Life Of A Temple Boy In Thailand
Generally people find temple boys in almost all the Buddhist temples. The boys serve the monks and receive food and the monks’ blessing in return. There are many responsibilities assigned to a temple boy. The day of a temple boy begins early in the morning, before crack of dawn when the temple boy has to make preparations for alms collection. The temple boy accompanies the monks and carries the food that is offered by the village people. Usually the monks walk 2 to 3 kilometers daily collecting alms and the temple boy walks behind them. According to Buddhist beliefs, a monk can only eat food that is offered by others.
After collecting the alms, the temple boy returns to the temple to prepare food for the monks. Once the monks have eaten, the temple boy can eat the leftovers and the remaining food. A temple boy is not allowed to eat food before the monks as it is considered to be a sin. Some of the food that is leftover is set aside for the second meal. Usually the second meal is taken before mid morning as after that monks are not allowed to eat anything solid.
Being a temple boy is not easy. Life can be difficult especially in remote villages where the villagers themselves do not have much to eat. The poor farmers are not always capable of offering alms to the monks and this leads to many temple boys going hungry. Poor parents usually send their sons to become temple boys hoping they get at least one meal a day. However, in the cities many affluent families send their sons to become temple boys in order to learn moral values.
Many important politicians and dignitaries in Thailand were once temple boys and being a temple boy is considered to be noble in Thailand.