »
Poor boy. I think that the mother acted out of superstitious beliefs thinking being a monk and engaging in 24 hours meditation would heal his boy's condition. It probably would not as the boy didn't understand nor want to be a part of this.

The positive effects of engaging in such practices would be minimal at best and the worst part is that the boy would be scarred for life and he would not only associate the monastery, Buddha and the teachings with the feelings of loneliness and alienation he felt at the monastery. It was bad but I can understand why the mother acted in this way considering the anxiety and stress that she must have been undergoing. The experience would have planted some good spiritual seeds in him but if he recovers, I do hope he does not develop wrong views of Buddhism because of this experience.


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2013, 06:03:08 AM »
This is a sad story. The poor boy misses his home and i'm sure he doesnt comprehend the whole idea why he is forced to stay in a monastery where the lifestyle and culture is so different. His poor mother has sent him there, out of desperation to save her son from his illness, but perhaps on a deeper level, she may know that the son may not be cured this lifetime, but at least the seeds of Buddhism have been planted for his future lives. The mother, herself may have seeds implanted into her from previous lifetimes. Somehow, it all seems very karmic.
The Jewish faith and Buddhism are quite similar, and i have heard of Jews who had embraced Buddhism in their quest for spirituality, and found peace and happiness.

hope rainbow

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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2013, 12:35:35 PM »
If this is so difficult for the child, why not encouraging the child to engage in the Jewish faithful activities?
What is the difference really?
In a Jewish environment he may be more at ease and would also greatly benefit.
This is what I think.

I heard this story from a Jewish friend of mine who had a friend that suffers from cancer and who was terribly depressed and anxious about it. So my friend brought him to see a Rabby to ask for advise.
This is what the Rabby said:

"Every morning when you get up, do your prayers and thank God himself for having brough this cancer upon you, develop deep and sincere gratefulness, and investigate what it is that this cancer has thought you and that has brought wisdom in your life, think about it deeply.
Then do it again in the evening before going to bed."

This is what I call spiritual treatment for cancer!


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2013, 05:40:17 PM »
I agreed with what you have said WisdomBeing.

It is definitely out of desperation, love and compassion for their son that he was sent to the monastery.  No one could understand better the emotional pains experienced by the mother to see her son being subject to cancer treatments for four years!  How had the parents of the boy concluded that having the son at the monastery is the best option available?  Perhaps they had already explored all possible options available.  The parents had seen people being cured by being in the monastery.  Are the parents being skillful in sending their son to the monastery?  Are the parents expecting miracles to happen?  Their son may not recover from cancer by just being at the monastery!  Being in the presence of the sangha community and the monastery is truly a blessing for the boy.  However, if the boy does not understand the significance of being in the monastery, it will not really help him to recover. 

The tourist Yossi Ben Saadoun had shown concern about the unhappiness of the boy.  Is he doing the right thing to interfere with the wellbeing of the boy? He doesn’t understand Buddhism and the monastic life.  Does he know the medical condition affecting the boy and the difficult periods that the parents had gone through to look after him?

Had the medical doctors and the monastery administrator spoken to the boy and observed his progress at the monastery?  Is the boy able to make decisions on his own?  These are some of the questions that we would like to find the answers to.


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #6 on: February 24, 2013, 07:58:54 AM »
I suppose the mother has ran out of ways to help to cure the kid maybe she has financial difficulty or out of superstition.  But the boy is so young and I suppose nobody educate him about why is he there.  Hence, he always had a question in his head, that is "when am I going home?".  I just hope that the mother is acting out of pure motivation and not an act of abandoning the child.


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2013, 08:41:11 AM »
The mum is just desperate for her son to recover and of course with some superstitions as well. And because the boy is still young, sick and confused, definitely he wants to go home. Who wouldnt want to? The good thing is that the boy have the merits to be able to be a monk.

As a mother myself, I would understand why she does that as she too is confused and hoping for the best for her child. Her motivation for her child to be cured and then return home.

Lets pray for them to have their obstacles cleared and the boy in good health.


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 09:51:56 AM »
Poor boy, i am happy that this boy had been planted a Buddha seed into his mind by staying in the monastery. Let's hope that sooner he will be happy and understand the teachings of the Dharma. Of course he wants to go home, i would wanted go home as well if i am in his situation. I think the mother is doing this with a kind and unconditional love for her son, i would say her sadness will be hundreds of time as to her child by living him all alone.

But i really hope that the mother could understand the law of the karma and not based on stories and superstitious that by leaving her son in the monastery will be able to cure his sickness. I wish both of them well.


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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2013, 10:56:31 AM »
I agree with Hope Rainbow. What the Rabbi said is very Buddhist. It is about acceptance of one's condition and not blaming others. Other religions also have similar teachings. Although he would probably also receive spiritual guidance from the Buddhist teachers in Thailand, but it looks like he is not happy there. I think the boy can get the spiritual support he needs from his Rabbi. He would also feel more comfortable in his community, with his family and friends than with strangers whose language he doesn't speak and who probably can't communicate with him.

I hope his mother will change her mind about letting him stay in the monastery. He was not brought up in the Buddhist tradition and would feel out of place. I hope he gets to go home.

Jessie Fong

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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2013, 12:28:39 PM »
Many monks spent their childhood growing up in temples and that is about the only "home" they know.  However, forcing the little boy to become a monk of a different tradition and sending him to a foreign country in the hope that it would cure his cancer, is a selfish act of the mother.

Yes it is true what she said about those of us who have not experienced what she went through in the oncology ward - no one wants to be judge and jury to that.

Is there a consensus in the Thai monastery to accept one and all who seek to be a monk?  Did they really understand why that boy was sent there?

DS Star

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Re: Israeli boy on his own in Buddhist monastery
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 04:07:42 PM »
The Jewish boy obviously feels displaced due to different cultures and life style. It is very sad that the boy have to stay there alone but it even more sad for the mother and father to have to stay apart from their child. The child could not understand it is his parents' love for him that had led to this decision. The parents believed by staying there, the boy has the chance to live instead of succumb to his cancer.

The simple life style of a monastery perhaps is healthier option for the boy who could have been expose to negative magnetic field of electronic items like computer, TV, etc.

Nevertheless, the parents need to explain to boy why he is left there in the monastery.