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August 2015 issue
by Eugenio Grosso
In April 2013 I spent some time following the daily routine of a group of novices in a Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang,
the former Lao capital.
Buddhist monasteries in Laos gather children and young kids who, otherwise, could not get an education. From 10 to
18 novices are taught, fed and are provided a place to stay totally free of charge. The whole community takes care of
them giving offers to the temple and to each one of them every morning during the monks’ walk through the village.
The novice’s daily routine is pretty tough: wake up at 4am, prayer at 5 and then school the whole day. The school is
inside the perimeter of the temple and is attended by novices from all the monasteries in the area. After school they
have some spare time and then, again, they have prayer before sleeping.
Because they are novices, they only have 10 rules to follow which means that they can still go and swim, have a
mobile phone and live a very similar life to those of their peers outside the temple. When they turn 18 they have the
chance to choose whether they stay in the temple and take vows or go back into society and start a new life.
Laos, Luang Prabang, April 2013. A day in the life of a novice in the Buddhist temple of Wat Siphoutthabat Thippharam.
A novice early in the morning has some rest before going to school.
A novice getting ready early in the morning to go and gather donations from around the village.
A line of novices in the street of Luang Prabang collecting food from the local community.
A novice feeding dogs in the temple.
Young novices outside school preparinig for their lessons.
Young novices at school attending a class.
Novices buying food before school.
A young novice using his mobile phone when he should be doing his homework!
A young novice, early in the morning, near his room.
Novice Ou Chanda in the room he shares with another novice.
A novice lying on his bed, reading a text in English language, as homework.
A novice lying on his bed watching a movie on his dvd player.
Novices wearing their clothes after having a bath in the river Nam Khan.
Novices working on the temple's roof.
A novice walking through the yard in the afternoon.
A novice inside Buddha cave. The cave is filled with statues of Buddha of every dimension.
A novice getting ready, early in the morning, to go and look for donations around the village.
A group of novices praying to Buddha in the evening.