May All Beings Be Happy

We woke early this morning to give alms to the monks, some novices as young as seven years old. Relying solely of the kindness of others for their meals, they must walk barefoot until someone gives them food. There are thousands of monks, as there are over 4000 Wat (temples) in Chiang Mai province alone. The city monks usually get fed, but the forest monks have a hard time (the locals have little to give). They cannot cook their own food and only eat twice a day, a sunrise and before noon. Women may give them food, but cannot touch their bowls. They eat as much as they need and then give the rest to others.

They shave their heads every full moon (tonight). The Thai monks also shave their eyebrows. Their different color robes signify if they are city monks or forest monks. The monks from the north are allowed to wear socks and shawls to keep warm.

Later we went to Wat Suan Dok to hear a well respected monk Phra Saneh Dhammavaro speak to us about the tenents of Buddhism. I have to say it was fascinating. He talked about walking the middle path, balancing body and mind. And also training ourselves through effort, mindfulness, and livelihood to quiet our monkey minds. We all need that.

1 comment:

Mitch said...

This message is for Ali Dean.
Hi Mom,
Please call Som. The family is planning dinner for you tonight(11.12.08 Thailand time)!

Shawnee says woofwoof rrrrrrrrrrrr.