WAT LAO Budduram of Northern Illinois
August 11-12, 2007
Wat Lao is a small (235 families) Buddhist temple complex located on 21
acres in Hampshire, Illinois. This year, the membership purchased a new
Buddha, so they sponsored a two day blessing ceremony.
They brought monks from all over to the budduram to participate in the
ceremony. They encouraged people to bring their own Buddhas to be
blessed and re-charged.
The Buddhas were to be wrapped in white cloth and tied with white
string. Here are pictures of our Buddhas before they left home. The big Buddha is Chinese. He
had been thru the Cultural Revolution, so we were told he really needed
to be recharged.
Last year, the temple built a new five bedroom house for the monks. The
house roof is similar to those in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos. The roof
guardians are called chofas,
and were carved in Wisconsin by Laotian woodworkers. The top spire is
real gold overlay, with 3 carots of diamonds. As soon as the spire was
installed, bees moved in to guard it. This is a photo of my husband
taking our large Buddha to the altar.
All the statues are wrapped during the ceremony. There are strings and
wires to hold the strings coming from the central statue criss-crossing
the entire central area and connecting all the buildings. Coming down
from the major horizontal wires are pieces of yarn. The faithful will
kneel on the rugs, pull down a string and pray. They will, thus, be
connected to the Buddha statues and receive blessings. The praying and
blessing will go on all night.
This is a statue of one of the holy monks who died at the Wat last
year, but we didn't know this until the statue had been unwrapped. This
entire courtyard area was just completed in time for this ceremony. The
temple membership works on fixing up the temple on the weekends.
The brown umbrella-like things are to protect the monks from
mosquitoes. In Laos, monks often pray [the mosquito netting comes down
on all sides of the umbrella] in the jungle forests, so they hang these
up and pray underneath them, and their prayers will not be disturbed by