Friday, December 3, 2010

I'm teaching English at Watchetupon

In addition to my teaching at the Buddhist University here in Chiang Mai, I'm also teaching English to novice at Watchetupon.

Watchetupon has the largest temple school in all of Thailand.  Enrollment is over 500 novice.  For many of these novice, the temple school is their only option for getting an education. Some are orphans, many come from very, very poor families.  The families of some live so far away, the novice will only visit them once a year. 

These little novice are really a joy to work with.  Yes, they are dressed in the orange robes of Buddhism..... and yet, they are still boys.  The novices are as young as 6 or 7, and as old as 20.

Listening skill lesson at Wat Chetupon

In this class with juniors at the temple school, I worked with the novices on their auditory listneing skills.  By drawing the maps of Thailand and the USA on the chalk board , students learned how to answer questons like:

What is the capital of Thailand? (U.S.A., Laos, etc.)
Who is the Prime Minister of Thailand?
Who is the President of the U.S.A.?

"Thank you teacher" at Wat Chetiupon

This was the youngest group of students I taught today at Wat Chetiupon school.  M2 students are similar to high school freshmen.  Quite a number of special needs (LD) students in this class.

This greeting by the students to their teacher at the end of the class, is common throughout Thailand.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

12,500 Monk Alms Walk

On Sunday, November 28th, 2010, some 12,500 Buddhist monks gathered in Chiang Mai for a special alms walk.  Food was collected for the monks who live in the three southern provinces of Thailand. Because of the unrest in the south, it is no longer safe for monks to go out on their morning alms. 

The event was organized by the Dhammakaya Temple, the largest in all of Thailand.  Dhammakaya has a rather unique Buddha figure.

In addition to the thousands of monks, there were thousands of Thai who came to give food to the monks.

The special alms walk was organized by the Dhammakaya Temple.  I have never visited this temple, so downloaded this photo from the internet.  It is located in a province north of Bangkok and is Thailand's largest Buddhist temple. 

The street turned orange during this special alms walk.

People giving food to the monks. 

Long lines of monks, walking through the crowds  who gave them food for the monks in the south of Thailand.

Buddha figure at the special alms walk,

Soldiers walked with the monks, to receive the food once the monk's bowl was full.  The food people gave, was prepackaged so it could be sent to the south.

It is said 1,000,000 people can meditate at the same time at the Dhammakaya Temple.