Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Giving Alms to the Monks

Yesterday morning we got up well before daylight to participate in giving food to the Buddhist monks. There are 600 in this town and they make this walk every morning to beg for food for the day. Here in this heavily Buddhist country, it is considered that a person adds merit to their human value by helping others. And it was surprising how moving it was to participate in this ceremony. First we each got a small woven basket of sticky rice. We held it to our foreheads and made a blessing. And soon the long, winding line of monks began coming past us. Some were as young as 7 years old. Nearly every boy in Laos spends time as a monk, in order to be considered a full person, but many do not continue beyond a few weeks or months or years. To become a fully fledged monk, they must be at least 18 and have completed many years in service.

As they passed, we put a small morsel of rice into each of their bowls, until our supply ran out. We could see that in addition to the rice, others had put in candy, cookies, and fruit.

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Location:Luang Prabang, Laos

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