I got a surprise when I turned out of Orange Grove last week to discover that right next door was a Buddhist Monastery!  There was a crowd on the grounds and I couldn’t help but stop to see what was going on.  I found out it was the beginning of Vassa…a Buddhist practice where the monks retreat for 3 months between July and October (this is the rainy season in India and it was customary not to travel during this period so as not to risk harming the crops, insects or themselves).       

     Typically, the ascetics/monks engage in deep meditation.  Lay Buddhists observe this time in a similar way Christians do during Lent and sacrifice a vice…no smoking, no meat, no alcohol and the like.  There was a joyous feeling in the air.  The buildings, the grounds, the smiling faces and the Thai food…all beautiful!  It was very fortunate that I ‘happened upon’ this sacred event.  

It was a wonderful way for me to begin my day.  Namaste.

The main entrance

Lay Buddhists prepared food, flowers, other items the
monks may require during their retreat…along with
brand new robes to be worn at the celebration day at
 the end of this period.

Kluay Tod…fried bananas
and Banh Cam…Vietnamese
sesame balls with sweet mung bean filling

Nang Let, Khao Taen…rice cake with
cane sugar drizzle (like caramel)

Boat noodles and beef soup

Khanom Buang…sweet Thai
crepe – with meringue and
foy tong on top…my favorite of
the desserts I tried

Kanom Dok Jok…the flower
cookie made in a brass mold

Sticky rice wrapped in palm leaf
and Gai Yang…grilled chicken
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