When it’s a choice of making merit or making ends meet, it’s the alms bowl that ends up empty.
It’s a lesson Pattaya monks are learning now, as daily offerings on the morning procession and at the temple have fallen dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. Donations usually made on holidays, birthday and other occasions have dried up in the face of kilometer-long lines of hungry people waiting for food.
Some say it’s time for temples to take their gold and accumulated wealth and give back to their followers.
Temples, instead, have canceled many of their normal ceremonies and fairs, giving people less chance to interact with houses of faith and providing temples fewer opportunities to earn.
Tid Kai, a former monk, left the priesthood to get a job to pay not only his own expenses, but continue to support his parents. When he was wearing saffron, he usually was given enough to cover those expenses, but not anymore.
Speaking at the auto garage where he now wields a wrench instead of a “ban bat”, he said he learned a lot while he was a monk, but life goes on and he had to adapt.