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Chanting: Buddhist New Year's Eve

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Buddhist chanting at Wat Hua Lamphong in Bangkok replacing parties & alcohol for many devout Buddhists on New Year's eve. 

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PRAYING, NOT PARTYING

Phra Mahatak Jariyawaso

The assistant abbot of Wat Hua Lamphong, Phra Mahatak organised and lead a New Year chanting ceremony at the temple on Monday night. An interview with him about the event follows:

Q - Normally a monk is strictly obligated to turn in early. How do you feel about making an exception on New Year's Eve?

A - I don't mind that at all. I am aware that New Year celebrations are very important to most people. That's a good thing. But when they want to chant all night at the temple instead of going out, that's even better.

I don't think it's against the monastery rules; on the contrary, I think it's a monk's duty to lead such a meaningful ceremony that connects the secular and clerical worlds together. I'm very proud to help make them happy.

Q - Is chanting becoming a more popular way to bring in the New Year? 

A - Such ceremonies have nothing to do with popularity. I believe people want to use the occasion to meditate, using chanting as a way to connect with what is inside their heart. When their minds are clear, they can look at things in a different way, and they can be more optimistic about what the new year will bring. I will also give a sermon which will hopefully help guide people to true happiness and inner tranquility.

Q - What are the benefits of chanting on New Year's Eve?

A - It can be done easily and its benefits are plentiful. Chanting basically helps you become more focused so you don't lose track of the ceremony. Once you're focused and you truly understand the meaning of the ceremony, it will bring enlightenment; your mind will be clear of worldly emotions. On top of that, it's such an easy way to honour the Lord Buddha. I recommend anyone who hasn't tried it to give it a go this year

Q - Why do you think more Bangkokians are joining New Year's Eve chanting ceremonies than in the past?

A - I think it brings them spiritual happiness. It's as simple as that. 

Q - How many people are you expecting to turn up this year? Do they need to dress in white? Are there any fees involved? 

A - We predict there will be several thousand participants. There is no need to dress in white - just dress appropriately. And no, there are no entrance fees at all. There will be amulets for sale if people wish to buy them and worship at home. The ceremony starts at 8pm on Monday and ends at 2am on Tuesday.

There is also another ceremony that starts at 9am on Tuesday and ends at 1pm.

Q - How important is New Year's for you?

A - I don't believe there is anything special about it at all. To me, it's simply another day to lead my life properly.

Q - Are Thai people turning their backs on Buddhism? 

A - No. They still make merit, chant at home, and come to sermons when they can. I believe Thai people are still religious, but they are probably more tied up with their work and personal problems than they have been in the past.

Q - Do you have any New Year wishes for the Thai people? 

A - I wish their minds to be free from worry, malice, sadness and anger. I wish them to believe in their innate goodness and lead their lives accordingly. I wish them be good to themselves and be kind to others. I wish people of any religion to be happy and hope that everything they wish for comes true.

For more information about the New Year chanting ceremony, visit www.wathualampong.com or call 02-637-1342

(Source: Bangkok Post, The other Party People: Behind the scenes with nye's unsung heroes, 30/12/2012, PRAYING, NOT PARTYING, Phra Mahatak Jariyawaso,  Pornprom Satrabhaya, link)

 
Chanting Vocabulary

Buddhist chanting - repeating the words in the Pali language in a musical way: "in the Theravadan Buddhism as practiced in Thailand, Burma, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka, chanting is usually done in Pali, sometimes with vernacular translations interspersed.Among the most popular Theravada chants are: Buddhabhivadana (Preliminary Reverence for the Buddha), Tisarana (The Three Refuges), Pancasila (The Five Precepts), Buddha Vandana (Salutation to the Buddha), Dhamma Vandana (Salutation to his Teaching), Sangha Vandana (Salutation to his Community of Noble Disciples), Upajjhatthana (The Five Remembrances), Metta Sutta (Discourse on Loving Kindness), and Reflection on the Body (recitation of the 32 parts of the body)" (See Wikipedia and MP3)

devout  - very religious, a person who follows religious practices very closely and strictly ซึ่งมีใจศรัทธา
devout Buddhist

abbot - the head monk at a temple เจ้าอาวาส

assistant
- helper
assistant
abbot - the monk just below the abbot who helps the abbot
the assistant abbot of Wat Hua Lamphong

chanting - shouting or singing a word or phrase again and again ร้องเพลง โห่ร้อง
ceremony - a formal public event งานพิธี
chanting ceremony

organising and leading a New Year chanting ceremony at the temple

strictly - completely อย่างเข้มงวด
strictly - in a very limited or limiting way; exactly or correctly
strictly obligated

turn in -
go to sleep; go to bed
turn in early -
go to sleep early
a monk is strictly obligated to turn in early

exception - something that does not follow the general rule ยกเว้น
making an exception - treating something differently (not following a general rule)

How do you feel about making an exception on New Year's Eve?

don't mind - it is not a problem
I don't mind that at all.

celebration - การฉลอง
New Year celebrations

aware - knowing that something exists, or having knowledge or experience of a particular thing ทราบ
I am aware that ... - I know about ....

