Wat Chalong -Buddhist Temple
Here I am a western Aussie girl smack-bang in the middle of a culture steeped deep within the soil of spiritualty… where every few metres (it seems) the land pays homage with statues and offerings of food, flowers and drinks. Where the people of this land, bring hands to prayer and bow their head in Namaste (I bow to the goodness in you). Where religion is not a religion of dogma but a way of being, maybe even a philosophical stance…??
I am a yogini. I am a student of spirit. I am a conveyer of all that pays homage to humanity and a spiritual way of life. It was not so much that I had to but rather, I was drawn to visit the temples… or they drew me.
Buddhist temples or Wats are well-known symbols of Thailand. Not just because the majority of Thais are Buddhist, but because of their beauty and because they are inherently vital to their way of life. In Phuket alone, there are 29 Buddhist temples.
And I made a pilgrimage to one – Wat Chalong. I, along with throngs of locals who come to pray and Westerners who come to learn something about Buddhism.
Incenses by the tub burns – wafts of fragrant smoke spiral into the air. Fire-crackers boom and crackle away in beehive-shaped ovens near the Wat’s sermon hall. A ritual of hanging strings of crackers and then igniting them as a way of expressing gratitude for prayers answered. And is a common occurrence in Wat Chalong Thailand.
Shoes – dozens upon dozens of shoes line the paths. Barrels of flowers wait for their corresponding homager… offerings for prayer and blessings.
It is easy to honour the etiquette and respect the prayerful offerings. Following suit we, remove our shoes, cover bare shoulders and in silence make our way into one of the temple’s. I am immediately moved; a sensation of emotion, unquantifiable, washes over me… it soothes and like all things spiritual, I immerse myself into the experience.
A gilt-covered statue of Luang Poh Cham beckons. After careful-respectful-observance, we emulate the process. With deft application, we select our piece of gold and pray-fully place a piece on Luang Poh Cham.
We spend much valued time within the temple grounds. Yes, indeed, the Wat Chalong temple … is my Sacre Coeur Phuket. And just like the Sacre Coeur (France) I am moved…. the richness of spirituality permeates. It is like a warm blanket that comforts on a cold night. I am familiar with the Buddha images, incense, removal of shoes and chiming bells – I practice yoga. But nothing prepared me for this. The depth, the all-encompassing permeation of spirit where every cell pays homage not to an icon but to a philosophy… a way of being in life.
Here I am a western Aussie girl smack-bang in the middle of a culture steeped deep within the soil of spiritualty…