I can’t believe I’m on Part 3 the final installment of my blog about Songkhran DC style. I had planned to only write one page on my experience but I kept finding more and more things to write about and still not cover everything I thought might be interesting to share with you. I hope your still with me and not bored by now 😉
I also apologize that it took a few extra days to get this final chapter written as my blog is now a week late since Songkhran was a week ago! My original intent was to write a blog once a week and after I get through my back log of blogs that I plan to write today that will be the schedule for me with a new blog each week written sometime on the weekend.
On the main things I wanted to write about today was the procession of Fai Pook Kean ฝ้ายผูกแขน that you can see in the pic above.
Throughout the day many guests, both farang and Thai, went inside the main temple or Bot at Wat Thai to see what it was like. Some people were at Songkhran for the first time and had never been to a Buddhist temple before while most farang guests were there with their Thai husbands, wives, boyfriends or girlfriends all celebrating Songkhran together and many I noticed took part in the Fai Pook Kean.
Before going into the temple I took off my sandals on the front steps and left them on one of the racks for your shoes on each side of the temple doors. You should always remove your shoes when entering a Wat especially the Bot or hall where the main Buddha image is kept. To not do that is considered very disrespectful. That’s why I wear Sandals when I go to Wat Thai because they are easy to slip off and then slip back on later when I leave. Also when sitting down in a Wat you must never point your feet at a Buddha image or a monk as that is also very disrespectful but I will get into that more later.
Many guests knew to remove their shoes before going in but if they did not then someone watching the door would politely remind them. I wonder how many people also knew not to step on the threshold leading into the Bot but to step over it instead. Most Thai temples have a raised threshold, which must not be stood or stepped on because Thai people believe holy spirits reside in these thresholds.
Being careful to step over the threshold I quietly entered the temple. I sort of described the main temple room in my previous Blog but let me tell you more about what it is like inside.
This is a picture of the main Buddha Shrine at the center in front of the Bot. It is the most decoration inside the temple. Most of the temple is empty except for the shrine. In the back of the room on the right were some folding chairs usually for guests to sit that cannot sit easily on the floor. On the left side were two very nice arm chairs probably for important visitors to sit and a very large gong in between them. Everyone sits on the floor for sermons and chanting at the temple except for the monks who sit on a raised walkway that runs along the right side of the room.
Trying to be as discreet and humble as I could, smiling and bowing my head to guests seated in the chairs, I moved around the room to take some pictures often times moving around just on my knees to show a more humble prescence during the procession. That was not very easy!
Although the temple is very plain compared to the beautifully ornate temples in Thailand I like it that here, same as in Thailand, you sit on the carpeted floor. It’s alot more comfortable than the hardwood pews I had to endure each Sunday growing up in a Christian church. There were large windows on the left side of the room that let sunlight pour into the room which also created a very comfortable feeling but if you weren’t careful you could get lazy and want to take a nap 🙂