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THAI TEMPLES
Sala
The "SALA" is a pavilion used for ceremonies, feasts and sermons. During major Buddhist feasts, laymen and laywomen sit in the "SALA" in order to listen to the abbot's sermon. In small temples monks eat in the "SALA".
Sala
People spend money on the buildings of temple, so making merit to assure them of a good reincarnation at their death. Name and money amount in baht are written.
Sala glass door
Sala glass door
Sala
The "SALA" is where novice monks or orphaned children are educated by ordained monks.
Sala
All temples contain at least one but usually many Buddha images. Buddhas should always face east.
Sala
Sala

Gong
The gong or bells are used for daily timetable. Every early morning a monk hits the gong in order to awake the other monks. A layman often hits the gong in order to call the monks for the morning and noon meals. In the evening a monk hits the gong to indicate the beginning of the prayers.
Gong


Doors are often decorated with brilliant colors and glittering stuff. Temples are covered with reflective mosaics of colored glass. The target is to drive away evil spirits. If spirits approach too close they shall see their reflection and be frightened away.
Entrance
Entrance

At night time, monastery entrance is closed and locked.

Entrance
A temple is surrounded by white walls. The walls also represent the separation between the monks and lay people.
Entrance


A Thai "CHEDI" is a kind of pagoda. The "CHEDI" has always the form of a lotus. Lotus is important in Buddhism. It symbols the enlightenment because the lotus blossoms on dirty pool. It symbolises the passage from darkness to light, the passage from ignorance to wisdom.

The "CHEDI" has specific symbolism, representing the different states of life:
  1. The base represents the hell - นรก
  2. the middle represents the humanity - โลกมนุษย์
  3. the top represents the heavenly state - สวรรค์ชั้นฟ้า
  4. beyond the top it represents the state of the nirvana - นิพพาน
Chedi
Chedi

When faithful people are making "VIEN TIEN" (เวียนเทียน) ceremonies, i.e. turning around the "CHEDI" three times, it means they want to be grabbed from hell to nirvana by a whirlpool. The "CHEDI" are different from an area to another. Near Cambodia the "CHEDI" is often replaced by a "PRANG", which is based on an architecture coming from the Khmer influence.

Chedi
In a Thai Buddhist monastery there is sometimes a building to enshrine relics of a famous former abbot.
Chedi

For famous monks or Buddha relics, the pagoda ("CHEDI" - เจดีย์) is very high.

Temples also contain cemetaries. Ashes are enshrined in small pagoda. It is identified by a small plaque set into the surface.
Small Chedi
Small Chedi


In some monasteries there are many dogs, monkeys or bats. Monks feed animals because those ones are supposed to be persons that misbehaved in their previous life.

Many Thai temples do contain lakes or ponds with cat fishes. Nobody dare to fish them. Feeding them is really impressive because they all converge towards the food. Fedding them brings also merit for next life. In some big temples, there is often a Chinese shrine. Sometimes there is a pond where turtles are living. Feeding them brings also merit for next life ("THAM BUN" - ทำบุญ).

Playground
Temples are an open space for life. Children often plays in temple compounds.
Playground

In big temples there are some restaurants, food sellers and so on... In other there are some clairvoyant people that read the palm of the hand. Even in some monasteries there is a traditional massage school. A famous one is located in "WAT PHO" (วัดโพธิ์) in Bangkok.

Sometimes in temples close to rivers some small stalls sell fish, birds. Freeing them is a good action.
Freeing birds or fishes<
Freeing birds or fishes

Some older people never eat catfish, eels and turtles as those animals are released into the ponds of temples to gain merit.



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