- 18 Feb, 2010
Thanks to a long-time New Mandala reader for sending this across.
That is very clever: to do away with incense sticks. I don’t think they will be missed. And by the way, might not the word “monastery” suit Buddhism better than the word “temple”? Hindu temple, yes, but not Buddist temple.
[…] No Incense? February 17, 2010 Posted by Danny Fisher in Laos, incense. Tags: incense, Laos, New Mandala trackback This via New Mandala: […]
This is a great picture, and the issue of monks smoking (and esp the effort to reduce monastic smoking) is quite an interesting one in terms of how monastics are both disciplined and perceived within society. A couple of years ago, I think, the Mahatherasamakhom put out some statements about how Thai monks shouldn’t smoke. Around the same time, a relatively conservative monk I know in Chiang Mai (and by conservative I mean carefully embedded within the institution, not red/yellow etc) mentioned how monks who smoke are “not attractive.” This is the same thing that this (and other monks I’ve spoken with) would say when describing inappropriate actions by monks, and I took this at the time to be a reflective of the effort to get monks to quit smoking. That is, by making it contrary to the aesthetics of being a Thai monk.
Why is this sign up here? I assume that it’s aimed at tourists? Or is it part of a larger effort to reduce smoking among Lao monks?
This sign is probably up there because some herbal-tea drinking NGO activists sponsored it. It’s the same in Luang Prabang with the ‘Smoke Free World Heritage’ campaign.
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