Buddhism: Alive and Well in Thailand
The people watching in Thailand mesmerized me. I was in the village of Baan Nuer Wat Thea Wa Sang Karam, near Kanchanaburi and the infamous River Kwai in Thailand. I watched as the Thai people paraded around me, and their sacred temple, with candles, incense and peaceful focus. Hundred of people swarmed. Monks chanted in the background as the smell of sweet incense filled me.
As a city boy from Los Angeles in
, there were no security forces, no crowd control officiants looming near by suspiciously eyeing the crowd. It was all so easy and relaxed. Still I was agitated by my ability to capture every moment with my camera, and its ISO craned to take pictures in the dark.
I often wonder if I am intruding. Whether the celebrations like these welcome the White guy with the enormous camera dangling from his neck, even if he is truly inspired and thinks he is being respectful. If I had to guess, I was invisible to most. I tried to stay out of their way and turned my flash off to not bother anyone. Even if I asked whether it was okay that I was watching, I had become so accustomed to the famed hospitality in Thailand that it all felt natural. I was just part of the Thailand scenery. It is the Buddhist mystique that allows for the 24-hour a day pandemonium and socially dubious qualities of downtown Bangkok and the soft gatherings in quaint towns that can reveal two worlds in Thailand.
I eventually, put down my camera and just soaked in the appreciation of Buddhist adoration in action. I just stood there admiring the large gather of the peaceful Buddhist in Thailand, near the River Kwai, in a tiny village, filled with people I will likely never visit again. The parade seemed to just continue into the night. And just one reason why Thailand is so memorable.
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