Gongs, candles and karma

Golden Mount, Bangkok, Thailand

Sounding the gong over Bangkok

Exploring Wat Saket – the temple of the Golden Mount – provided a stimulating opportunity to understand the Thai Buddhist traditions. We climbed the spiraling stairs 80 meters high, under ancient, lush trees, passing landscaped waterfalls and statued shrines. A gentle chanting of a monk through the speakers guided our ascent as a light breeze cooled us. Along the way, we rang bells for good luck. Striking the towering gongs sent deep resonating tones through the air. We observed Thai Buddhists making offerings of lotus buds and flower garlands to the golden Buddha statues and lighting incense and candles for wish fulfillment.

This visit provided a great platform for discussing:

  1. What are some similarities of the Buddhist tradition to other religions we have observed from home?
  2. How are the Thai Buddhist practices different from religions we know well?
  3. What is karma and how does it relate to the Buddhist belief of rebirth?