Monday, July 10, 2006

Buddhist Lent

Today is 10 July and I am in Laos. It is the first day of Buddhist Lent. This means that the monks are not allowed to leave their temples for 3 months, except to collect their daily alms of food from the people. I went with 2 pax this morning to see the ceremony, but we got there too early 7am, for the ceremony proper, and a monk said the praying and stuff they were doing would take 3 hours. So we came back at 9.30am, but it was all over. The people brought all this stuff for the monks, including beds and mattresses, sleeping mats, new clothes, food and even down to practical stuff like toilet paper. It looked like Christmas in the temple with all the gifts.

We had a long chat to a young monk, and he said that the lay people also gave up something for lent, like the Catholics, eg smoking or alcohol. They have a big meeting today, apparently about 300 monks, so might go check that out.


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