Even monks need a vacation

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016
  • Thai Monks on vacation in Singapore

    At Singapore’s Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum four monks visiting from Thailand take out their smartphones and pose for pictures under a frangipani tree in the temples rooftop garden. I remember the first time I saw a monk take out a smartphone and snap a picture because it struck me as odd. I can’t really explain why. I think I just had this idea that monks are so spiritual that they wouldn’t be interested in the social pollution that smartphones create.

    I suppose it’s only to be expected that the path to enlightenment probably includes the sum knowledge of Google somewhere along the line, with its contextual advertising selling bright orange cloth and the latest Android phone.

    The monks were happy for me to photograph them and posed for a picture. I didn’t use that photograph though, I just felt that one of them taking pictures of one another was more candid and true. Even monks need vacations I suppose.

    It’s not the first time monks have appeared on 366. Back in 2012 there were several pictures that featured monks, one of which I think might very well be my favorite picture from 366 2012. Another was actually taken inside the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and showed a woman bathing Buddha.

    You might be interested to know that this year I will be posting extra material from 366 Pictures on Instagram, just head over to instagram.com/366extras. The picture of the day won’t appear there, but I’ll be using Instagram to occasionally share interesting asides and background pictures. If you use Instagram I’d love you to follow along. Right now I have ZERO followers, so maybe you’ll be my first?

    You might also be interested to know that the reason I went to Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and Museum today was to record the sounds of the monks chanting. I’ve been collecting sound clips from around the world and plan to launch a podcast in the future called 5 Minutes of Somewhere, where I’ll let you listen to the sounds I’ve heard as I’ve traveled the world.

    You can listen to a 2 minute sample of the kind of sounds you can expect on the podcast which will be available on soundcloud, all podcast platforms, and online at 5minutesofsomewhere.com.