Monks were on the same category as unicorns for me, I see pretty photos of them everywhere yet I know so little about them. Since it was my first time to see monks in the flesh (and in the robe) I took every chance I got to snap a photo of them. It surprised me that some of them were smoking cigarettes and using DSLRs since I’ve always assumed that they’re supposed to live a life of goodness and poverty or something. From what I learned from talking to people in Thailand and Cambodia (and from Googling ‘how do Buddhist monks live’) here are my three wow-I-learned-something-new-about-monks:
1. Monks only eat twice a day. Their food comes from whatever is given to them by the community.
2. The younger monks in Cambodia are usually orphans, when I asked what’s the minimum age for being a monk, our tour guide told me that at the very least they should be big enough to carry about two kilos worth of food.
3. Smoking is not considered a sin for monks; however, the Cambodian government discourages people from giving cigarettes to the monks.
Whoops. Did I just interrupt a moment? (I kid, I kid.)