In the early morning the big bell of the monastery calls the monk to rise and go out to beg for his breakfast. He takes a big iron bowl in his hands, holds it in front of him, and then with downcast head walks
slowly through the streets allotted to him.
He may not wander into another man’s street, but must keep to his own. As he walks along, the people come out of their houses and put food into the bowl. One puts in a handful of rice, another a spoonful of curry. Someone else adds a few bananas, or some stale fish, or some scraped coco-nut. The monk looks neither to the right hand nor to the left, and gives no thanks to the donor of the meal.
By the time he gets back to the monastery it is no exaggeration to say that his bowl often contains a very varied and weird assortment of oddments. It looks rather “a mess,” and there is not much to be surprised at when we learn that some of the monks, who do not keep the rules of their Order very strictly, throw all this motley assortment of fish, flesh, fowl, and stale red-herrings to the dogs, afterwards partaking of a rather more tempting breakfast that has been prepared for them in the monastery.
At certain times of the year only a few monks from each monastery go in search of food. The others stay at home at the temple. If a monk has rich relations, his disciple often receives for him well-cooked and appetizing meals upon which to break his fast.
Thailand 100 years ago: muang, nakon and krung Bangkok
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Thailand 100 years ago: monks in the yellow robe
Thailand 100 years ago: monks beg for breakfast
Text: ERNEST YOUNG, B.Sc.
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