South East Asia: Children, Buddhism and a Floating Market


 

The People: exciting, curious, beautiful, mischievous, engaging, expressive and capable of touching hearts all over the world. Although I have taught human development over forty years the human face is capable of inviting me to see things in a new way, capable of making me laugh with more vigor and have greater hope.

I am interested in Buddhism as a philosophy, more specifically how attachment creates suffering and the value of being aware and present, moment to moment.  I’ve noticed a calming in my life when I am able to “let go” of having things go my way.  I have also benefited by meditation, allowing my attention to be upon my breath and observing the busyness of my active mind until it calms down.  The following shots have connections to Buddhism.

A water blessing at a temple is a frequent event. Becoming a Buddhist monk means many things, including the chance to be taken care of during meals by those who want to become monks. After years of training beginning at 3:30 am those who prove capable experience a ritual with family in attendance that includes shaving the head. Until then those being trained have hair of various lengths depending on how they are progressing. Buddhist nuns also have shaved heads following their training. Chanting ,singing, and chores are aspects that begin at 3:30 am as well as meditation. Taking card of orphans is the activity of many nuns. These activities continue throughout the day and into the early evening prior to a nights sleep.

Some of you may recall the horrific picture of a monk on fire in Saigon.  In 1963, seven monks ignited themselves as a protest to the actions of the South Vietnamese government that led to the death of nine peaceful demonstrators in Hue.  The demonstrators were against government policies that interfered with their religious practices.  Troops opened fire on the unarmed crowd and later the government refused to take responsibility for the events and blamed the Viet Cong for the incident.

Each morning Vietnamese Monks arrive in front of village homes to receive offerings. The offerings of village people build beautiful temples and sustain the monks. Another monk workshops at the 900 year old golden Buddha in Bangkok. This 5 ton BUddha was once covered in plaster to protect it from teh invading Burmese. In 1957, two centuries after being plastered, whild being moved it felland cracked revealing the true nature of the Buddha.

On a canal dug during the reign of King Rama IV (1851-1868) the floating market of Damnoenssaduak, Thailand is  held daily.  Senses are flooded during a walk along the shoreline or a float through the market.  Sounds and smells accompany sights of goods being sold, people of all shapes and sizes, and the taste of unique food.