Koya-San Buddhist Monk Statues, originally uploaded by j0rune
The monk who assisted us during prayer stayed with us as a guide through the rest of the day. After we finished with the morning prayer service, he led us out of the chapel and to the abbey guesthouse. We ate a wholesome breakfast and got to know each other a bit.
If I remember correctly, the monk's name was Fr. Simeon Thole. He was warm and friendly, quick to smile, and open to conversation. He was also willing to debate and discuss difficult topics. In short, he was everything I expected a monk to be.
We were joined by one other man during prayer, which made us a group of five in total. I heard this is an average turnout for these events. After a discussion about Lent and a group session of lectio divina, we were set free for two hours of personal time until the midday prayer.