Photo Essay of the 10,000 Monks in Chiang Mai, Thailand

10,000 Monks

Buddhist monks making their morning alms rounds are a common sight of life in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Each day at sunrise my neighborhood comes alive with saffron robed, shaved headed, monastics roaming the streets and performing the ancient ritual of “begging” for their daily meal. This ancient practice was began by the Buddha Siddhartha Gautama himself and is intended to simplify the lives of the monastics by freeing them from the worldly burden of cooking and to make them dependent upon the generosity of lay followers who in turn receive merit. Normally the monks quietly wander the streets, barefooted, individually or in small groups, carrying their begging bowls in search of their daily sustenance.

Look here for more photos of the 10,000 Buddhist Monk Gathering in Chiang Mai, Thailand

10,000 Monks

Every December in Chiang Mai this solitary practice is hugely amplified for the International Alms Offering to 10,000 monks. By 6 AM the streets are crowded with every imaginable conveyance bringing monks to the usually bawdy night market area of town. There were monks as far as the eyes could see. There were not only Thai monks but, Burmese monks, Cambodian monks, Laotian monks, Vietnamese monks and even a few American monks among many others. There was group meditation, speeches by politicians, chanting and thousands of white shirted alms givers lined up along Chang Klan Road presumably gaining merit and definitely giving life to this event. It is a feast for the eyes and moving for the heart.

10,000 Monks

By 10 AM the streets were returned to normal and there were no signs that such a large gathering had taken place. All that is left are images, memories and a reminder of how transient life is so we had better live it to the fullest every day.

10,000 MonksYou can see more images at my Flicker Page by clicking here

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Author: Jonathan Look

In 2011 Jonathan Look decided to change his life and pursue adventures instead of comfort and possessions. His goal is to travel the world solo; one country at a time, one year at a time. To accomplish this he got rid of most of his possessions, packed up what little he saw as necessities and headed out. His goal is to spend ten years discovering new places, meeting new people and taking the time to learn about them, their values and their place on this tiny planet. He embraces the philosophy that says a person is the sum of their experiences and rejects the fraud of modern consumerism that makes people into slaves of their consumption. He doesn't intend to be modern day ascetic, just more mindful of his place in the world and to make decisions according to that new standard.

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