Eleanor Langford is a 3rd year Psychology major studying abroad with The Education Abroad Network (TEAN) in Chiang Mai, Thailand this spring. Check out some of her photos below!
“Staying at the Temple”: The act of “making merit” is a common and important part of Thai Buddhist’s life. There are many ways to make merit, including going to a temple. At the temple, one can purchase small bells with plaques to inscribe one’s name on. These bells are then hung around the temple, with the idea that your presence there can be maintained after you leave, and the merit gaining will likewise continue.
“Reverence not Worship”: For the outsider, it often appears as though monks and laypeople are worshiping the Buddha, as they prostrate themselves and make offerings in front of the ornate statues. However, these gestures are done to make merit and to arouse a sense of awe and respect that rids oneself of arrogance and egotism, allowing a better reception the Dhamma (teaching of the Buddha).
“Monk Offering”: Monks and the laypeople of the community can be thought of as livingin a symbiotic relationship. Monks cannot handle money and must beg for their food. The community is therefore responsible for feeding them. Giving an offering to a monk “makes merit” and therefore benefits those giving the offering. Here, you see people lined up with their offering bowls, prepared to give the monks an assortment of food.
“Kitchen in Ban Sri Kun”: Meals are an important part of Thai life, and this can be exemplified through the relative size of the kitchen in most village homes. This kitchen in this home in Ban Sri Khun village was by far the biggest room in the house.
“Dinner Table”: In rural areas, Thais will eat family style on a mat.
“Hill Tribe”: This woman is from the Karen Hill Tribe in northern Thailand. There are many different Hill Tribes living in Thailand, all of whom are without citizenship to any country.
“Rice Farming”: For many Northern Thai villagers, rice farming is a time consuming but reliable and common livelihood, as rice is an important component of most Thai food.
“Rice is a Staple”: Rice is a major staple of Thai food, and accompanies most meals in some form; hence, the large quantities of it sold at most markets.