Buddhist Temple Life in Laos: Wat Sok Pa Luang
By Ilse and Birgit Schrama
This book gives an intimate glimpse into the day-to-day lives of the monks, novices and nuns of Wat Sok Pa Luang. Who are these boys, men and women and why did they become a novice or why did they ordain? Although the focus is on the mundane, the significance of Buddhism in their lives shines through.
The temple complex Wat Sok Pa Luang is blanketed in a peaceful and contemplative atmosphere. The rustle of leaves in the trees and bushes, the sounds of the sweeping rhythm of the broom, and the daily chants nestle down over the whole terrain. But within this serene world other layers are revealed: desires for love and sport, family problems, malaria, poverty and education perils. At the Buddhist high school for example, they share the classroom with seventy other novices. The school has far too many students and on one occasion the floor of a classroom came down. But the students have no choice. Most of them became a novice because their parents had no money for education. Laos is a country which until recently was largely isolated from the rest of the world; its economy is small-scale and predominantly agricultural.
Despite the extremely sober lifestyle, as documented in this book, the stories of the novices and monks are often heart-warming.
Ilse Schrama (1964) studied Dutch language and Literature and has been a freelance photographer for more than ten years. Birgit Schrama (1967), sociologist and art academy graduate, has been working as a designer since the late nineties. A shared curiosity about Buddhist life and the sisters' complimentary skills led to this intriguing book.
Size 250 x 1800 mm
126 pages, fully illustrated with colour photographs