One thing I love about Thailand is seeing the Monks walking around everywhere. They are so soothing to watch as they go through their daily lives with such grace, dignity and peace. So when we checked in to the beautiful Kirimaya hotel in Khao Yai, Thailand and I found out there was an opportunity to give the monks offerings I could hardly contain my excitement.
I visited a buddhist monastery in Italy when we lived there and it affected me so deeply that I now seek out any opportunity to be around buddhist monks.
On Sunday morning the monks are invited to Kirimaya for the staff and any guests who wish to participate to give them offerings. We paid our 250 baht and were given a beautiful box of food and flowers to give to the monks. I had no idea what to expect but was so elated to have this opportunity.
When the monks arrived there were three of them, all elderly. They walked through the gorgeous antique doors of Kirimaya, carrying their bronze bowls. I have to admit that I started to cry a little as they entered the area, I was really overcome with their grace. They stood next to one another, holding their bowls awaiting our offerings. We all removed our shoes, and then waited our turn to make our offerings. I tried to be one of the last so I could see how I was supposed to do it. Each person either knelt in front of the monk or bowed to them and then placed our offerings on their bowl and then bowed as we walked away. The monks did not look at us, we did not speak to them yet it was so moving to stand in front of them. As I stood in line I again started to get tears in my eyes. Their humility and peacefulness was so moving to me.
I made my offering and bowed and lingered for a moment. I wanted to stand there for longer, absorbing every second of this moment. Once we were all done giving our offerings, the staff and about 20 guests, we were each given an empty glass of water and a full glass of water by the staff. We all knelt on the ground and as the monks prayed we poured the full glass into the empty one. We then knelt as they continued their prayer. It was a beautiful ritual which was deeply moving to both of us even we didn’t understand the words or the symbolism. (Does anyone know what the symbolism of this is? No one spoke English so we couldn’t get an explanation that day.)
After the prayer the monks turned and left. J and I both felt so moved by the experience. We were deeply humbled and blessed by the event. I know it will remain a highlight of our trip in Thailand. It is these experiences, these simple but unique moments that we came to this country to be part of.