• Tours Hightlight  

- All Pick Up and transfer

- Monk blessing at Budhhist monestery

- Tour guide briefing about monk blessing ceremony

- Chating with the monk to know more about Budhhism in Cambodia and monk's life

- Visit the one of the Budhhist monestery

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Cambodia is largely a Buddhist country. It is practiced by around 95% of the population. The Buddhism is based around the more than 5,000 monastery temples in the country. Known locally as Pagodas sometime Vihear or Wat, they are administered by monks. You will frequently see them around town, wearing their distinctive orange robes, with their shaven heads and eyebrows.

The monks are basically teachers or students themselves. One service they will offer is a “blessing and religious ceremony”. This is a beautiful ceremony, designed to impart good luck, long life and happiness and prosperity. I went along to receive one at the monastery. We will have a future article on what this center offers, but for now, this is about the blessing. After the ceremony, there was a chance to ask questions. These were asked randomly by the participants in the ceremony, hence the slightly unstructured nature of the questions that follow.

The monks were seated in front of an altar. On it was a statue of Buddha, some fruits, candles and flowers. The room is wooden in the Khmer style and very simple in its decoration. There were mats for us to sit on. We were told to sit cross legged (or actually in the classic Yoga pose if we could manage it). We were also told it is impolite to stand in the presence of the monks as we should remain lower than them.

It consisted of a continuous chant, lasting around 20 minutes. Using the religious language, Pali, (which is related to Sanskrit) the monks started intoning the words. The head monk started and the others joined in. At the times, they would break off, but always at least one monk continued. Near the end of the ceremony, the head monk picked up jasmine flowers or a whisk of leaves and threw water from a bowl over us with the whisk or jasmine flowers. Right near the end, the monks picked up bowls of jasmine buds and threw them over us. Finally it was over. After the questions, the head monk tied a piece of red cotton around our wrists. We were instructed to move forward and pick up a small tray with an offering on it, as the monks can’t take anything unless it is given to them.

Put like this, it’s so mechanical. What doesn’t come over in the description is the atmosphere. I’m not a practicing Buddhist, but I have an open mind. I sat ready for the experience, and was moved from the first moment. The serenity and the calm of the monks was evident from the outset. While the chant was progressing, there was a growing sense of peace. The chanting is very beautiful, and although I did not understand what they were saying, there was harmony between their voices and I was moved. At the end I did feel slightly different. It had given me time to Centre myself, withdraw slightly from the hustle and bustle of the city and ground myself again.

Q. What are the precepts you mentioned?

A. For me there are 5, for novice monks there are 10. Mine are: No killing (anything, even insects): No stealing: No sexual misconduct: No lying: No alcohol. If a monk breaks one he has to go in front of all the monks in the pagoda and confess. Then the head monk will give him penance in the form of cleaning the Pagoda or something similar. If he breaks one a second time, he gets a larger penance. However if he breaks one a third time he has shown he is not a good man and must leave.

Tours Package Included

- All transfer for the tours site

- English Speaking Tour Guide

- All entrance fee for the tours site as mentioned in the tours itinerary

- Donation and gift for the monks

- Jusmine flower for monk blessing

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