Coming to Laos for over ten years, I’ve learned that every Lao village (village is “ban” in Lao) has a temple. (Ethnic villages have different customs and practices.) No matter what the economic circumstances of the village are, the villagers work hard to help ensure their village has a temple. Generally, the temples are ornate and well-taken care of. Paintings depicting the history of Lao or the history of Buddha adorn the temple walls, sometimes on the outside and sometimes within. Temple grounds may house just a temple itself (temple is “wat” in Lao), or there may be may other points of worship and paying respect, dormitories for the monks and novices. Each edifice has significant meaning and an important story behind them.

Below are scenes from Ban Xaisathan’s temple, as we walked through the temple grounds. Our hope is to visit, where permissible, the temple interiors. This temple is set on the Mekong River.

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We were able to see a large Buddha, the largest we’ve seen within temple grounds here in Laos. We saw the seven Buddha’s (perhaps, misnamed), representing each day of the week. There was a typical drum tower, which we hear early in the morning and during the twilight hours each day. In the background, the novices and monks were taking care of domestic activities, e.g., washing their clothes, sweeping the temple grounds and temple edifices.

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