Posted by: kookkhu | April 20, 2010

Temple of Laos

Historical sites included museums, architecture, forests, mountainsm waterfalls, birds singing and traditional customs and culture. The temple is one of the most attractive to examine about Lao culture. Those who don’t understand about religious say that the temple is the place for offerings and place for lazy people. In fact, the temple is very important for Lao people and their daily lives. This land was formerly called Souvannaphoum, or Lanexang kingdom, but today it is called Lao PDR. In the early times, Lao people believed in ghosts like Phifa, the sky, Phithene, the god, Phitack, the rice field ghost. Laos was buddhist when Kunluanglimao was governor of Ai-Lao in 68 AD. (Buddhist calendar in the years of 612). But after the Lao moved to Lanexang territory, they believe in the ghosts. When king Fang united the nation and Nang Keokenggna, his wife requested that he bring king Buddhiwm of Langkavog or Hinagnane from Cambodia. In 1329 (Buddhist calendar 1902) Phra Maha Pasaman, the old mank and Phra Maha Theplangka followed by 20 monk and 3 wise men brought in Buddhism from Cambodia. They brought in the Buddha image made by five different metals called Phrabang. Following Phra Maha Pasaman were a number of technicians such as : black smiths, copper smiths and gold smiths who make the Buddha image and music band of the total 5,000 persons. Since that event, many temples have been built for monks, novices and their followers to conduct Buddhist teacher teachings and organise Buddhist ceremonies.
– Library, place to study, research, teaching books and other documents.

– Museum and places to produce arts.
– Meeting places for all generations.
– Use as visiting rooms or guest house including the poor and the orphanage.
– Public places.
The above roles and actives are performed in the temples so no one can look down or break the rules of the temples and all people recognise that temples are the respected and magical centers. To enter to the temple people should pay respects from their bodies, words and hearts. Entering into the temple yard, it is cleaner and more beautiful than other places. The temple is more beautiful than houses because the villagers offers their best things to the temple properties. therefore, temples are the great heritage for the whole sociaty and the nation. In the past, the temple was the center place for donations and the production center for Lao culture. To establish the village, people like to build the temple as well. Some villages have more than one temple. As we have seen, there are many pagodas and temples in Luangphrabang and Vientiane, because these two cities are the capitals of the nation. According to the history before the Siamese invasion, Vientiane had more than 120 temples. The famous temples in Luangphrabang are : Wat Manolom built by Choa Samsenethai, son of FaNgum King in the 14th century (1378-79), Wat Visoune built by Chao Vixounenalath 1540, Wat Xiangthong built by Sayset Thathirath in 1560, Wat Sene Soukalam by Kingkitsalath in 1718, Wat Luang by Manthatoulath in 1818 and Wat Mai built by Chao Souvannaphoummaram in the 15-16 century. In Vientiane : Wat Phrakeo built in 1565, Wat Sisaket 1824 by Anouvong, Wat Ong Tue in the 15th century, Wat Inpeng in 16th century, Wat Thatluang, Wat Sokphaluang, Wat Simoung ….At Savannakhet : Wat Xiagnaphoum, Wat Xaignamonkhoune … At Pakse : Wat Pho, Wat prabath, Wat Phou Champasak ….
These temples above are mainly in the big cities and along the Mekong. Others in the mountainous and remote provinces like Houaphan, Xiangkhoang, Salavan, Attapue were almost destroyed by the war. The temple or Wat is the place to organise the Buddhist ceremonies and rites such as : Bun, Buddhist ceremonies which is once performed in every 12 month. No one can separate the temple and the ceremonies.


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