Thailand is a Buddhist country. Everywhere you go you will find beautiful ancient stupas and breathtaking temples (wats). Thai people look just happy and they will always reciprocate the smiles you give them. They also have a high sense of respect and politeness for foreigners, ‘farangs‘, as they call us. The Buddhist principles are part of their everyday life.

But what Thai people respect more then anything are the monks. They bow and pray in front of monks and give offerings to receive happiness and a peaceful life.

In the old city of Chiang Mai you can find temples and monks everywhere. They spend their time meditating usually in front of Buddha statues but we learnt that meditation can be done also while washing dishes or sweeping. Therefore, our Photo Essay of this month is about monks doing simple mundane activities… we believe with mindfulness.

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A young monk cleaning the table after eating in Wat Thaton, Thailand.

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A monk waiting at the traffic lights in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Young monks and girls in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Monks playing videogames on a mobile in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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A monk working on a Mac at the University in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Monks feeding Koi fish at Chiang Mai Zoo, Thailand.

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A monk using a top up machine in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Two monks sweeping the courtyard of Wat Phrajao Mengrai in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Mundane meditations, Thailand.

Two monks playing with a cart in Wat Chedi Luang. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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A group of monks in a songthaew. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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Three monks relaxing on a bench in Wat Chedi Luang. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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A monk adjusting his robe in Wat Chedi Luang, Thailand.

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A monk reading and yawning in a souvenir stall at Doi Suthep. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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A monk getting ready to take a group photo in Wat Chedi Luang. Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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A monk taking picture in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

21 Responses

  1. Henry | @fotoeins

    Beautiful shots, and quiet scenes of monks doing everyday activities … just like everyone else. :) Thanks for highlighting your essay!

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Thank you, much appreciated! We’ll check it out, thank you for the invitation.

      Many adventures and inspiration on the road, guys :)

      Reply
  2. Iñaki

    Monks are humans after all, so they also make mundane things like us. This is something surprising for a new comer (me too was upset at the beginning, I thought monks could only meditate and pray all day long) but once you live in Thailand you realise that moonkhood is in many cases, just another stage in their human life, so they act and do common things as a common human life. And that’s funnny magic in many senses…

    Very nice pictures, I like them all!

    Iñaki

    Reply
    • Ivana

      Iñaki, you are very right, the monks are at the end all humans, and a lot of them with some strong personal stories behind that are far away from tranquil and quiet lifestyle. We have seen so many of them smoking, eating junk food, too, that our “illusion” about their innocence is now slowly but surely gone.
      Yes, staying in a monastery is often just a certain stage in their life and while living their novice life there, they already plan their future outside the monastery, as a businessman, for example, as one of them confessed to us.
      Thanks for following :)

      Reply
  3. Milene

    What is the reason that they are wearing orange? Any idea? Orange is my most favourite color (well I´m Dutch could it be anything else? 😉 ) so I´m wondering why orange? love it though =)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Hi Milene, the tradition of orange (actually the official name is ‘saffron’) started long time ago, when there were only a few options of natural dye. In northern Thailand, monks used a dye from roots or trees that were the most available, for example jack fruit tree. In Tibet robes of the monks have maroon (chestnut) color, which was again the most common and cheapest dye in the past.
      Nowadays, I am not sure if they still use natural technique, but the tradition of the colors remains :)
      Happy travels!

      Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Corinne, that’s one of our favourite, too.

      Reply
  4. Franca

    Great photos guys! I like how you managed to also capture some unusual moments, monks are humans like everybody else after all :)

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thanks, Franca. Yes, they really are and the more often we meet them in shopping malls buying smartphones and cameras and see them smoking, the more we are convinced about this human face of them :)

      Reply
  5. Yidian

    I always love the orange colour on monks’ robes – it always add a splash of brightness onto a photo. Great pictures!

    Reply
    • Ivana Greslikova

      Thank you for commenting and your kind words, Yidian!

      Reply

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