The monk’s alms-bowl is only used to receive cooked food & fruits offered by willing donors. The monk strictly does not accept money with his bowl or on his Pindacāra (alms-round).
The Theravada Buddhist monk only consumes food between the break of dawn (around 7am) and noon (12pm). Thus, he does not go about collecting alms-food after mid-day. The monk goes on Pindacāra mindfully observing ‘noble silence’. He does not engage in talking or chatting with others.
People stop in the street and look up at the sky. A steady stream of orange lights is rising from the horizon, arching slowly overhead. It heralds the silent ascent of lights from all corners of the city, until soon the hemisphere over our heads is dotted like a vast planetarium. New constellations taking momentary shape. A solitary flaming tail giving the illusion of a meteor burning through the atmosphere before flickering into ashes.
In the grounds of Wat Phan Tao, the Monastery of a Thousand Kilns, a row of Theravada monks sit motionless. They chant in unison, creating a hypnotic drone that reverberates around the temple and merges with the sound of fireworks exploding in all directions as midnight arrives.
In these moments, the endless turnings of the mind stop completely and give way to a single sensation. Wonder.
“Twenty Buddhist monks from Kyoto in Japan visited Laos for the first time this month (September). They stayed for six nights at Vat Nakhoun in Vientiane. As members of the Young Buddhist Association in Kyoto, they celebrated their organization’s 50th anniversary by paying visit to Lao monks here.
Believing in Zen Buddhism, they exchanged traditions and teachings with Lao monks who believe in Theravada Buddhism. The Japanese monks were ordained here by Lao monks, following a religious ceremony in the temple.
A Japanese monk for 15 years now, Junji Okumo feels unusual with his orange wrapped around dress that is used by monks in Laos. He says in Japan, Buddhist monks usually wear black kimono, which is a Japanese traditional suit, and topped with an orange cloth like a sash.
The Japanese monks began communicating with the Buddhist monks in Laos ten years ago. They have also been sending books to Laos among other volunteering works. Okumo says he does not know how many times can a monk be ordained but what they did was ‘a very rare experience.’” [x]
I want to be a Theravada Buddhist, but I can't find much on it or if it allows crystals & alters of the such. Can you lead me in a good direction for understanding this branch better? (I understand the basics of the 4noble truths and the 8fold path)
Dear One! There is nothing to be, you already are; haha, zen talks apart. I’m not much of an expert in case of alters. I just have a small Buddha statue, and I keep water and my rosary in front of it. Theravada Buddhism doesn’t really deal with crystals. I studied with a Theravada monk, he never spoke about crystals. Crystals come from Mahayana Buddhism I think. He always spoke about: 1) Suffering 2) Impermanence 3) No Self. Having said that, read these books if you can (easily available online for free):
These books will help you understand better. When you have a good understanding, then move on towards Buddhist philosophy of Dependent Origination/Wisdom of Emptiness; which are just profound when experienced. Learn about the various tenets (Vaibhashik, Sautantriks, Yogacara, Madhaymiks), and what they have to say. Move on to Mahayana teachings too, and study them as well, they have a lot of good things to teach. And keep working on developing infinite compassion (cherishing others more than yourself). May you find your true happiness; peace and love to you Dear One. Take care.
ps. You can message me too, I think I am easy to talk to, haha.