I am aware that New Year celebrations are very important to most people. That's a good thing.

chant - to shout or sing a word or phrase again and again, many times การสวดมนต์ หรือ ร้องเพลงสวด โห่ร้อง ร้องเพลง
go out - go out to restaurant, club or bar; eat, drink and enjoy yourself with friends, socialize เที่ยว, ไปเที่ยว
 
But when they want to chant all night at the temple instead of going out, that's even better.

monastery - the place where monks live อาราม, วัด 
monastery rules

contrary - opposite, does not agree ทางตรงกันข้าม
on the contrary, ....  - ... the different from what I just said ....

I don't think it's against the monastery rules; on the contrary,

duty - something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ
monk's duty

it's a monk's duty to lead such a ceremony

meaningful - serious, useful, and important มีความหมาย สลักสำคัญ
meaningful ceremony

secular - not religious, has no connection to religion
secular world

clerical - related to monks (or priests); the religious world
clerical world

a meaningful ceremony that connects the secular and clerical worlds together

I think it's a monk's duty to lead such a meaningful ceremony that connects the secular and clerical worlds together.

popularity - how many people like something
have nothing to do with - not related to ไม่เกี่ยว, ไม่เกี่ยวเนื่องกัน

Such ceremonies have nothing to do with popularity.

I believe people want to use the occasion to meditate, using chanting as a way to connect with what is inside their heart.

clear - easy to understand
minds are clear - having clear thoughts (not made difficult by worrying or suffering)

optimistic - feel that the future will be good; expecting good things to happen มองในแง่ดี โดยคาดหวังสิ่งที่ดี, มองโลกในแง่ดี

When their minds are clear, they can look at things in a different way, and they can be more optimistic about what the new year will bring.

sermon - when a monk gives a talk about what is right and wrong to non-monks (laymen) บทสวด, การเทศนา

tranquility - being at peace, peacefulness
inner tranquility

I will also give a sermon which will hopefully help guide people to true happiness and inner tranquility.

benefits - goods things that can happen from an activity ผลประโยชน์
What are the benefits of chanting on New Year's Eve?

plentiful - lots available
It can be done easily and its benefits are plentiful.

focused - to think about or do one thing with your brain (not many)

track - a mark or line of marks showing the direction that something has moved ร่องรอย

lose track of - to get lost; not know where something is going, not know where you are 
lose track of the ceremony

Chanting basically helps you become more focused so you don't lose track of the ceremony.

enlightenment
your mind will be clear of worldly emotions

Once you're focused and you truly understand the meaning of the ceremony, it will bring enlightenment; your mind will be clear of worldly emotions.

On top of that,
... in addition to that ...., and here is another thing ....

honour - 1. to do something to show your respect for something; 2. to do what you promised to do ทำตามสัญญา
a way to honour Lord Buddha

On top of that,
it's such an easy way to honour Lord Buddha.

recommend
- to advise someone that they should do something แนะนำ
I recommend anyone who hasn't tried it to give it a go this year

spiritual - เกี่ยวกับจิตใจ, เกี่ยวกับจิตวิญญาณ
spiritual happiness
it brings them spiritual happiness

simple - easy to understand; not complicated ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน
It's as simple as that. 

turn up - come to a place; a ppear at a place
fees - money that you pay to be allowed to do something ค่าธรรมเนียม

Q - How many people are you expecting to turn up this year? Do they need to dress in white? Are there any fees involved? 

predict - to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
participant - a person who is involved in some activity

We predict there will be several thousand participants.

dress -
1. wear clothes; 2. put clothes on
appropriately -
in the right way, suitably  เหมาะสม
dress appropriately

There is no need to dress in white - just dress appropriately.

entrance fee - ค่าผ่านประตู
And no, there are no entrance fees at all.

amulet - เครื่องราง  
worship - the activity of showing respect and love for a god or religous idea บูชา
There will be amulets for sale if people wish to buy them and worship at home.

The ceremony starts at 8pm on Monday and ends at 2am on Tuesday.

lead your life - the things that you do in your life (the activities you do, the work you do, etc)
lead my life properly - live in the right and moral way (according to the teachings of Buddhism)
How important is New Year for you? I don't believe there is anything special about it at all. To me, it's simply another day to lead my life properly.

turn back on
- to forget or reject something
turn back on Buddhism
Are Thai people turning their backs on Buddhism? 

make merit - do good, do merittorious deeds, perform acts of merit ทำบุญ, ประกอบกรรมดี มีการเลี้ยงพระ ตักบาตร ถวายจตุปัจจัยแก่พระสงฆ์ เป็นต้น
merit - to deserve something ควรได้รับ

tied up with -
busy with (have no time for other activities)
tied up with their work
personal problems
than they have been in the past

No. They still make merit, chant at home, and come to sermons when they can. I believe Thai people are still religious, but they are probably more tied up with their work and personal problems than they have been in the past.

malice -  wishing harm to others ความมุ่งร้าย
I wish your minds to be free from worry, malice, sadness and anger.

believe in  

innate - something a person was born with (something they always had)
innate goodness - to be born good

lead your life
accordingl
y
I wish you to believe in your innate goodness and lead your life accordingly.

be good to yourselves
be kind to others
I wish you be good to yourselves and be kind to others.

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