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"farang' Led Khatin Ceremony In Wat Paa Ban Lao


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About the Wat Paa Ban Lao / Wat Doi Seng Tam, on the road from Chiang Rai to Chiang Saen, some kilometers before the Waterford Golfcourses:

There are Wat Klang (or Klai), village temples and Wat Doi (or Paa), mountain or forest temples.

The first ones are supposed to be community oriented and the second ones are places where monks meet to learn and to meditate.

About forty years ago a young monk from Isarn (Nong Kai), Luang Poh Ngaan (sp?) chose the forest outside Ban Lao as his place to meditate.

Through the years he gained so much respect that he became one of the five most 'celebrated' monks of Thailand. His Wat grew and grew, became very famous and attracted more than fifty monks from all over Thailand.

When he fell ill about eight months ago, you would see cars with license plates from all over Thailand on the parking place of the Siburin Hospital in Chiang Rai. The corridors were crowded.

Luang Poh Ngaan passed away, 71 years old, and it was his wish to be cremated as soon as possible after his death, which was after four days in his case.

'Lom Po Kgaan' as the villagers call him, was loved and respected by everybody.

He was, if I may use the expression, a 'no nonsense' monk. His long life of meditation had made him clear-voyant and he was consulted by people from everywhere and from all walks of life.

He was patient, wise and lovable.

He was a monk who shared. The poor people of the villages around could come to the temple and were provided with what they needed. He built a school for the village etc etc.

He created peacefullness for his village, yes, to a certain extend he even was judge as well.

People didn't go to the police with their conflicts, they went to him and respected his verdicts.

Wat Paa Ban Lao and the 'annex' Wat Doi Seng Tam will preserve his thoughts and work in all eternity.

L.

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The Khatin Ceremony is held every year inbetween the end of the Kao Panzaa and the Loy Kratong. The moment differs from temple to temple.

It is the ceremony where people bring gifts to the temple among which robes mostly catch the eye.

In a far away past people brought pieces of material which were sewed together and painted.

Now most temples have well packed robes in stock which they temporary 'sell' to visitors at this occasion and which can be used for several years for this ceremonial purpose.

The person to preside over the ceremony in Wat Paa Ban Lao, the 'first of laymen', is choosen at least five years before the ceremony takes place.

It will be the person with the highest respect within the Buddhist community of the village and its surroundings and of course it has to be a person of blameless conduct.

This year this honour was bestowed upon a foreigner, a Dutchman.

As far as known to me it is the first time in history in Chiang Rai Province that a foreigner is choosen. And he was choosen by the late Luang Poh Ngaan himself.

For many years the Luang Poh was the Dutchman's teacher. Every morning the Dutchman went up at five, cooked a meal for his teacher (he actually is a chef from the highest echelon) and went to the temple to learn and to meditate.

It was great to see how he performed his task. Dancing on Isarn music, animating the choirs, he led the procession from Wat Paa Ban Lao to Wat Doi Seng Tam, where he approached the about twenty monks to respectfully give them the first robe.

It was amazing to hear him say the Pali 'prayers' in such a good way.

When his last 'satu, satu, satu' had sounded somebody spontaneously started to applaud, a gesture which was taken over by the other about three hundred participants in the ceremony.

And suddenly, as if everybody realised that this was not really 'done', the applaud changed into an embarrassed but straight from the heart collective laughter in which even the about twenty present monks participated.

This Dutchman wrote history and we all can be proud that he is one of us.

L.

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PS: The little sweet girl is his daughter in the arms of the daughter of a friend.

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This is without a doubt the most fascinating thing I've heard about Chiang Rai and it would be a pleasure if you could contribute with more pictures and perhaps a little more background about the Dutchman (if it's possible i.e.).

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This is without a doubt the most fascinating thing I've heard about Chiang Rai and it would be a pleasure if you could contribute with more pictures and perhaps a little more background about the Dutchman (if it's possible i.e.).

Thanks Goski!

I am not 100 percent sure, but I have a very strong feeling that you can read the Norwegian language.

Google to: florogfjare and you will meet him, the chef, there.

Limbo :o

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