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Laos - Luang Prabang

LAOS | Thursday, 11 December 2008 | Views [618]

Beautiful temple on the mountain in LP

Beautiful temple on the mountain in LP

Spent 3 days here with the group and 2 days extra by myself. This is monk city and I saw lots of monks and witnessed Tak Bat which is the alms giving to the monks. This takes place very early in the morning (6:00) and hundreds of monks come out from all the local temples. They walk in straight lines on streets. The streets are lined with local women and tourists who sit or kneeling on the pavement (women have to be below the monks head). As the monks pass, they offer sticky rice, bananas, milk, sweets or even money to the monks. People shouldn't cross in front of the monks when they are passing. Most of the monks have a sombre expression and they don't laugh or smile. They are probably just annoyed by the number of tourists flashing cameras into their faces.

I was witnessing the alms giving when a local woman said something to an elderly monk who burst out laughing. That was beautiful.

Also visited waterfalls, bear sanctuary. Hired a bike to get around the small town. 

After all that, I have to express and opnion and say that I am not very convinced or impressed with the way the buddhist religion is followed and practised here. I have to say that true Jainism is far superior in many ways. 

Alll males have to live in the temple for a period of time from 3 years to lifetime if they wish. They live moderately liberally and they have mobiles, visit internet cafes etc. However, some of them rebel or freak out completely when they leave the temple. The monks smoke and drinking and meat eating is normal behaviour. There seem to be very few 'true' buddhist monks who follow the religion in a pure way. There is a lot of 'Buddha' worship rather than following or practising the spiritual message of Buddha. The people here literally eat anything that moves (bats, mice, rats, insects, ants eggs, frogs, birds) and this is apparantly because nowhere does it say that they (buddhists) can't eat meat. 

I think I'll stick to being a Jain and a vegetarian!. Just need more practice.

Tags: laos, luang prabang

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