Whilst visiting temples in Nepal and learning about the centuries old buildings and their history, something amazing happened to me at the SwayambhunathTemple in Kathmandu. I was watching monkeys climb around whilst the monks were meditating and visitors were taking pictures. Then I spotted a monkey that unlike the rest of the troop just kept gazing around, barely moving at all. Looking more carefully, I realised that the monkeys’ hands had been chopped off.
It broke my heart thinking about how the monkey felt whilst its companions swung through branches, picking up the fruit and food that lay around.
When I asked about the monkey I was told that it had got into a fight with another monkey and had either had its hands torn off or caught an infection which led to it biting its hands off. There was something very admirable about this monkey; despite the fact that it was handicapped, it had not given up on life. I watched as, sitting at one corner of a statue of the Buddha, it tried to grab food from a tray with its feet and failed, then tried again and failed again.
Then I saw a woman, who seemed to have come to worship in the temple, walk past the monkey carrying a tray full of fruit and sweets. She saw the monkey looking at the food and realised that it was hungry and unable to eat. She stopped, picked an orange from the tray and offered a slice to the monkey.
At first the monkey hesitated and took a step back but the woman continued to hold out the piece of orange to the monkey and soon the little creature, overcome with hunger, in a leap of faith stepped forward and took the food. It was a beautiful feeling watching the monkey enjoy the orange as it took each slice from the woman’s hand, The woman smiled at me and said, “Sometimes the language of a pure intention to help speaks louder than words.”