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Art Of Meditation II
Photograph - Photography
I went to Asia this time to try and get an image of a buddhist monk with a different backdrop (i.e. not a temple). I finally found what I was looking for 66 km southwest of Chiang Mai city at the foot of Doi Inthanon Mountain.
Buddhism has no creator god and gives a central role to the doctrine of karma. The four noble truths of Buddhism state that all existence is suffering, that the cause of suffering is desire, that freedom from suffering is nirvana, and that this is attained through the eightfold path of ethical conduct, wisdom, and mental discipline (including meditation). There are two major traditions, Theravada and Mahayana.
The special dress of ordained people, the robes, comes from the idea of wearing cheap clothes just to protect the body from weather and climate. Monks often make their own robes from cloth that is donated to them. They shall not be made from one piece of cloth, but mended together from several pieces. Since dark red was the cheapest colour in Kashmir, the Tibetan tradition has red robes. In the south, yellow played the same role, though the color of saffron also had cultural associations in India; in East Asia, robe color varies from yellow to brown (Thailand, Theravada), red to purple (Burma, Theravada) and grey or black (e.g., Vietnam, Vajrayana (Zen).
The robes of getsh�l novices and gelong monks differ in various aspects, especially in the application of "holes" in the gelong dress. Some monks tear their robes into pieces and then mend these pieces together again. The rabjung novices shall not wear the "ch�-g��", the yellow tissue worn during Buddhist teachings by both getsh�ls and gelongs.
In observance of the Kathina Puja, a special Kathina robe is made in 24 hours from donations by lay supporters of a temple. The robe is donated to the temple or monastery, and the resident monks then select from their own number a single monk to receive this special robe.
October 14th, 2012
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