This morning, before daybreak, we headed to Nimmanheiman Road to see the most impressive spectacle - "10,000 Monks", billed to start at 6.09am with the first rays of sunlight. Monks, it is said 10,000 of them, from many areas around Chiang Mai & from neighbouring countries, gather to pray at the break of dawn before taak-baat, the great buddhist tradition of devotees giving alms daily to their monks.
There is something special, something moving, something quite spiritual to witness such a gathering, to observe the piety & sincerity of believers, to just simply see the 'sea of orange'. Well before dawn, tens of thousands of buddhist faithful were in place, sitting mostly in the lotus position, hands clasped in a wei, piously following the prayers & mantras of their spiritual leaders. The 'carpet' on which the barefooted monks would pass was laid out before them; thousands of monks were grouped in 'walls of orange' at various strategic points....when they move to collect the offerings its a moment of total magic.
One cant help but notice how substantial are the offerings, especially when one considers the likely income of those making such offerings; one cant help but be struck by the generosity of all present so willing to give an offering to those foreigners clearly devoid of an offering of their own; one cant help but feel the warmth of a people so moved to see foreigners interested by & participating in their Buddhist culture. The monks move through in an orderly fashion forming 4 lines throughout the length off Nimmanheiman Road, a couple of kilometres at least - 10,000 barefooted monks in 4 massive lines of orange surrounded on both sides by devotees 'seated' in respectful prayer.
If you wish to preserve Thai culture - 'Feed Your Monks!'