05g 1,500 monks (33 images)- Sunday, November 30 - A Day to Make Merit

Since arriving at Ban Pong we had seen the advertisements for 1,500 monks coming to town. Leaflets were handed out and loudspeaker trucks would remind us.  With Yupadee's assistance we would try to behave as good residents of this community.  As best we understood the process, we would purchase non-breakable, non-perishable food items to donate to this large number of monks, most, or all, of whom would be bused in from Bangkok.  The donated food items would be for a "good cause" we were assured, but it was still a bit vague. The last and most definitive clarification was that the food would be shipped to southern Thailand where, because of the religious conflict, the monks could not leave their monasteries to avail themselves of donated food.

We had watched some of the extensive preparations the day before with school children helping with the setup.  We arrived before 6 AM on the main street on this Sunday.  The process that we witnessed (the waiting, the speeches, the processions & donations) lasted well over 2 1/2 hours before we took a breakfast break. It would be shortly before noon that the main street of Ban Pong was cleared and open to regular traffic.

We learn that this is the first time such an event was held in Ban Pong.  We also learn that such an event is being held in other Thai cities on different dates.  Some of the larger cities (e.g., Chiang Mai) have even a larger number of monks involved.

Click a picture to see a larger view.

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