Every day before sunrise, monks from all over Laos leave the temples in silent procession to ask for donations from Buddhist devotees, this image begin a new day in the country. This also the feature in Laos culture over centuries.
Most of the Laos people embrace a faith of Theravada or Namtok, with the custom of asking for donations from local residents.
The image of local residents wait outside their houses with donations of rice or vegetables, ready to distribute young monks group who walk in long rows, spread to the village or hamlet village, quietly receive the food offerings from residents is familiar in the country. After receiving donation, monks always bless every one offering them food.
According to Buddhist catechism, mendicant brings many benefits to the mendicant fiar and to human beings. For the monks, mendicants, bringing bowls to beg for food make their minds free, reduce afflicted.
They do not have to take care of their livelihoods, have time to lead a religious life and eliminate arrogant and presumptuous, as well as the greed and cupidity, avoid the accumulation of money, havings.
Buddhism has become the state religion in Laos, every morning, the Buddhists bring the alms to the door of the house and give to the alms-giving monks. Most people wear a scarf, crossing the left shoulder down to express solemness while donate alms for monks.
Buddhists in Champasak district, Champasak province with barefoot are kneeling down with hands clasped together in front of the chest offering alms to the monk. Both Buddhist and monks must be in bare foot.
They put offerings on a box with a high aluminum leg or bronze ... with sophisticated patterns. Offerings are various, it can be sticky rice, self-wrapped pancakes, fruits, cakes, fresh milk, and sometimes a bank note.
According to the precepts of Buddhism, the Buddhists only offer cooked food such as rice, cooked vegetables, not fresh vegetables because there is no kitchen in temple and pagoda.
Buddhists holding the offerings, put on the forehead prayed and reverently placed in the bowl of each monk. When receiving donations, mendicants are not allowed to look at Buddhist's face whether they are old men/women, young children or beautiful girls, and not allowed to see what they have received as well as not allowed to express satisfied or dissatisfied.
After receiving donations, monks pray for good things and bless to Buddhists, while the Buddhists bow their heads, raise one hand like a lotus flower in front of the chest in the posture of praying to Buddha. The other hand holds a small jug of water pouring out on the ground or into the bronze drum that they bring, then pour into the tree in a respectful manner. These actions show their praying for ancestors, grandparents.
After the offerings, Buddhists live in Khon, Champasak district, Champasak province, put small piece of sticky rice to fence around the house for birds to eat
The custom of feeding birds is similar to that of northern Vietnamese. Vietnamese people with the idea of saving food for the wandering souls around them.
Monks in Laos only go begging before lunch (12h00 a.m.), only take cooked food, not beg for food in more than seven houses, do not stand in front of the market and have only one meal before sunset.
The alms brought back are usually divided into four parts, one for other monks if they do not have alms or less than them, one for the poor and one for the animals such as dogs, cats and the rest for themselves.
The monks are distributing the alms received at the temple in Pakse province
Author: Freeland Journey