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Thu 30 Mar 2017
Blessing a New House
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 28 January 2003 00:00

I am all wet from the lustral water that the senior monk is blessing us with. I am sitting on the floor with pins and needles in my legs. My aunt and uncle are having a special ceremony today called "kuen ban mai" at their new house.

I had to get up very early to come to my aunt’s house this morning. When I arrived there, I saw my uncle putting the white string (sai sin) around the garden. So, I went straight to help him. The sai sin started from the Buddha image and then went around the outside of the house in a clockwise direction. He was doing this to protect the house from evil spirits during the ceremony.

When the time was near, my uncle went to pick up the nine monks from the temple. Inside the house, my parents were preparing a place for the monks to sit by putting large pillows on the floor. By this time I was already feeling tired and felt like having a nap. But, a few minutes later the monks arrived. My aunt rushed to the front gate to invite them in. My mum told me that the monks couldn’t come in to anyone’s house without being invited first.

Everyone sat down on the floor and paid respect to the monks. The senior monk picked up the ball of sai sin and passed it from one monk to another until the last monk had received it. My aunt and uncle then went to offer some food at the shrine. They came back to sit in front of the senior monk who then started the chanting.

The chanting went on for about an hour. When they finished chanting, my uncle went to offer the senior monk some food. My aunt was behind my uncle touching his back. I also went to touch my mum while she was offering some food. Women can’t give anything directly to a monk. So she did it by putting the food onto a cloth first. Then the monk picked it up. While all of the monks were eating, we had to sit and wait for them to finish.

After they finished eating, they started chanting again. During that period of chanting, my uncle poured some clean water on his forefinger and into a small bowl. Everyone in the room touched each other. This is called "gruat nam" in Thai. The reason we were doing this was to pass the benefit or the merit that we just made onto the dead spirits of our ancestors.

The senior monk then stood up and walked to the front door. My uncle followed him holding some white powder mixed with water in a small bowl. The monk used that wet powder to put some marks, what we call "jerm" in Thai ,above the door.

Then, I saw my dad with the big bowl of water that the monk had blessed earlier. I got up and followed my dad. I counted the white spots on the door; altogether there were nine spots in a special pattern. It was the same kind of pattern that a monk had put on my bike when it was blessed a few months ago.

The monk then blessed the front door with the lustral water. Next he walked around the house, both inside and outside, and blessed everything he could see including the television! After he finished blessing the house, he started to bless the people. He started with my uncle and aunt and then on to everyone else there. I was sitting at the front so I was the one that got wet the most!

It is over at last. Finally, the nine monks are going back to their temple after blessing the house and making me very wet. I stretch my legs and lie down on the floor resting my body. My aunt and uncle are feeling happy and safe now that their new house has been blessed.