The images of the monks in saffron, solemn clothes deliberately receiving alms rounds in every dawn in Luang Prabang, Vientiane and around the land in Laos is one of the unique culture of the country where considering Buddhism as their state religion centuries ago. Buddhist monks and pagoda roof is a sacred and vivid part, in the life of the tribal people of Laos.
These days in Laos, I had many meetings following the monks begging for alms around Pakse town, Champasak Province. Each morning, about 6 hours, the monks gather at large Wat Luang temple in bridge-head Pakse. After stable position, the monks began begging alms around town. At the forefront is the “hau chua” (the perennial monks) and the “a chang” (monks), then was the young monks, novices. All of them were not wearing shoes. Visiting each intersection, junction, the group split alms to shine on the neighborhood.
According to the tradition of Theravada Buddhism, the monks begging alms every morning not to go more than seven houses, in turn order that goes, irrespective of rich and poor areas, good food bad; do not miss home, not out of the retrospection, not open his mouth to speak, not standing in front of the market. Bowl is often made of glazed ceramics, not made of precious metals, as copper or silver-plated, with strap and cover with a cloth.
People knelt roadside waiting or gifts set up a small table in front each home to offerings (called “xang ca vai”). They often wore “Ca Pieng” (a cloth crosses people, very beautiful embroidered motifs, considered as robes of Vietnam) and were not wearing shoes to show their respects. The offerings are often sticky, fruit, cakes of all kinds, water or food cooked for the sisters of one every day. None was offered the living sacrifice, the fried food and money. The map monk to receive alms and do not forget to pray, bless everyone. Water was thrown to the ground to celebrate Mass or to the plant and sent to the deceased as the peace prayer. After going full circle around the city, the Buddhist monks gather in temple to have breakfast.
Each day, the monks only eat one meal before sun rise. Items of alms begging are generally divided into four parts: The yield for fellow monks if they do not have or have little, for the poor sections, the section for live animals such as dogs, cats and the rest for people used alms. When food is eaten, the spiritual practice is the only view that sustain life, not ham tasty, not abandoned. From then until noon the next day, the monks join the activities of meditation, worship, study, physical exercise without diet, including milk; Drink only water, can suck on candy but not be chewed.
On the first month, the monks do not beg for alms but people go to the temple to celebrate Mass (called “Wat”). Each person brings offertory objects in a large bowl, lit incense and placed in front of the prayer with the monks. Before entering the hall, they regulate the dress and necessarily to wear “Ca Pieng”. The high increase in your previous meditation hall, people direct offerings for him. The young monk bowl placed on a long table, the offertory Stacking, turn out the items in each bowl. After the ceremony, the young monks themselves take their bowls.
Laos is a country with an average number of temples on the world’s highest population, with 1,400 pagodas and more than 6 million people. Temple lifetime associated with the people of Laos, since voice is born until their return to the dust. On the bright temple, watching the yellow robe of the monks wind fluttered or moved in soon, I believe that Buddhist spiritual culture of this unique is the salvation for the social turmoil in the global level today. Through this sustainable value system and social harmony will definitely Laos, Vietnam benefits than the water running under the physical purpose that grows too hot today
Alms Giving Ceremony is one of many forms of the practice of Buddhism has been enlightened by Sakyamuni . This tradition has helped to give up arrogance, conceit and indirect merit to people who offered the items. In Laos, alms giving ceremony became a familiar routine to every citizen. This is a unique culture of this peaceful Buddhist country.