29
Jan
11

Luang Prabang: A Buddhist Town of Alms Giving

Alms giving in Luang Prabang 

Luang Prabang is a small town near the confluence of the Mekong River and its tributary the Nam Khane. The Lan Xang kingdom unified the country of Laos in the 14th century and Luang Prabang became its capital. The town since then has been known as a Mecca for Theravada Buddhism, also known as Hinayama Buddhism. The influence of this early form of Buddhism resulted in 80 monasteries in the town.

It is 6 in the morning. The monks are doing an alms-round: a morning practice. People in town come out to the street and wait for the monks. Luang Prabang has approximately 16000 people and around 1200 monks, almost 10% of the total population. The alms processions of Buddhist monks take place every day. The townspeople are devout Buddhists, they place sticky rice into the alms bowls.

The people say: The monks represent the Buddha. They inspire good deeds and are a way of venerating ancestors.

The food received during the alms round is to become their breakfast. Meals are taken twice in the morning, after midday they are only allowed to drink water.

 

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