Making More Merit

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Prat-jow! (Thai/Buddhist equivalent of Oh My God!) It’s hot!

Not long after my last blog post I had the opportunity to attend another ceremony in Baan Nong Do, my wife’s home town. I asked what the purpose of the ceremony was, and from what I was able to gather the ceremony takes place in temples across Thailand. Notice that I still don’t know what the ceremony is about, except that it raises funds for the maintenance of the three temples in town and is an excuse for the villagers to get together, eat, drink and have a good time together.

If you are getting the impression that village life in Thailand revolves around the temples you would be right.  Mai’s Mother is up at the crack of dawn every day to make food as do many other villagers, to give to the monks who rely on the villagers for their daily sustenance.  The monks are very well fed and make the excess food available to poor and elderly villagers who can’t provide for themselves.  Among other activities, Mai joins a few dozen folks a few times a year to stay at the temple overnight to meditate and generally “recharge” their spiritual batteries.

This latest ceremony began in a forest outside of town.  In fact, it was a rubber plantation, which made for a beautiful setting.  Monks from the three local temples were there to pray and provide blessings to those in attendance.

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The village monks

The hundred or so people in attendance were shuttled to the site in pickup trucks. I arrived in a truck with Mai’s Mother and several of her sisters and other relatives. We had to walk the last hundred or so metres to the site on a dirt road with deep ruts. I’m not that steady on my feet and a few steps into the walk my Mother-in-Law called out a few words and within seconds I was surrounded by Aunties, one of whom took my arm to keep me steady as we walked.  I looked back and Yai gave me a smile.  I was grateful for the help!

The ceremony was brief, some prayers and blessings and a few people collecting donations.

Following the ceremonies everyone walked back to the main temple in town, about 2 kilometers.  It looked like a lot of fun, but I caught a ride with Mai so I could be there to take photographs when everyone arrived.  Everybody was in a cheerful mood despite the heat.  People were handing out drinks and there was plenty of music and dancing.

DSCF1443_DxO-1024Blessing by the monks before entering the temple grounds

Below are some photos of the parade back to the temple.  I feel strange not having more to tell you about this.  It was fun, and an interesting look into village life and I’m relying heavily on the picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words rule.  In this way I have saved myself a lot of writing and you get to see some interesting photos!

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buengkenalexander

I retired after a 30-year career with an engineering consulting firm in Toronto and recently moved to Thailand to marry my fiancee of 10 years and settle down to an exciting new life. I'm an amateur radio operator (VE3HLS in Canada) and hope to become on here eventually. I'm also an amateur photographer and hope to be very busy photographing and showing you my beautiful surroundings. My blog will contain entries on all three subjects, so I hope you don't mind picking through the boring stuff to get to what interests you. Oh. About bueng-ken.com. We live in Bueng Kan province, which is about as far as you can get from Bangkok as you travel northeast. I just thought it would be clever to combine my name with the province's name!

4 thoughts on “Making More Merit”

  1. As usual, excellent images Ken, and very interesting and informative descriptions of life around your new home. Fascinating! I must ask though… in photos # 4 and 11 the is ( no disrespect intended) what I could best describe as a Thai version of Colonel Saunders, is he part of the ceremony, disguised as aged?

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