Giving is called “Taba” in Lao. “Giving” in Buddhism refers to a kind of human behavior.
Early morning charity in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is a world cultural heritage city. In 1560, the capital of Laos moved from Prabang to Vientiane. Buddhism and Buddhist culture are well inherited here. Luang Prabang has given alms for hundreds of years.
Monasteries in Luang Prabang are closed. Monks go barefoot to the streets every morning to seek almsgiving. 95% of Laotians who believe in Buddhism believe that almsgiving is a sacred and solemn act.
Whether it’s sunny or rainy, at about 5 o’clock every day, people prepare the first bowl of hot glutinous rice, put mats on the streets, take off their shoes, kneel down, put their hands together and wait for the monks. Monks from the temple, from the old to the young, line up in a neat and quiet way, walk through the streets of the city, open their tin bowls to receive food. It usually ends at 6:30 to 7:00.
When you look at giving, you should pay attention to:
1. Don’t wear shoes, pass food with your left hand, touch the monks’ bodies, and keep your head above the monks’ tin bowl.
2. You can ask the hotel to prepare glutinous rice or buy some glutinous rice at the roadside stall earlier. Try not to give biscuits and candy. Monks can’t eat with biscuits and candy.
3. Don’t stand in the way of monks, especially women.
4. Monks move faster. Don’t chase after them to take photos.
5. Give or wait for giving, hands together.
Laotian Buddhist believers at home are called “laymen”. Male laymen wear white cassock, while female laymen wear white coat and white skirt, so they are called “white monks”.
When I put the rice ball into the tin bowl with a grateful heart, I don’t know why I was so moved. It’s my biggest feeling that giving is more blessed than receiving.
There are about 100 monks who come here by car from a very far temple every day. Before receiving alms, they would read the Scriptures and receive food from the people.