I thought I would add this post here as it is a very positive article about the experiences I have had with the practice of Tam Buhn in Thailand. I have had a few experiences now and I feel that as a Western man married to a Thai woman I should show respect for her culture and gain an understanding of it to help me in our relationship, so here is one experience I have had.
Luang Phor Jarun is a well respected Thai Monk
Angella had been planning for some time to take me to see the Master monk Luang Phor Jarun. He is quite a well reknown and respected monk who is now into his 80′s……..you can read about him at http://www.jarun.org
So on one Sunday morning we set off to The Abbot, Wat Ambhavan, Promburi District. He only comes out to recieve Tam Buhn twice a day and so we aimed at the morning session which we guessed would be at 11am. However when we arrived we found out that we had missed him that morning but he would be back out again at 2pm. Driving all that way we decided to wait until 2pm and just enjoy exploring around the Abbot as it is a very peaceful place.
the abbot is a place for meditation and I know Angella has often been there sometimes for 3 days or 7 Days to practice Vippissana meditation
In fact the abbot is a place for meditation and I know Angella has often been there sometimes for 3 days or 7 Days to practice Vippissana meditation, the practice of mindfulness meditation. I won’t go into detail here but from what I have learned it involves many hours of meditation and silence and although I also practice meditation I have yet to try this.
A Tarot Card Reader told us there was a possibility of some accidents involving our children!!
The first thing we decided to do was to set some creatures free into the River. By this I mean in particlar turtles and eels that we bought from some sellers at the gates of the Abbot. You see the day before we had been for a tarot card reading with a reader that Angella respects very much and she had told us both that there was possibility of some accidents involving our children. Clearly this is not something we cold ignore and so the practice of setting some creatures free and saying some prayers about our children at the same time is a way of helping to keep them safe.
We took time to chat to a Chinese Monk before the Master came out
So down by the rivers edge we set 2 turtles free, which was really quite funny and cute to watch and some eels also. We then spent some more time wondering the Abbot which included having some lunch that the meditation groups who are there for the 3 day meditation practice would eat (which is all free I might add…not the tastiest but there you go)…We wondered the souveneir type stalls and took some time to chat to a Chinese monk in the temple area before The Master came out.
You could see how well known and respected this monk is as many people began to gather in and around the temple area 30 minutes before 2pm. Many of these people would bear gifts to give to the Monk and many like ourselves would have an envelope with money to present to him in the form of Tam Buhn. This money is a gift and is used by the Monk to do good things with such as build Temples, shelters and other things that can help people.
It seems that dogs have figured out that Temples are a good place to sleep and eat for free!
What is important to understand about these temples is that are in fact a refuge also for people in need. If you have no food or money you can go to a temple and get food for free. You can pray and meditate. One funny note is it seems dogs have figured this one out because there are many dogs hanging around but I don’t know if it was just me but they seemed quite passive and peaceful almost as if the whole Spiritual experience and way of being had influenced their behavior in some way. Not sure if they practiced meditation but many seemed happy sleeping all over the place and when the chimes rang for the hour clock they all started howling!!!
As the time approached 2pm it was amazing to see how many people had gathered and now the temple area was quite full and overflowing. We took off our shoes as is the custom and found a spot to sit and wait for the Monk to appear. When he did it was almost like a celebrity had arrived, he had helpers to help him of course because he is very old and there was a sort of soft gasp from everyone when he came out and sat in the grand chair.
You offer your Tam Buhn gift to create good Karma
As he came out everyone shuffled on their knees closer to him and to be able to see him and then people begin to line up to present their Tam Buhn gift to him. What is important here is to offer the gift with both hands and lifted up to him. The idea is he will bless you for this and use it for good thus creating good karma for you in this life and also the next life.
What impresses me is how this promotes giving and sharing
Eventually we made it to our turn and presented our gifts. It was all over very quickly but there is a sort of reverence and energy you feel when you do this and I must be honest I quite enjoyed it. What impresses me is how this promotes giving and sharing without any real expectation which is very much the Buddhist way.
Next time I will share even more experiences that I have had with the various practices of Thai Buddhist Culture which I feel are good to know if you are in a relationship with a Thai woman.
Until then..Stay safe and Peaceful
The Social Commenter