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A Superstitious Morning:

My daughter Peng, who is at university in Chiang Mai, has exams on 18/19th at the end of her three years of formal classroom study, before moving into a school to teach real students for the final year to practice what she had learned. Peng asked her mum if she would visit a popular local shrine outside of Nong Bua Lamphu city, to ask the spirits to support her efforts in the exam, so that was our job for the day.

The wettest period I have seen in the normally dry season, since I moved here in 2014. Flowers and incense bought from a stall just outside the shrine.

The steps leading up to the shrine, which has only more recently been opened, moved from a location close by. On a clear day it has terrific views over the city of Nong Bua Lamphu and then beyond to the far distant hills of Loei, the province to the west of us. Worth a stop just for that. Not today though!

These spirit shrines have nothing to do with Buddhism. In a VERY simplistic explanation, because there are overlaps, the Buddhist ceremonies are more to do with making merit for the next life, while honouring spirits is popular because they are more influential with specific requests in this current life. If you ask for a favour from the spirits, you can add a small incentive in the form of an animal, which is added to the ever-increasing collection.

Gaun opening soft drinks and water.

Lighting incense, which you are more likely to see connected with sprit shrines than Buddhist temples, although not exclusively. I love the straws added to the drinks. Health conscious spirits.

Remember, you never blow out an incense or candle flames. Always use your hand or just wave them around. Never small flowers given to a temple or a shrine either.

Down to the serious business of asking the spirits to help Peng's exams. I suspect I have been signed onto a donation of elephants, which is what we offered when we (successfully) went through the same process to ask for Peng to get a place in university.

Lots of offerings have been made.

Lao Khao (Isaan 'whisky') and a chicken.

No Buddha statues here. This is actually a historical Thai king.

A donation for covid help do you think?

Adding the incense to others outside.

The final paying of respect.

Three bangs on the gong and job done. Good luck Peng.

If you rub a temple (wat) gong correctly, you can often make them sing. Gaun in action here.

Thanks for reading.



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