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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wat Jaeng, Sakon Nakhon, Thailand. Lunchtime

Daeng, had not made merit at Wat Jaeng in Sakon Nakhon in a couple months and wanted to go make an offering during what at many city wats is called lunch. Most monks, excepting Forest monks eat twice a day with the main meal starting about 1100h, but finished before noon. I went along because I had met the Abbot of the monastery and he does keep the Vinaya, runs a clean monastery and the nen (kids in robes) are well behaved. Any one of those are becoming more and more rare in Thailand's Buddhist Monasteries and all 3 very hard to find. Also I had not posted a city Wat meal before and figured it was past time.
As you can see in the photo the entrance to this campus is a bit flash, but not as opulent as many. The grounds are, as I said, clean and well maintained. Inside the sala great attention was given to flower arrangements and alters, much different than the simplicity of Forest Monasteries. Another big difference is food, its preparation, presentation and consumption. In a forest monastery the Bhikkhus sit individually on their asana (sitting cloth), on the floor, eating out of a bowl, with food sweet and savory mixed together generally by 0800h Also in a Fairest Monastery the chant and reflection "Wisely reflecting, I use this food not for fun, not for pleasure, not for fattening, not for beautification, but only for the maintenance and nourishment of this body, for keeping it healthy, for helping with the Spiritual Life; Thinking thus, I will allay hunger without overeating, so that I may continue to live blamelessly and at ease", has a much more pertinent meaning. As you can see by the amount of food building on the trays simple sustanance is well surpassed. And no sloitary reflection while eating as the meal is a social event for the Sangha here. Watching the Bhikkhu and the lay supporters here a got a renewed view of gluttony and my concept of "food porn".
I was amazed by the amount of food being carried out of the sala by the women, perhaps this was food they were going to give to the poor. That thought was quickly corrected.
A quick look here will give you a contrasting look at Buddhism in Thailand.