At study

I don’t know how they manage to cope with all the work they have to do. I’m not kidding, apart from the usual school syllabus the novices have all their Dhamma and Pali studies to do as well. Still I have spied them playing a bit of footy on occasion so it’s obviously not all work!

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Whatever they are doing you can be sure their Pali books won’t be far away. I think that’s Samanen Coco on the left.

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When the novices aren’t in the classroom you can usually see them memorising Pali.

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The day’s lessons begin with a few chants led by one of the monks.

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Samanen Nut

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Breaktime!

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A Thai lesson outside.

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These are the classrooms from the outside. They are continually being added to in order to keep up with the demand. If I haven’t already mentioned it the school is only a year or so old. We’re in to the second year at the moment and the amount of novices doubles each year.

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A Dhamma lesson being administered by one of the junior monks.

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A couple of snaps to show off scenery which can be enjoyed from the classroom balconies.

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This is Samanen On (sp?) the senior novice. I think he’s  about nineteen. Very friendly but rather strict with the younger novices which I guess isn’t a bad thing seeing as most of us in charge are seen as ‘soft touches’. He does look a bit fierce don’t you think? I know the younger ones are wary of him.

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Planting rice

We’ve started planting rice this year. Yom Yai has land surrounding the school which she has had landscaped into paddy fields. The idea is to help feed the novices next year.

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They all had these hats to protect them from the sun. Even though it was rather cloudy that day I still managed to burn myself. This is Samanen Bon.

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Samanen Don

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Samanens Bon and Nut.

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Ajahn Ratana grew up planting rice in Cambodia and was looking forward to this day immensely (a bit disconcerting actually).

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They wore jumpers to protect them from the sun – Samanens Prem and Win.

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This is Samanen Oh (not sure how to spell that).

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Samanen Nut (I believe he won the coolest hat of the day prize).

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Getting wet.

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Not sure who this is.

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Samanens Bao and Niu (pronounced New)

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Work begins.

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The rice to be planted is purchased in bunches like these. From a bunch you take a few shoots and using a technique which I couldn’t quite grasp placed the shoots into the clay like mud. You then just continued like this day after day until either you finished or your back broke. I managed about 10 minutes.

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Samanen Gob which translates as Frog in Thai.

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They worked like this the entire weekend and I believe they enjoyed themselves, although a lot of them contracted  some sort of skin condition or other from standing in muddy water for so long. Still, at least next year they won’t starve.

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Definitely a hardy lot – puts me to shame really.

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This is Saoeak (pronounced Sow ache). He constantly has skin problems and was taking extra precautions.

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An arty shallow depth of field shot.

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Samanen Jan (he was born in January). The mud was quite deep in places.

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Another Samanen Niu.

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Samanen Don.

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A better shot of Samanen Niu.

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I think this was about midmorning. Already they’ve covered a lot of ground.

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This gentleman lives and works at the school. He is very friendly and I’ve gone and forgotten his name.

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One of the teachers, Ajahn Samai.

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Not much left of this field, but plenty more waiting to be started.

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A better shot of Ajahn Samai.

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Samanen Dohree.

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A finished field.

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Samanen Saoeak taking a rest.

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Samanen Kay.

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Samanen Gon.

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Samanen Niu. Getting close to lunch time which I’m sure they were looking forward to. They ate on site.

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Samanen Off (sp?)

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Another shot of a finished field.

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Samanen Bun.

I’ll end the post here.

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Trip out to Sukothai

These are shots taken whilst out visiting the ancient city of Sukothai last year. I think it was a holiday and history lesson combined.

The Kingdom of Sukothai existed from 1238 till 1438 and it has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage historical park. Sukothai seceded from the Khymer empire around 1180.

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The novices were all issued with identity badges in case they got lost – no one did fortunately.

Team shot in front of a standing Buddha displaying the fearlessness mudra.

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Another group shot with three of the teachers.

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There were a number of these ruins about, in fact there was very little which wasn’t in ruins.

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…and also quite a few stupas.

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I think Yom Yai enjoyed herself.

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I like this shot; I didn’t take these photos by the way, for some reason I managed to leave my camera in my kuti.

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…and even more stupas.

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Lunch by the lake.

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After Sukothai we visited a temple. Oh dear, who’s that yawning in the back there?

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Instruction from Yom Yai.

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A day out – PeeDahKohn festival

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An annual festival to do with spirits, planting rice and something about escorting the living home if I recall. It was fun even though it was very hot. Thankfully we didn’t have to wear anything like you see in the photo.

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Here’s another one. A lot of work goes into making the masks which are all done by hand.

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Little Novice KnickKnack.

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That’s pretty spooky.

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Novices KnickKnack and Kay.

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Some sort of fertility dance perhaps.

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Novice Don on the left with Ajahn Ratana (in the middle). Ajahn Ratana is a very nice Cambodian monk who works very hard for the school. I’m not sure how long he’ll stay as he plans to study for an M.A. in the future.

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Photo time.

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Novice Don who is Yom Yai’s right hand assistant and can usually be found being busy around the kitchen.

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Spontaneous photography moment.

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Novice Sunin at the back, a senior novice.

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With Ajahn Ratana.

Here ends the post.

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Evening clinic

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YomYai opens her clinic after the evening service. Plasters, herbal remedies but most of all Love.

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Loei Novice school

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This is the front of what might be called the canteen. The school used to be a resort and this was/is the main dining area.

 

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This is Novice Kay. The picture was taken last year when he was in the first year. The school actually has only been going for a year and so Kay belongs to the first generation of students. At the moment he’s probably the best at English in the school.

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As the school is fairly remote this is the closest we get to going out on alms round.

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