With the long summer holidays upon us, fourteen boys from the Father Ray Children’s Village joined two hundred local boys at a local Buddhist temple and became ordained monks. The youngest, just seven years of age, is following a tradition that goes back many years and sees the majority of Thai boys and men becoming ordained at some time in their lives.
Their first night at the temple was spent sleeping on a mat on the floor, soft beds are against the rules, and on the second day they took their first step to becoming monks.
Eyebrows must be shaved bare.
Family members were invited to cut tufts of hair from the boys, which were collected in a leaf to be buried underground, before they went off to visit the monks who shaved the hair and eyebrows until they were completely bald.
After chanting prayers with the Abbot of the temple they received their white novice robes.
Twenty four hours later the boys were presented with the traditional saffron coloured robes which they will wear for the next four weeks. While the mothers helped the boys into the white novice robes, when it came to the saffron robes the women were not allowed to help.
One of the many rules the boys must follow is that they must not touch any female, not even their mother. Other rules they must follow include not sleeping on a soft bed, no playing, have no money and definitely no eating after noon; one rule that some of the younger boys may find to follow.
Their days will start very early when they will pray. Following breakfast they will learn to meditate and listen to the teachings of Lord Buddha. Lunch is always a big affair, with food donated by the local community and the boys will be allowed to eat as much as they want, because once the clock strikes noon there will be no more until breakfast the next day.
Not all the boys were happy having their head shaved.
The hair was collected and wrapped in a leaf to be buried at home.
Novice monks from the Father Ray Children’s Village.
The boys will spend four weeks at the temple.
The newly ordained monks.
The new monks were happy looking at photos of themselves.