During my trip in South East Asia last November, I took quite a bit of interest in Buddhism, and this was only a continuation of a curiosity that was sparked during my visit to Kathmandu followed by Bali. Specially when seeing the very young monks, you're going to wonder: "what's going on?" More on that later.
When I was in Vietnam, my guide was showing me around and told me that Buddhism teaches 6 things which I really liked, they're simple, and could apply to anyone really, no matter the religion, or lack of it:
- Keep giving and sharing
- Keep a clean body
- Keep patient
- Keep learning
- Keep moving
- Show respect to the elderly
|Luang Prabang - Laos|
|Laughing Buddha - Vietnam|
It was due to his large protruding stomach and smile that he came to be known as the Laughing Buddha. His image graces many temples, restaurants and homes in China and Japan. Legend has it that if one rubs the Laughing Buddha's great belly, it brings wealth, good luck and prosperity. (source
Buddhist monks in Laos
You will see a lot of young
monks (age 8-9 and young teenagers), but actually they're not monks,
they're referred to as novices. Usually a young man becomes a monk
around age 20. Reason why there are a lot of really young novices is for
education purposes. Many come from remote and rather poor villages, and
it's their one chance to get a good education. They don't all proceed
to become monks on the long run.
Moreover, you can also
observe a nice Meditation ceremony that they perform every sunrise
which is known as Alms giving, unfortunately it has become a bit of a
tourist attraction where it attracts locals selling bad fruits to people
so they offer them back to monks who can't really eat them, in addition
to that you're not really supposed to get close to them and take
pictures as this is not a performance, it's their way to meditate. If
you want a chance to get close to monks / novices, a lot of them need to
practice their English and they sometimes dedicate hours to sit with
foreigners to practice English with them. So maybe try that!
|Offering - Pak Ou Caves near the Mekong River in Laos|
If you would like to read more about my South East Asia trip, you can find Laos blogposts here
, and Vietnam blogpost here.
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