Pascal Schroth1

Pascal Schroth, the 2016 King’s Cup winner has just ordained as a monk in what he described as a life changing moment. Also know as ‘the German’ due to his country of origin Pascal has had the most challenging year of his life to date following an injury due to an illegal throw in China where his neck was broken. The doctor’s said he was lucky to be alive with the injury preventing him from training for a number of months, a challenge he found very difficult.

Pascal Schroth 6

Pascal who is no stranger to a challenge didn’t let the injury get the better of him and powered through both physically and mentally and has recently been told by doctors that he can now enter the ring.  He stated that “My life has been a big up and off of feelings over the past few months. Since I broke my neck in the last year, I didn’t know how I happened. I didn’t only suffer physical damage, it took me mentally. Even though I tried not to let anything notice, there were times when I felt useless and I had no task in life without my sport.
The result – loss of identity – so I decided to see life from a different perspective. I chose the wisdom of Buddhism. It took me a break to find myself again. So I became a monk and spent a week in the temple together with the other monks in thung, a small village in the North East of Thailand, the origin of their family. An experience that I will never forget in life”.
Pascal Schroth
The ordination of a monk follows a strict ceremony bound by tradition with the initial phase being to shave the hair of the the monk-to-be or nak. The first cut of the hair has to be done by parents, senior relatives or a revered monk before a barber shaves the remaining hair, eyebrows and any facial hair. The nak is then bathed and cleansed before being dressed in white and  participating in a procession at the temple.

On arrival of the temple the nak must circle the ordination hall clockwise three times whilst the family walk in procession. Each family member must carry a requisite of the monk-to-be and are led into the ordination hall to witness an assembly of monks examine the suitability of the candidate hoping to be accepted by the Sangha.

Pascal Schroth3

Most Thais from 20 upwards are expected to to ordain as a monk for a period of time at some point within their life as the belief is that it is a way to gain merit not just for the monk-to-be but also for his parents.  Ordination is also practised as a way to show gratitude to them as is evidenced by an idiom (ko chai pha lueang khuen sawan) meaning “clinging to the edge of the yellow robe to heaven”.

Pascal Schroth4

Pascal stated that I’m back now, but it takes a few days to realize and process all the impressions and events. Piece by piece, I will share my experience, as a white monk in Thailand with you. I am incredibly grateful for this experience and have learned a lot about it and I am ready to apply it for my further life.