End of the 3 months Budhist Lent

Gathering at temple in Thailand

Today was end of the Vassa retreat or "Rain Retreat," sometimes called the Buddhist Lent, which is a three-month period of intensive meditation and practice. To celebrate this (and to make merit) my wife did wake-up this morning at 5 in the morning to make food for the monks. And I was asked to go with her. So about 6:30 we went to our local temple, where already a lot of people had gathered.

In front of the main hall of the temple is a table with 14 food-bowls for 14 monks where people put rice in. Of course it has to be done in a kind of special ritual. My wife takes her dish with rice and I walk besides her and hold her arm and she then puts a bit of rice in each bowl. Then we enter the main hall where people sit on the floor with the food the brought with them. Then 3 big tables on wheels are brought in and people will bring their food there and put in the dishes of the temple. After that all return to their place on the floor.

Then all the 14 monks come in and are seated on a higher part of the floor and the pray and chant for the merit of the people who came to give food. Then the abbot starts to speak about the good things to do in life and sometime even about some very simple real things & problems in life. Then the 14 monks are given their food what they will eat while sitting there in the main hall of the temple.

As of course about 200 or maybe 300 people have brought food there is much to much food so when the monks are done with eating the rest of the food is given away again. Then the so polite Thai people change into hungry Chinese and make a run for the nice food. My wife and I leave when the first people are starting to take food and about 9 o’clock we are back home again. It is a nice gathering of the people of the neighbourhood, young and old together. Some ladies dressed up like it is a fashion show. Actually it are mostly ladies in the temple. And two weird westerners with their wife.

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