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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Along the Mekong, Buddhism, Tudong and Isaan Thailand

I spent the night in Mukdahan leaving early on the morning of the 8th (full moon)along the Mekong toward Khong Chiam in Ubon. This area is the part of the river in Thailand with the most beaches, haads, and rapids, kaeng, rock formations in the river. "Sam Phan Boke" is one of the best known Also along this stretch are plenty of caves where over the years Tudong (dhutanga) monks traveled and sought solitude. Dhutanga means of shaking off the defilements; means of purification, ascetic or austere practices.                           
Just the other day I took this picture of tudong monks near Phu Wiang in Isaan, carrying their grot and bhat (umrella that serves as a bit of a tent and alms bowl).
These are tthe strict observances recommended by the Buddha to monks to help to cultivate contentedness, renunciation, and energy.
The 13 dhutangas, consisting in the vows of
  • 1. wearing patched-up robes: pamsukūlik'anga,
  • 2. wearing only three robes: tecīvarik'anga,
  • 3. going for alms: pindapātik'anga,
  • 4. not omitting any house whilst going for alms: sapadānikanga,
  • 5. eating at one sitting: ekāsanik'anga,
  • 6. eating only from the alms-bowl: pattapindik'anga,
  • 7. refusing all further food: khalu-pacchā-bhattik'anga,
  • 8. living in the forest: āraññik'anga,
  • 9. living under a tree: rukkha-mūlik'anga,
  • 10. living in the open air: abbhokāsik'anga,
  • 11. living in a cemetery: susānik'anga,
  • 12. being satisfied with whatever dwelling: yathā-santhatik'anga,
  • 13. sleeping in the sitting position (and never lying down): nesajjik'anga.