Monks in the Market in bangkok
Early one morning we decided to explore the area around the Wat Pho Temple in Bangkok. It was still dark when we left the hotel and people were preparing to go to work or set-up their stalls in the markets. By accident we discovered a little market close to the Wat Pho Temple. What a gem it was especially if you like to take photographs.
We were walking around the stalls, taking photos,smelling the aroma of traditional Thai food and generally enjoying the atmosphere of a Thai market. Many people were buying either food or flowers. The flowers they use as offerings at the temples or to give to the monks.
Giving food to monks in the market
I saw a couple of monks dressed in bright orange ropes walking barefoot among the people. In their hands they carried small orange baskets. Some of the monks were standing close to the food stalls and other`s were standing at the entrance and exits. It was interesting because I never saw them approaching the people. They stood there waiting for people to come to them.
A young woman approached the monk and gave him pretty purple flowers and what looked like food. Another monk, a little older, was standing close to the exit of the market. A man approached him, gave him purple flowers and a packet. The flowers he held in his hand but the packet the monk put inside his orange basket. The man put his hands together and bend his head.
Around the corner I saw two women and a monk. They took their shoes off and bend down in front of him. He then blessed them. For many Thai people this ritual is part of their spiritual journey. They bring offerings to the monks not because they expect to receive something in return but because they are giving it with a pure heart. The monks take all the offerings to the monastery and share it among them.
monks in the market in chiang mai
In Chiang Mai there are special tours that take people to the market where you can buy and wrap food packets for the monks. They will tell you what food you can select and buy. From there they will take you to the place where the monks walk and you can give them your offering.
It is interesting that the monk will never say thank you. Why is that?
It all boils down to generosity. Generosity in its purest form doesn’t want something in return. Yes the monk will bless the food or say a blessing to the person who gave him the food but he will not say thank you because it could mean that your deed contains less merit. You are giving it because you are generous and doesn`t want something in return.
Personally I think we have a lot to learn from the monks. So often we give something to a person but want something back in return. When was the last time that you gave something to another person, without wanting something in return?
When: 5 March 2013