Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Monks of SE Asia

Can I just tell you all a few little things we are so thankful for...

1) world travel and the means to do so
2) life experiences such as these
3) cultures (the million of them)
4) traveling partners who were always up for adventures (Ty & Meg for me)
5) the memories, knowledge, and the sensitivity to the cultures thereafter

Ok, I could seriously keep going on and on about traveling, but I'll stop. I just can't be more thankful for everything that comes along with it. After we took our trip to SE Asia, I pulled our photos together to post a travel Tuesday or Thursday travels each week. I was going back through all the blog post drafts (those which I've prepped but not posted) and this was one of them:

The Monks of SE Asia.

I had an obsession with monks...their life, their religion, their devotion. I was partly obsessed with them. Ok fine, I was obsessed with them. I may not have gotten "that perfect photo" I was hoping for, but I sure got plenty. I felt like the monk paparazzi. How annoying I must have been, right?

Skim through the photos to see the SE Asian monks. I highly suggest looking
up more information on them and taking it as an educational experience on this Tuesday!

The Monks of Cambodia

the "traditional" morning alms is much different in Laos due to the Khmer Rouge many years ago.
Unlike the other countries where all the monks file in a line down the street in the early morning (you'll see a photo below), they tend to do it here and there and usually with themselves or with another monk.

Monks are not allowed to drive. They get rides from anybody willing.

Their garments can be all sorts of colors. I read that the color doesn't signify anything anymore and instead, it has more to do with what was donated at each given time.

alms in action down a side street in Cambodia

Monks don't necessarily like to be photographed (as you can see, I have a lot of photos of them behind their back or off to the side). However, every so often you'll run into some younger monks who are all for it. Plus if you catch a chatty one, he will tell you his life story....

each man comes to be a monk at all sorts of times in their lives. Some come and spend up to 5 days after a family member has died to show respect. Some come at a young age because they are either orphaned or the family cannot provide them with anything, so they send them to the city or a rural area to become a monk. And some make that choice on their own.

These kiddos lived out in a rural area and again, many of them were orphaned or were sent in by their families.

The Monks of Laos

typical morning alms

Morning alms was super early each day...and each day we almost missed it. It was a close call, but we made it in order to watch the process. As you can see, each monk carries a beautiful gold bucket or basin of some sort, hung around their necks with the orange fabric. Women must be on their knees to offer while the men can stand. Typically, food and money are given to the monks each morning.

The streets are very quiet during this time, even with all the foot traffic and people that early in the morning.

Every so often, you might catch them doing their chores between their studies, alms, and their normal routine in the temples.

you might even catch them not being so serious...

And who knows, maybe you'll catch one as we did hanging around in a hammock in a super rural area!

Unfortunately I can't seem to find the monks of Thailand, so these will do. Plus, it's probably an
overload of monks in their typical garments in nearly all the same types of photos.
I clearly couldn't contain myself and the photos. Obsessed, intrigued, call it whatever you want.

Hope you enjoyed a little piece of Tuesday Travels from our SE Asia backpacking trip.
Go find some time to do a little research on the monks. It will be worth your time.
Any knowledge is worth your time.