Alms for the Monks




Our guide, Peo, was an novice monk during his youth. He explained that families enrolled their sons for the education that accompanied the training. Many young boys from poor rural families stay in the training longer or permanently. Peo left after graduation from what we would call Middle  School. He asked if any of us would like to rise early and observe the monk’s daily ritual of seeking donations from the people. Peo explained that the mostly novice monks rise very early in the morning and seek food offerings from their worshipers. Monks only eat once each day and these donations are their daily sustenance. The monks come out from their residences at the temples, usually in groups of five or so…and they usually finish and return by about 0800.

While Peo explained that his family lives near a temple and rises each morning to offer food in front of their residence, he took us to the front of a town Wat. I was able to purchase a full meal on a tray: rice, water, two or three packaged vegetables, and juice. The monks carry metal pots and the offerings are dropped, one-by-one, into the pot without touching it. The monk thanks you with a blessing, wishing enlightenment.


I was deeply impressed and moved by the ritual… I loved the way society supports the monks, as well as the tradition of this morning ritual. It was an honor to observe and be able to give…

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