Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Inside The "Tree" Wat At Camp Bang Kung

Yesterday you saw how the ficus trees have embraced the old temple at Camp Bang Kung in Amphawa, leaving only portions of the original wall showing, and a window or doorway peeking through here and there, like the one framing gold leaf covered statue visible above. Today you'll see inside this small but noteworthy place.

Making merit in front of the wat at Camp Bang Kung, Amphawa

For most Buddhist Thai making merit is one of the most meaningful parts of a visit to any temple, but especially those they've traveled some distance to see or pray at; otherwise you could visit a spot closer to home, right? I was told there were Thai here from places far further than Bangkok, where my friend had brought me from, and there were two ornately decorated buses to prove it.

 These two below would look at home in Manila, where an ongoing unofficial competition has raged for decades to over-decorate one's jeepney, the Filipino equivalent of the Thai songtaew.

Getting back to more spiritual things: As is common at many places of worship you make a donation for your candles, flowers and incense to present before saying your prayer for peace, prosperity, health, luck, the winning numbers in the upcoming lottery - whatever. My guess is that it's much the same there as here in the U.S., but they're probably not praying for the Miami Dolphins.

The photo to the left shows an offering of merit that's a little different: a gold paper ficus/bodhi leaf on a stick through which you slide an offering before adding it to the straw-covered pole intended to be the trunk or branch of the tree.

Recent offerings had been gathered together and those sticks were arranged in a bundled bouquet of sorts at the top of the post. The two girls walking away from the post were ready to enter the temple.

Some of you will remember the post from last July about the tradition of putting your gold leaf on the back of the Buddha, and the marble steps up to the image here also led to a narrow walkway behind the image. The picture below was taken looking back down from that vantage point, and it gives some perspective on the overall size of the place.

Although I usually leave the artsy-type shots to those with a better eye and better composition skills I'm adding a couple today, only because they pleased me.  The first is of a portion of the decorative wrappings of the main Buddha statue that had been rolled up by a monk and placed to one side of this large statue, and near it were portions of gold leaf; some that had fallen off the statue, some errant for other reasons.

The second is looking up behind the same statue where the tree has come through and has begun to creep into the temple.

Next time I'll try to show more of the grounds, kids and park adjoining the temple.

Tree roots coming in through a window near the entrance

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