泰國行脚:化緣及其他 Thailand: Morning alms round, etc

泰國行脚之化緣  Alms offering in Thailand or binderbaht ( บิณฑบาต ) as it is called in Thai.

相信任誰都不会否認泰國是佛教國家, 2000年人口普查顯示全國94.6%的人口篤信佛教。國內寺院林立, 香火鼎盛。早上化緣的僧侶到處可見, 善信亦踴躍布施。這種情形從曼谷至泰北都一樣。泰國僧侶按例不可屯積食物, 亦不能自行炊食, 所以只能在清晨外出化緣。由於泰國僧侣都遵守過午不食,信眾從清晨開始就會供僧布施。 尤其是市集附近, 到處有售適當的食物和鮮花作化緣之用。據說布施多少不拘, 重要是其供僧積德的行為。午後僧侣不能進食一般食物, 但下面這些營養品是容許的: 酥油, 牛油, 蜜糖, 乳酪, 糖/糖漿。下面這個綱文是一西方僧人寫的泰國化緣經騐, 第一手資料, 可讀性高: What do monks eat for breafast?

With almost 95% of the total population (2000 census) are Buddhists of the Theravada tradition,  I guess nobody would doubt the statement that Thailand is a Buddhist country. Almost every man in Thailand will be a monk once in his life, to serve the Lord Buddha and learn the way of being a better being. Morning alms round is a common practice carry out by monks in early morning. Since they are not allowed to cook, nor to hoard food. Morning alms round is the only way they can obtain their food supply. However, they have to finish their last meal before noon. For the rest of the day, they can accept and consume five nutriments ~ ghee, butter, honey, cheese, sugar/syrup. There is a first hand info written by a western monk living in Thailand, here is the link: What do monks eat for breafast?


我在曼谷街頭一小市集見有四僧人守株待兔式的坐在路邊化緣。其中一位年紀較大的, 可能是德高望重的関係, 布施的善信要列隊等候。高僧旁有一人待候, 不停的從僧砵中移走善信剛放入的布施, 好讓下一位放入布施。此助理將布施分類放入旁邊的大尼龍袋子內。滿了以後就移交在路旁的電單車隊帶走。據說這些食物除了受布施僧人享用外, 餘者轉贈尼姑, 孤兒或無依者, 最後也成了寺院內貓狗的食糧。日夲僧人古時亦守過午不食古訓, 因地處北方, 僧人在冷天傍晚後饑腸轆轆, 將暖石納入懷中以止飢, 據說此為懷石料理之緣起。

市場內售賣供僧的食物。 Food for monks on sale.

這位就是市場內最多善信圍着的高僧。He is the most popular monk in that market, people line up to offer their alms.

摯誠奉獻。 Chanting before offering.

布施。 Alms offering

我無宗教信仰, 但好奇, 希望能嘹解各樣宗教对人的教化。以前到日夲, 義大利等地旅行時都有留心, 這次去泰國亦不例外。有幾次在市場內看化緣, 施主不分男女, 各階層都有。我們的司機, 聶溫先生, 是老實的泰國人, 木納拘謹。 有一次, 跟他閑聊, 請教他佛教對泰國社會的影响。我说:「大部份泰國人篤信佛教, 佛教教人為善, 泰國的社會一定很詳和安樂。大家安守夲份, 應該到夜不閉户的境界了吧?」

I had a chitchat with our Thai driver, Mr. N, who is a quiet, gentle and honest man. I said: “Since Thailand has such a high percentage of the entire population are Buddhists and it seems everybody is practicing the teaching of Buddha so seriously, Thailand must be a very honest society with a very low crime rate”. Mr. N laughed out loudly, he said: “85% of the followers are not genuine followers. They offer alms in the morning and make merits just like everyone else. However, they do all the bad things at the same time. This happens among monks. Some monks became a sugar-daddy at night, they exposed their true identity after getting drunk. There are 1-2 known cases each year reported on news…”

捷運系統上給僧侣讓位的牌子, 有意思。 A sign on the skytrain in Bangkok. I guess you don’t see this very often.

拘謹的聶溫先生聽後忽然開懷大笑, 說道: 「先生所言差矣。自稱佛教徒的人很多,其中約有85% 是”假信”的。所謂假信, 就是說他們一邊唸佛、布施, 另一邊則仍做不該做的事。我以前也做了很多壞事, 後來才洗心革面, 改过自新。」

In an article written by Richard Barrow entitled Life in a Thai Temple . He quoted the saying of another monk that “There are different kinds of monks here. Some are serious about being a monk. Others are here because they cannot do anything else.” He said further: “There are of course some bad monks. I know that the ones in the kuti next door to mine take drugs. They order the drugs by mobile phone and it is delivered to their door by motorcycle taxi in the evening.”

跟着他還告訴我些假僧侣的故事, 說每年總有一两個僧人因喬裝外出飲酒, 酒醉弄掉假髮而露出尾巴。我曾經以為他跟我開玩笑, 後來看了這篇西方僧人(出家一段時間, 在泰掛单) 在泰國的見聞, 原來有比飲花酒更甚者, 這篇很詳細談及一些局外人無法知道的事實(如僧侶吸毒等), 有興趣的請看: 泰國僧侶的一天 (英語, Life in a Thai temple)。

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民間信仰 Folk religion ~

幾乎所有泰國的大酒店和大公司在門外都供有神龕。我並不懂所供奉的是何方神聖, 但看來似以四面佛較多, 其他則多為印度教神明轉成的民間信仰。

There is literally a shrine on every business establishment, hotels, restaurants, department stores, etc in Thailand. I am not sure if those are Buddhism, I believe they are a kind of local believes derived mainly from Hinduism.

印度教神明  Amarinoradhiraja – deity from Hinduism

酒店門前所奉的神龕。A shrine in front of a hotel.

百貨公司門前所奉的神龕。 Shrine in front of a department store.

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四面佛在亞洲享有盛名, 港台不少商家和影藝界人仕均是其信徒。四面佛香火鼎盛, 善信終日川流不息, 現在更是外國遊客必遊之景點。四面佛所奉 Phra Phrom 神實為印度教神梵天。 梵天是創造之神,與毗濕奴和濕婆並列印度教三大主神。

The Erawan Shrine is probably the most popular shrine in Bangkok. Enshrined is a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai version of Hindu god Brahma. The popularity of this shrine is well extended to the whole Asia and even the US. it is said that a replica shrine is found in from of a casino in Las Vegas.

四面佛 The Hindu creation god Brahma.

善信川流不息。This is probably the most popular shrine in Bangkok.

還願. Thai dance troupes hired by worshipers in return for seeing their prayers answered.

中國色彩 Chinese influences

大城夏宮內的石獅。Statue near a shrine in the Summer Palace reflects Chinese influence in the Thai culture.

湄公河畔一中式廟宇。 A Chinese temple near the river in Bangkok.

廟宇內. Inside the temple.

曼谷機場的乳海翻騰塑像 Churning of the milky sea – Bangkok Airport – 印度教的影響  Influence of Hinduism

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