What is a Wat……..

I asked my students?



Their thoughts: ” A Buddhist temple; a place where people pray to Buddha; a place where monks live and practice discipline; when Buddhists have a problem they visit a wat;  where Thai people go for a ceremony or festival; a construction in Buddhist style.”

Tom (Thai nickname) (top left)  elaborated on his two week training as a 11 year old monk : He shaved his head and eyebrows, donned the traditional, simple, orange robe and  walked the streets ( 5:00 AM) with an alms bowl , hoping to receive food from a reverential family. Afterwards, the household  receives the monks’ blessings. My students made it very clear that all males should spend some time in monkhood (could be as short as 7 days or for a lifetime). The monk’s parents also benefit-they are blessed with a healthy and prosperous life. I plan on talking to my son ( Alden)  about this!

Behind the scenes in a monastery at Wat Boan, Bangkok

A Thai friend arranged for a “monk chat” with Chai, soon to be the leading monk of Thailand.


Two Branches of Buddhism

Our new monk friend  follows the Theravada (orthodox) branch of Buddhism as do the majority of Thais ( and Burmese, Cambodians, ..).Mahayana Buddhism can be found in China, Japan and Korea. The two are similar in beliefs but slightly different in practice. According to one student, most Buddhists view Buddha as a human teacher and less view him as a god. Buddhists profess that suffering ceases once we end our desires or cravings : we should not be affected by what we want or don’t want. The present moment offers all we need:

How many times have we heard

“Live in the moment!”

I’m particularly interested in Wat Architecture

Note:  Cho Fah or I call them curlicues extended from the saddle roofs


Chedis or stupas: originally housed the relics or ashes of Buddha


Mystical Creatures adorn the Wats



The royal palace is located in the above complex: Home of the Rama kings from the Chakri Dynasty built in 1782


IMG_1871Interior of a Wat



When not Wat Watching:

Overnight stay at Hua Hin Beach


The View outside our apartment:


Lah Gorn!


1 Comment

Filed under Teaching

One response to “What is a Wat……..

  1. Briggs Whiteford

    I love this…. You have really captured the culture. How inspiring.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s