Ordination of a Thai Monk

Monks receive the greatest respect in Thai society, for ordination implies that the person has turned away from worldly desires and ambitions in pursuit of the highest wisdom and purification. Ordination is considered by Thai Buddhists the most worthy act a man can perform. So worthy is it, in fact, that most every Thai male will at some time in his life, generally after completing his studies and before marriage, spend a period in monkhood. Ordination traditionally takes place with much celebration before the commencement of the rainy season and the newly ordained monk remains in the monastery for a period of a week to a few months. During that time he learns to chant some Pali scriptures, studies the Buddha's teachings, and receives instruction in meditation. Upon completion of his time in robes, he reenters society as a layman, wiser for the experience, "ripe," and ready to fulfill his responsibilities as an adult. Some boys receive novitiate ordination as a child and remain novices throughout their youth before receiving higher ordination as a monk. Some men spend their entire lives draped in the saffron robes of the Buddhist order.

More photos by samaheyha