Daily Life of a Thai Monk
The Sangha World in Thailand consists of about 200,000 monks and 85,000 novices at most times of the year. However, these numbers increase during the Buddhist lent to 300,000 and 100,000 novices. Young boys may become novices at any age, but a man cannot become a monk until he reaches the age of twenty. He can then remain a monk for as long as he wishes, even for just one day. Three months is more usual, although some choose to remain in monkhood for the rest of their lives.
There are over 29,000 temples in Thailand and the daily routine of the monks in all of them is pretty much the same...
4.00 am - The
monks wake up and meditate for one hour, followed by one hour of chanting.
Before 12.00 noon - Some monks choose to eat a light lunch at this time. This is the last solid food they are allowed to consume until sunrise the following morning.
1.00 pm - Classes
in Buddhist teaching begin. Some monks may attend school outside the
Besides these duties, all monks are given specific roles to play in the day-to-day running and maintenance of the temple and its surroundings.
After being in
the monkhood for several years and demonstrating extreme dedication
to both social work and spiritual study, a monk can be promoted gradually
until he reaches the Sangha Supreme Council, the governing body presided
over by the Supreme Patriach.
Thai monks can be seen wearing various shades of robes, from dark brown to the familiar brilliant saffron. There are no rules, but the darker shades are preferred by monks in the Dharmmayuth sect and Thu-dong or forest monks.