Monks at the Mini-Mart

Living in Thailand I’ve become accustomed to the sound of monks chanting.  On any given day in the old city of Chiang Mai, you can walk by one of many wats (temples) and hear their deep voices reciting the words of Buddha.  I find it very soothing.

But this morning, I sure didn’t expect to find chanting monks when I went to my local mini-mart to buy eggs and milk.  As I entered the little store situated on the first floor of my condo building I was assaulted by Buddha-speak at full volume.  At first I thought it was a recording but then I looked to my right and there they were in the flesh, five monks in bright orange garb sitting against the wall.  They sat on blue plastic chairs and were linked together by a long piece of white twine.

At first I didn’t understand what was happening but quickly realized the monks were blessing the empty space destined to become an expansion of the store.  It seemed such a funny juxtaposition of prayer and Pringles that I whipped out my camera and tried to capture it taking a shot from behind the groceries.  Thinking I was being sneaky instead of artistic, a helpful Thai woman let me know it was okay to take photos.

There were many Thai people seated on the floor around the monks and I joined them, the only foreigner in the room.   I put my hands in prayer position and bowed when they did, understanding nothing but knowing it must be good.  Just another day in the Kingdom.

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