Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wat's Up

One of the interesting things to do in Thailand is to visit Wat Complexes (a Wat is a Buddhist relgious center).  It consists of a collection of buildings within an enclosure.  The Wat will often house monks, small shops, and often open areas where people can gather.  

The Wats that I visited showed the most complex and distinctly Thai architecture that I saw.  They were all very welcoming to visitors even when they were in use.  I witnessed people receiving blessings from monks and learning about Buddhism and participating in rituals.  I did not take pictures of these.  

At one Wat the monk enjoyed having foreign visitors.  I was with a guide that day so she helped me interact with the monk.  I wrote down my name and country of origin for his "list" (I'm not sure what he did with the list, I think he put it somewhere within the Wat complex) and he performed a blessing ceremony.

The ceremony was in Thai and all I know is that he dipped a brush into water and then splashed it on to me and ended up with him tying a beaded bracelet on my wrist (without touching me, monks do not touch women).  The guide explained that the blessing did not necessarily mean that something good would happen to me, it might mean that something bad would not be as severe as it could be without the blessing or that I would have strength to deal with an upcoming bad event.  

Each Wat complex had a few things in common.  A large gong that could either be struck or rubbed (if you rub it just right it "sings"), bells (large and small) and lots of images of the Buddha.

Images are from several different locations. 


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