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It’s no secret I love the Thai temples (I’ve already written about them here, here and here). By the time I left Thailand to come back to the States for a while, I had visited hundreds of temples throughout the country. I went to temples close to where I lived almost daily for my boyfriend to tum boon, or make merit. I walked up Doi Suthep on the west side of Chiang Mai with thousands of others on Wesaka Bucha day (the day commemorating the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha) to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
I went to nine wats (temples) on New Year’s day for extra good luck.
And on my last day in Thailand I just wanted to visit a temple in the forest that I had never been to before. Chiang Mai is filled with some 200 temples, so even if I hadn’t been actively going to them, I was always surrounded by the curved roofs, golden Buddha statues, bells and naga.
One thing I don’t think many people who have not been to the U.S. understand is that there are ALL TYPES OF PEOPLE HERE. There are people of all countries, colors, cultures, races and religions everywhere. Which is why I shouldn’t have been surprised to find out there’s a Thai Buddhist temple right in my hometown in the middle of the sprawling Seattle suburbs.
While not as elaborate or opulent as many of the temples in Thailand, Wat Washington (that sounds so curious to me…), it was comforting to step into a space that evoked feelings of Thailand – taking my shoes off at the entrance, the large Buddha statue in the main part of the temple surrounded by flowers and decorations, saffron-robed monks speaking in Thai, framed portraits of the King and Queen. Familiar, yet strange…and surrounded by evergreen trees instead of palms.
Have you ever tried to seek out or recreate places, customs or beliefs you’ve encountered on your travels back at home? How did you do it? What did they feel like?
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