Thanks to Juliane for the translation
Spending the night in a temple once more we are being asked by the monks if we’d like to join them on their almsgiving tour next morning. Of course we don’t want to miss this opportunity. So we get up early next morning, starting right after the morning prayers. The monks leave their shoes in the temple, following Buddha’s doctrine the almsgiving tour is to be done barefoot.
The temple is located deep down in the forest, serving as meditation center for monks and giving you the opportunity to withdraw into one of the several little huts in the mountain for 15 or more days. The way into the next village is far, leading across fields and rice paddies and across a river via a rickety bamboo bridge.
For the monks the morning tour is also something like a meditation, it’s not only about food donation. Also, it’s not like the monks beg the people for food, they just walk through the village, giving the people the opportunity to give them something. Right at the first house people beckon them over. The monks stop, pulling out their silver donation bowls from underneath their habits. A woman puts some prepacked rice and other food into the bowl and kneels down. Now, the monks start singing, blessing the woman and her family.
Not all people donate something but after a short time the monks’ bowls are so full that they are emptied into a bag we are allowed to carry. The village isn’t very big and soon the bags are filled with all sorts of good stuff: rice, dishes packed up into plastic bags, sweets, cake, juices and also one or two banknotes. We go back to the temple, the monks sort the offerings and arrange them in front of the altar. After a short prayer the feast can start. For the monks it’s the only meal for the day, for us it’s just the basis for a couple of hours on the bicycle.
Here a short video: