Monk’s Bowl Village (Ban Bat)



Monk’s Bowl Village (Ban Bat)

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Monks’ bowls were first used 2,500 years ago and are still widely used today in Buddhist countries for early morning alms-gathering. Such bowls have been made at Monk’s Bowl Village in Bangkok since the late 18th century. The village once stretched as far as Wat Saket, but modern developments have reduced the village to just three homes and a cluster of small workshops. This area may be hard to find amid the maze of sois, but the bowls are sold at Wat Suthat.

The process of bowl making is time consuming and requires eight pieces of metal, representing the eight spokes of the wheel of Dharma. The first strip is beaten into a circular form to make the rim. Three pieces are then beaten to create a cross-shaped skeleton. Four triangular pieces complete the sides. After being welded in a kiln, the bowl is shaped, filed smooth, and fired again to give an enamel like surface. About 20 bowls are produced daily in the village.

At the center of the maze of alleyways next to the small village hall is an unusual and intriguing shrine, constructed from old Chinese cylinder bellows, that is dedicated to the “Holy Teacher and Ancestor.”

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