Culture at Thai Temple Essay
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Today, I have the opportunity to go to the Thai Temple on North Broadway Street. As we all know that Thai community is not a big population in Wichita, Kansas, and there’s not many temple here as well. I walked into the temple with a beautiful site view, there was only one Buddhist statue inside the building. Walking in the temple there stood three monks with a warm welcome from them to show me around the temple. I turned around with a curious look on my face, and started to asked them how often do they held ceremony for praying time.
They told me that it is usually every Saturday and Sunday. One of the monk name was Michael, he told me that usually the people who participate or come visit the temple they would bring food to share with monk, and other people. The food must be vegetarian, and that your spoon or any utensil must not touch any meat at all.
Monk Michael told me that monks are vegetarian, they cannot eat fish or any meats at all. They always eat before 11 o’clock and usually once a day before the prayer. It was really fascinating for me to have the opportunity to view the different from my usual culture and belief system.
As monk Michael guide me through the temple, he said that when there’s a hug festival there is a lot of people from Thai community gather to celebrate the holiday. He told me that during the New’s Year which is the most important holiday for Thai and Cambodian society. People would come to the temple to pray and lit up incense for the Buddhist statue, and get red envelop under the Ochna tree. The red envelop meant to bring us luck and prosperity for the upcoming year. Monk Michael ask me to come by during the big festival in April 14. It is the most exciting day for Thai and Cambodian which they shared the same New Year day. Attending this Buddhist temple I have engage and learnt the culture difference between Catholic and Buddhism. My belief is Catholic, and I noticed the New Year holiday for Catholic and Buddhist was totally difference from my culture, and my own belief. Catholic biggest holiday is Christmas just like American society.
We only celebrate Christmas in church, but we don’t celebrate New Year as Buddhist. As monk Michael asked me to engage in the part of prayer, I felt a little uncomfortable, because I was afraid I might do something wrong, and that we have to knee down through the whole praying time. It is usually lasted about an hour or so. My religious is not the same as Buddhist, but I know the food flavor and the taste are the same. Even though, monk Michael asked me to stay and enjoy the meal with the rest of the monks. The food might be plain without the meat, but it was really delicious.
The monk is vegetarian, and they cannot eat meat, if they did people would not respect them as a monk who guard the temple, because if they did they will break the rule of being a monk. That’s what monk Michael tell me about their habit and the protocol the have to follow. Monk Michael also told me that, monks cannot have spouse and kid, also drinking as well, because that’s is against the religious value. Being Catholic I feel that’s our Father or priest we don’t have to fast, even if we do. Catholic only eat fish during Easter month. The majority people who goes to temple are usually Buddhist believer or any people who want to come to pray is always welcome. Our culture and religious are different, but we have the same view of life such as karma.
Attending Buddhist temple I can see the different between religious and the different in culture practices. It was worth of my time to spend today to engage in this wonderful heritage of Buddhism. Thai people worship Buddhism is stronger believer. They believe that life is does not end with dead, but it is more base on karma. “What we sow, is what we reap” it is the concepts in every human being; it doesn’t have to be in your religious. Going to the Thai Temple make me feels like there are a lot of great culture practice not only around world, but also in the community of Thai, and Vietnamese who practices Buddhism it is worth my time to explore this culture. After attending this culture event, I feels closer not only to my heritage, but I have deeply appreciated Thai heritage as well as my own.
Thai Temple had taught me more about their background, and their religious, which they provided on this fieldtrip. Michael monk had provided me with real life interaction experience with his culture and exchange different belief. I will come back to Thai Temple during their New Year’s events to gain more knowledge of their culture holiday. This fieldtrip has help me become less ethnocentric and become more open to experience new culture. After this fieldtrip I would like to go and learnt more about other culture that I never have intents to tries. This make me realize that I have missed a lot of this opportunity to seek and learnt other culture belief.