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Foreigners awakening

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“Everywhere I went there were temples and monks, something I had never seen before,” writes Norwegian student Per Marius Nerby, who came away with as many questions as answers from his fascinating experience. 

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Foreigners awakening

Per Marius Nerby
Religion here is more important than any place I’ve been before, even in my home country Norway where it doesn’t hold such importance. The importance of the teachings of the Buddha is seen everywhere.

Monks everywhere

Everywhere I went there were temples and monks, something I had never seen before. I think they are magnificent in their own way. The colour of the monk’s robes and the serenity of the temples create a sense of happiness and calmness which I enjoy a lot. I’ve tried to be neutral in a sense that I can’t really have any second opinion about the temples and the monks, but they still give me the chills. It’s like they know how I am feeling just by looking at me. I know it’s kind of hard to understand and it’s even harder to try and explain it.

Change of lifestyle

Some of the monks led ”normal” lives before they became monks and it is really interesting to hear what they have to say about why they chose to be monks and how they devoted their lives to become awakened. One of the monks we met had been a soldier before he went to be a monk, and he visits his family regularly. Another monk said he didn’t like his family; it’s not that they don’t accept him, it’s more like he just doesn’t feel at home.

In the streets early morning

I can see monks walking around with bowls and even some sitting, but most of them are walking. Some people give them food in their bowls. And some of them are just walking by, like they do not exist. I smile at the monks as I don’t have any food to give and I pass by them. There are so many questions I want to ask them; are you allowed to own things? Do you get paid to be a monk? And so on. I don’t have the nerve to go and just ask them as I feel they would not like it at all so I just let it be for this time.

Good vibes

If you are religious or not, I believe you can enjoy the atmosphere and the vibes from the monks and their temples as much as they do, and I recommend visiting the temples in Thailand as for me, it was a remarkably good experience

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atmosphere: the mood or feeling that exists in a place - บรรยากาศ

awaken: to become aware or to make somebody aware of something and its possible effects or results - ทำให้เข้าใจความจริง

chills: a feeling of fear or being uncomfortable (often "give someone the chills", i.e., to make them feel afraid) - ความกลัว

devote: to spend a lot of time or effort doing something - อุทิศ,สละ,ใส่ใจ

magnificent: very good, beautiful or deserving to be admired - สง่างาม, ดีเลิศ, หรูหราฟู่ฟ่า

nerve: bravery or confidence necessary to do something difficult, unpleasant or rude - ความกล้า

neutral: not supporting either side in a disagreement, competition or war - เป็นกลาง, ไม่ฝักใฝ่ฝ่ายใดฝ่ายหนึ่ง

normal: typical, usual or ordinary; what you would expect - ปกติ, ภาวะปกติ

recommend: to advise someone that they should do something - แนะนำ

religious: believing strongly in a religion or the existence of a god or gods - เคร่งศาสนา

sense: a strong feeling or belief - ความรู้สึก

sense: the meaning that a word or phrase has; an understanding about something - ความหมาย

serenity: a feeling of being calm or peaceful - ความสงบเงียบ, ความสงบ, ความเยือกเย็น

vibe: feeling - อารมณ์ความรู้สึกที่มีต่อคน สิ่งของ สถาน

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