Making bowls for Monk’s Alms

Traditional Buddhist Monk Bowl

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Buddhist monks in Thailand traditionally beg for their food using a special handmade bowl. Like most things, now there are cheap versions from China, but in the alleys of Soi Ban Baat, the last of three villages founded in the time of Rama I still does things the old fashioned way. The picture above is of the tools used in one of the final steps. The bowls are created of 8 pieces of steel (symbolizing the 8-fold path and all that) that are then soldered together with copper and hammered into shape. The finished bowls are beautiful and have a great tone when struck with something hard. The creation process may or may not involve the use of cats. Either way, it’s a great diversion when you have an extra hour or two in Banglumphu. And you can walk there from the Koh Sahn area – don’t let the irate security guards at Chabad tell you otherwise.

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