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The life of a Lao monk

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Our Tad Lo Resort has a spectacular setting perched above the Sexet River with an incredible ambiance and great views of the Tad Lo and Tad Suong waterfall. We enjoy the natural surroundings exploring by foot and soak up the peaceful atmosphere. There are many beautiful natural attractions to see here but perhaps the attractions that sticks in most people's mind the longest though, are those charming monks in the saffron robes. Usually with an umbrella in hand to ward off either sunrays or raindrops. In the early morning hours, when they make their daily alms rounds through town.


The little village Kieng Than Lei is located on the Bolaven Plateau and is a great spot to see the rural life of Laos. The area surrounding it is very peaceful, scenic and no other tourists to be found. We met this monk at a little temple complex near the Sexet river. Their lifestyle is shaped so as to support their spiritual practice, to live a simple and meditative life. Lao monks are very friendly and approachable. We had a friendly chat with the local people and monks. The young monks can speak a little bit of English. We donated some money to this Buddhist community. Most people donate food to the monks to gain merit and improve their karma. The temples of Laos were once seen as "Universities" for monks. Lao monks are highly respected and revered in Lao communities. Many of the novice monks come from poor villages throughout Laos and live and study. Many of them are teenagers and not yet full-fledged men of the cloth like this eldery monk.


Lao monks are very friendly and approachable. Pay a visit to any temple in town and it's highly likely that a polite young monk - or group of them - will initiate a conversation with you. Most of these curious, conservational monks are of the novice variety, that is, they are usually teenagers still in school and not yet full-fledged men of the cloth. Many of the novice monks come from poor villages throughout Laos to live and study at one of the twenty-odd temples scattered around Luang Prabang. Obviously, being Buddhist monks, they are focused on learning about the teachings of the Lord Buddha, but novices also study a variety of academic subjects and languages such as Pali, French and English. Many of them can also speak Thai, a language that is quite similar to their native Lao. Those monks that want to pursue their education at a university must relocate to the capital of Vientiane and do so at one of the larger temples located there.

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Taken on July 16, 2009