Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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'Bend it like Buddha'

Seems like World Cup mania has affected the ability of some Buddhist monks in Thailand to attend to their more spiritual duties.

An excerpt from the BBC story:

Like billions of other people around the world, 25-year-old Phra Prawit is avidly following the World Cup – and especially his favourite team, France.

On the other side of Bangkok, 28-year-old England fan Pramaha Preecha is equally addicted to the beautiful game.

But Prawit, Preecha and their football-mad friends have a problem: they are Buddhist monks and have to be awake at 5am every morning to collect alms from the local community.

Because of the six-hour time difference between Germany and Thailand, many matches do not start until the early hours of the morning, and since the World Cup began there have been reports of monks sleeping in, leaving local Buddhists waiting in vain with their morning offerings.

One report in the Nation newspaper cited an angry woman in the city of Chiang Mai who said her birthday celebrations had been ruined because she arrived at a temple with her carefully-prepared alms, only to find that most monks were still in bed.

See David Beckham's likeness in the Buddhist temple

But Prawit and Preecha know where their priorities lie. Despite their allegiance to the football, they rarely stay up past midnight.

“I watched some football the other night, but I fell asleep after 15 minutes,” said Preecha. “I had to follow up what had happened the next morning.”

His friend Phra Phitak has an established World Cup routine. “I get up early, meditate and collect alms. But as soon as I get back to the temple for breakfast, I turn on the TV or check the internet to find out the score from the previous night's match.”

Tue, July 4 2006 » Main Page, Minutiae