|Making an offer|
|Shop for Offerings|
I purchased a $5 rooster about a foot tall with whatever the Thai word is for Have a Good Time on its base. I figured this was appropriate in the name of my father and brother who have already passed into the heavens. One lights 3 strands of incense, and 3 candles (Love the trinity) and takes the statuette up the stairs crowded with these animals to the altar - or you could put it among the herds grouped on the grass. At the altar is a statue of the guy who had this fetish (sitting in the yoga pose) and someone had put a pair of glasses on him. Strange things can be seen in these spirit houses. Many of the Hill tribes believe in animism and shamans. But it’s hard to discern for what they are praying. I know roosters are early rises and regular - I hear them every morn.
|Under the Tummy|
However, the creme de resistance is a overwhelming project called the White Temple or Wat Rong Khan in Chiang Rai. This is a true WOW! It’s inconceivable that a respected national artist decided 16 years ago to begin a project that would take 90 years to complete, knowing he’d miss out on the celebration, (he is about 63 now). This is kitsch at its most glamorous. Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat has built exotic white temples trimmed in glass and ornament like I’ve never seen, and it goes on and on and on. Everything has a reason.
What catches your attention, if all this imagining doesn’t, is that the artist is creating this as his life project with his own money. He doesn’t accept large donations but you can buy books of his very spiritual Buddhist-style paintings modernized. He has a large art gallery on the property which also houses a collection of Ninja type knives he has made (as did the Black House artist) and other objects. Apparently he continues to paint (has had to reduce his personal output from 300 works a year to about 6) and when he does, his palate and easel await in one of the buildings in progress.
The best participation one can do is buy one of the metal “prayer” forms from the umbrella tree. It’s awesome. There is a table with sharpies and you can write your prayer and hang the ornaments (like something you’d put on your Christmas tree) on the prayer tree. At the very moment (unknowingly) the Grizzlies were fighting for victory over the Thunder, I hung one of these with “Go Grizz” on the tree. And they won! Wow.