• The 12 novices from different countries participating in the “True Little Monk: A Wisdom Training Programme for Novices” pose with monks of Wat Pah Sai Ngam, their parents and Suphachai Chearavanont, seated centre.
  • The youngsters have their hair and eyebrows shaved.
  • The ordination ceremony of one of the youngsters.
  • The kids say goodbye to their parents.
  • “I hope that being a novice will make me a better person,” says Shane Wafula.
  • “Being a novice monk enables me to learn new things,” says Trevor Thara Rowley.

Stepping into grace

lifestyle July 13, 2018 01:00


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Twelve youngsters from different countries are ordained as novices in TrueVision’s dharma reality show

“True Little Monk: A Wisdom Training Programme for Novices” – the world’s first international dharma reality documentary programme – has proved something of success, with ten of thousands of viewers around the world tuning in to their televisions and computers to watch as the youngsters study under the watchful eye of Abbot Master Phrakhru Nikrotthammaphon (Luang Ta Anek Yasadinno) at Wat Pah Sai Ngam in Ubon Ratchathani province.


“Our purpose is to expand Buddhism to an international level to bring the Lord Buddha’s dharma to the hearts of people across the world, as well as to set good examples and inspire the public to practice dharma principles,” says Suphachai Chearavanont, chief executive officer of Charoen Pokphand Group and chairman of True Corporation’s executive committee.


“This is the first time a dharma reality documentary programme has been conducted in English so that viewers worldwide can learn dharma along with the 12 novices from Nepal, Kenya, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, France and China. Although the novices come from different cultures, they have quickly learnt to adapt to their new environment and, most importantly, are determined to be ordained. They know how to ask questions and find answers by themselves, which is a very important learning curve nowadays.”


“Youths have unlimited potential. If they embrace Buddhism’s ethics and virtues, they will gain the highest level of knowledge and that is regarded as a most valuable treasure. All through the four weeks, the novice monks will study and practise the Lord Buddha’s teachings under the concept ‘Compassion & Kindness’. They will ‘learn’ dharma by setting questions, practising and understanding dharma, ‘live’ by focusing on the present and practicsng dharma principles with endurance, ‘love’ by realising the truth of living together in harmony and supporting each other, and finally ‘let go’ of ego and selfishness to reach the goal of being a ‘giver’ with compassion,” he continues.


“The programme aims to cultivate ethics and virtues in these 12 novices so that they benefit from this knowledge in their daily lives as well as spread the Lord Buddha’s teachings to viewers across the world.”

Eight-year-old Kenyan Shane “DJ” Wafula and Thai-New Zealander Trevor Thara Rowley, also eight, are thrilled to be at the temple. 


“I am glad to be ordained as a novice monk. I hope that being a novice will make me a better person. I have practised and prepared myself for this mission in many ways such as waking up early, mediating and eating less. Joining this dharma programme, I have made new friends from various countries. This is a good experience. I have learned and practised dharma by meditating and chanting. All the reverend monks have provided me with fruitful knowledge that I will share with my friends when I go home,” says novice DJ.


“This is my first time to be ordained as a novice monk. I want to be a novice because my brother was also ordained. I want to know what it’s like being a monk. I don’t really understand Buddhism, so I want to learn more about this religion. I was quite worried about eating, sleeping and shaving my hair so I practised eating less, sleeping on the floor and prepared my mind for having no hair. I miss my family but at the same time I am glad and excited to learn new things such as how to wear a monk’s robe. Being a novice monk enables me to learn new things,” adds novice Trevor.

“True Little Monk: A Wisdom Training Programme for Novices” screens around the clock on TrueVisions Reality TV channels 60 and 99 as well as TrueVisions Reality TV HD channels 119 and 333. It can also be watched via the TrueID app, and at Facebook and YouTube. The series ends on July 25.