29 July, 2009

Bangkok Stories

Like all Bangkok stories, this will sound familiar. Going with a friend to see another wat on my list that ended up being closed. My friend instead of getting mad or upset he asked me if I had seen Wat Kanlayanamit before. It was near the closed wat. I replied, no meanwhile touring the kutis of the monks on the way out.

I thought I had been to it before, churning the memory wheel…I had, but that was two years ago and there was a huge festival during Chinese New Year, so I only got as far as the two Chinese pagodas out front close to the river. Walking in from the back, after a stroll through narrow lanes between houses, we came first to the small wihan(see photos at bottom) that has redone beautiful murals from King Rama the III, and gilded lacquer doors.

On top of that it has great ceilings outside, too. That was a treat, until I saw the huge Buddha in the subduing mara in the main Wihan, which was a nice surprise. Built as a gift to King Rama III with this huge Buddha similar to one in Autthya. I thought it must be stone it is so large, but in fact was cast on May 18th, 1837 by Chao Phraya Nikornbodin (Toah Kalayanamit) with a donation from King Rama III. There are also nice tiled gables, and a lot has been redone. It looks like they are trying to replace the huge sandstone pavers outside soon.

There is always merit to be earned by supporting the repairs of these temples. Kalayanamit means true friend or good friend and I hope it is the beginning of a good friendship with the friend who took me there.

As a flew back on the plane one moment out of thousands came to mind. One day, I went to 7/11 to get some water and ran into a monk and he started talking to me of all the people there. We jumped into a conversation, quickly right there, once he got past my voice. He had been to US, and California and stayed in…of all places, Las Vegas.
This lead to my obvious question, “Why there?”

He replied it was where my lady friend lived who paid for his trip. She met him there in Bangkok, and paid for a trip to see the west of the states. She has since sent her son to be a novice for two weeks and has turned out to be a good son. He told me that the best we can do as wise people is help our aging parents until they die, so they die in peace.

Our parents had given up a lot to bear us and clean up after us, and this is how we have to pay them back. The merit alone will help make our own death easier. A wise thought, from a monk younger than I.

Remember you can click on any photo to enlarge.

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