Luang Prabang
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Tak Bat or Almsgiving
Monks Almsgiving Round or Tak Bat in Luang Prabang is a very colorful, beautiful and orderly affair. If you are giving Alms, kneel on a mat, keep your head and feet bare in humility and quickly and silently place a small amount of rice or other food in the Monks' bowl as they pass along. I can see why this Almsgiving Rounds are so important to the Laos people. It is an interaction between the Lay Buddhists and the Monks. It is a generous act of joy for the Lay Buddhists and they know it will benefit them, their living and departed relatives. And for the Monks, it symbolize their intentional poverty, humility and dependency on the Lay community for their daily needs. For me, the Tak Bat is one experience that I will always remember. Two hundred and fifty Monks from over ten Temples, barefooted, clad in trademark saffron robes, with a Alms bowl each walking in a single file in groups of 10 to 25 whilst the lay Buddhists are all kneeling on mats waiting to put the food into the Bowls when the Monks walk past. It is magical sight especially at 6 in the morning! In Nov to Jan when the temperature drops to 12C, it can be quite cold for these barefooted Monks and bare arm Novice Monks.
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