Monday, March 3, 2008

Surreal Chiang Mai

For several days now, I have witnessed a fascinating sight in the early mornings of Chiang Mai. At about 6AM up to 7, I would sit by the roadside bench and watch as, gradually, buddhist monks, walking barefoot, dressed in their saffron robes and carrying their silver bowls and a lotus flower, do their rounds - collecting alms ("donations") from the locals then blessing them in return. It is such a surreal sight to behold. They wouldnt even have to ask. The locals who need their blessings will just hand them their stuff: gifts, fruits, cooked rice, etc. Though this happens in Bangkok too, the practice goes practically unnoticed in the big city.

At an interactive program in one of the wats called monk chat, I was informed the collected gifts would be taken back to the temples. Though the monks may consume a portion of these gifts, a huge chunk of the bounty has to be shared to the whole congregation. I guess this isn't such a farfetched practice in comparison to the Catholic church's practice. The difference is that ours can't be bothered making the rounds in his community. ;->

This is the Eye in the Sky.

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