Morning Alms


At 6:30 am I awake to a clanging sound. I realize the monks are making their way through the town, collecting alms. I dress quickly and hurry downstairs. Hundreds of monks walk down the street, single file, briefly stopping to collect sticky rice, sweets, pastries, whatever the faithful offer. I kneel on a mat that the sweet hotel clerk has provided for me. He smiles and gently tells me that as I make an offering I should pray with my heart for whatever makes me happy and goodness will come. I have a thin blue plastic bag full of sweets wrapped in banana leaves. As the monks come closer, I bow to the ground, then offer each a leaf-wrapped packet. I am humbled by this procession. I am grateful to be here, grateful to have something to offer, grateful my offering is received. Goodness has come.

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