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The Blessing of the House

Posted Jan 22 2013 8:19am
The Thai culture places the blessing of the house as an important milestone in relation to religion, family and community.  This ancient event serves to remind one of his/her heritage and ancestors who have gone on before and also provides a measure of reverence towards a family's future health, happiness and good luck.

Thai's believe that honoring ancestors provides a reverential rememberance of those who are no longer with us, and also a way to ensure that the spirits of the ancestors remain happy and content.  Buddhist teachings tell that an unhappy spirit can generate difficulty, disruption and problems in the home of the current residents.

As the construction of our house moved forward, we always knew that once we moved in and were settled, a blessing would be on the calendar.

A blessing of the house can be a large festive affair with relatives and friends coming from near and far.   Ours was no exception with approximately 100 people attending.

In that nine is an auspicious number in the Thai culture the blessing calls for nine monks for the ceremony.  We cleared the majority of the furniture from the living room and set the seating for the monks.

The next step is to circle the house with a string.  This string represents continuity to both the past and the future and continuity among family as well.  After the house is circled the string is strung into the house.

Then the monks are seated and friends and family are invited into the house.  The string is passed from one monk to another until all are connected.  At that point the monks lead prayers and chants.  No matter what one's personal beliefs, I think one would find it hard not to be moved by the chanting.  I could fee the rhythmic chanting in my core and as I sat cross legged on the floor I found my mind traveling to a peaceful, reflective place.

The ceremony is completed by the owner's of the house receiving a special blessing, after which, gifts were passed on to the monks.

The final part of the ceremony involves the head monk drawing symbols on the front of the house.  A portion of Buddhism's roots stem from Hinduism and as a result the drawing is a combination of symbols from both religions.

The monks were then fed.

Now it was time to feed the guests.  I was humbled and awed by the hard work of so many friends and family members to make this event a success.  Family members showed up in the days prior and the day of the event to work all day, always with a gentleness and a smile.  The coming together of family was very, very moving.

The day left me in quiet awe of the gentle, giving Thai spirit, their reverence for family - both the young and the older members - and an appreciation at being invited into their world.

What started out as a simple snow bird vacation away from the cold and snow of Spokane has turned into a moving experience that will hopefully leave me as a bit of a better human.

Thank you for visiting.
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