So your going to visit the local Temple and impress the natives, first off the word "Temple" in Thai is of course "Wat", so now your going to need to learn to wai and find your lowly position in life, and it is low, barely scraping past Soi dog, it hasn't yet been decided if farangs are above pedigree dogs, but we could well be, perhaps not the dogs with black fur though as they are highly sort after and supposedly the best dog meat money can buy, where as we are just kee nok.

With the high temperatures in Thailand and the heat in the local markets the flowers are kept on ice to keep them fresh, wouldn't take long for them to start wilting in this heat and you can't just give Buddha any old tatty flowers.

These small bunches of flowers cost between 10 baht and 20 baht each, when you consider the labour, the transport costs etc they are quite a bargain. Probably worth buying one for your car also, you will find sellers at many of Thailands main roads at intersections with traffic lights, these will protect you from accidents, supposedly, just hang it on the rear view mirror and hope it doesn't obscure your vision too much

Pink roses for King Rama V, supposedly his favourite flower, although he generally would be offered pink roses by themselves rather than a mixed garland, I doubt he minds too much though.

Carnations add some nice colour to these garlands, the jasmine of course adds the lovely smell, but beware, these flowers are for Buddha, it is said if you sniff Buddhas flowers something bad will happen to your nose in the next life, so show his flowers the respect they deserve big nose, or would it be little snubbed nose Isaan-ite?

So it's time to offer Buddha your flowers, it is probably a good idea for you to practise this in front of a mirror before embarking on the Wai Buddha and present garland quest, really isn't anything more ridiculous looking than some gawky farang trying to look gracious whilst scrunched up on the floor, his legs bent into un-natural positions, worrying where his feet are pointing, trying to keep balance whilst bowing down with the flowers clasped between his hands and wondering how stupid he really does look in front of the locals who have been doing this all their lives, so get the mirror out and practise first, because we will laugh at you if we see you and your doing it all wrong.

First off, your feet, you don't want these pointing at Buddha nor anybody else, yep, an almost impossible task, so ignore everything behind you and just make sure about Buddha, he has the bolts of lightening, on your knees and crawl towards the Buddha image you will be hanging your garland from, clasp the garland between your 2 hands with them in a praying position, now the fun bit, bow down 3 times, yep show Buddha those wai's you have been practising, just make sure you don't look like a right twat doing it, 3 wai's then gracefully hang the garland on Buddha, now slowly edge away from him, at this stage you can do another wai, up to you as they say, odds are your sweating like a pig, your knees hurt and you just want to get out of there, anyway, congratulations on your Wai Phra (Making a Buddhist Offering) and we hope your prays are answered.

Forgot the most important bit, when wai ing him you can ask for favours, better sex life, more money, win the lottery, anything like that, he seems pretty open minded and avarice isn't a bad thing to his mind.

Next weeks lesson on Thailand and Buddhism will concentrate on the Thai lotus, the water plant, not the car or supermarket.

Wai Phra or Making a Buddhist Offering
The Thai Lotus
Making Merit Photos