A Beautiful Experience

Posted on: Tue, 08/15/2006 - 17:33 By: dae

Today I got a chance of being in the lecture of Nobel laureate in Economics 2005, Prof. Dr. Robert J. Aumann. The topic is War and Peace in which he study the conflict in the spirit of Game Theory, a very common theory in Economics. I don't understand most of the talk but essentially, he extends the game theory to cover multiple round of decision. In that situation, equilibrium is not the likely outcome but the cooperative choice is more propable, since equilibrium in single round might lead to unfairness perceivable by some party and could result in a choice that punish all players. In that case, the cooperative outcome is more plausible, even though it is not equilibrium.

However, what makes me write this entry is not the talk but the Q&A session after the talk. Prof. Aumann is a mathematician working in real world where clear definition is hardly exists. Obviously, he faced a lots of real world questions such as Religion, Vengence, Lebanon Conflict, etc. One of his answer is "Religion is a beautiful experience", which I partly disagree.

I had been ordained in Buddhism and I can tell you that being in a monkhood is not a beautiful experience. The practice of monkhood is, to some extent, is a good experience, for example, mediatation. But the real spirit of being a monkhood, being one who study and follow the code of Buddha is largely lost its sanctity, especially in the city temple. I had been in the temple for only a week but it did not give me any impression on being a monk. Only a few monks give me the faith of being a monk. Some were still attached to the world of material, some collected clocks, some still watched after-news dramas, etc. I always wondered why I were there. When my family came and invited me back to my family home, doing some ritual and they bowed me with respect, I felt so terrible because, I, being there, is nothing but a man who is but a man claimed to be a monk.

A beautiful experience of our religion lies in the study of the canon and the teaching of the buddha, not in the practice of monkhood. You might try ordain in the rural temple, the so called วัดป่า and you might face the different experience.