Tak Bat: A Living Buddhist Tradition in Luang Prabang

2013-08-09 07.19.55One of the most meaningful activity I have participated in while in Laos is what they call Tak Bat in Lao:  or “Morning Alms” in English. Thanks to a friend who recommended me to get involve in this Lao living tradition.2013-08-09 07.25.06Tak Bat is a religious practice of Lao people in Luang Prabang whereby young monks every morning at 5.30am go for procession in the central town of Luang Prabang (near to the night market). They walk in queue to fill in their basket with sticky rice, biscuits or fruits and have them for breakfast. The locals who would like to partake in the offering are sitting at the side of the road, dress in appropriately (shoulder, chest and legs covered).2013-08-09 07.28.312013-08-09 07.17.562013-08-09 07.18.21Eventually, this religious practice has become one of the major tourist attraction in Luang Prabang. The tourists are welcome to participate in the offering provided that they observe the basic rules in the conduct of such activity. This ritual is being done in silence.  Those who do not wish to participate and just want to observe should keep a certain distance and camera with flashes are being discouraged so as not to create any disturbance from the monks. One of the DON’Ts is that making any physical contact with the monks are strictly prohibited. I remember, when I was in Cambodia, we were having a photo op with the monks and when I put my hands on the monk shoulder, he quickly ran away from me! At first, I was surprised and asked why?! Did I do something intimidating that made him run away from me. I learned later, monks are not allowed to be touched by female. I hope I remember it rightly.

On my second day in LP I was not able to manage to wake up early. Imagine 5.30am! 😉 But thankfully because I was determined to do it and to actually observe how it goes I made it on my third day :-). Thereafter, instead of returning to my hostel to get back to sleep, I decided to follow where these monks go and see what they do in the morning.2013-08-09 09.07.55_2013-08-09 07.33.562013-08-09 07.42.46_2013-08-09 07.34.18_2013-08-09 07.39.45_2013-08-09 07.36.45_There is a temple near the wet market. I went inside but the the door of the temple is still closed so I just sit in silence at one corner. I observed the details of the external architecture of the temple. Then, I prayed. After, I tried to have a glimpse of how it is like to live a monk’s life. I patiently stayed at the temple for an hour and a half before I head back to get some sleep. Thanks to those people who had taken us photos during our participation in the Tak Bat offering.2013-08-09 07.41.252013-08-09 07.35.452013-08-09 07.36.18_Have a great weekend to all :-). I can’t wait to go for a short break even if it’s over the weekend trip. Be safe always and stay happy! 😀

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