Buddhism a Go-Go.
Bang one gong . Four a.m. Buddhism a go-go starts all over again .
The cymbal crash is instantly muffled , reverberations that spread and die to softness , like ripple rings in mango shower puddles .
Still Siam night , between late dusk and early dawn , the gong bang summons movement in the purple shadows of the golden temple , slowly moving spiritual forms .
The air is heavy with the scent of ten thousand years of buddhist reverence , of oil lamps and lotus flowers , of sandalwood and frankincense .
From the searching silence , monks appear , heads shaved and bowed , hands clasped . Yellow robes dimly glimmering , and sandals scuffing softly on the hallowed ground .
This is Therevada Buddhist territory , at the ancient temple called Bang Na Wat , on the eightfold path , to the East of old Bangkok .
The monks file quietly past , towards the emerald tiled central square . Lazy temple dogs lie yawning in the dust , unmoved , they've seen it all before . And somewhere in the middle distance , an early morning train horn faintly sounds . A salient reminder of these contemporary times .
The monks assemble on the square , facing East , nine rows of nine , together without division . Theres a discernable shake of prayer bells as they all assume the lotus position . Then once again silence blooms , like a giant flower opening in the slowly melting gloom .
Smack flat sticks . Four thirty a.m. Buddhism a go-go once again . The sharp slap of wood is plainly heard , then instantly gone . The monks raise there heads and start to chant . There is power here , unified voices together sounding as one . The dark shadows of night seem to drift away . There is light in the eastern sky . These devout and unashamed men are the heralds at the birth of yet another day .
Here , in this land , the sun rises quickly . It casts beams of light through the incense smoke that drifts thickly . It illuminates the robes of the monks on the square . It bounces off puddles , and puts rainbows into the air . It brings warmth . It brings life . It brings buddhists into the day from out of the night .
Temple bell tolls . Five a.m. Buddhist devotions are over again . The monks slowly rise and disperse from the square , leaving only a tangible feeling of righteousness , passed through the centuries , hanging in the air .
Some people know what goes on here every dawn as the world slowly comes alive , and they say a little prayer no matter where their sun will rise .
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