Two days ago, after having stayed in my room for straight 10 days, I had a chance to go out for a walk with my Khmer friends and colleagues. One of my close friends asked me to join them in a long walk to visit the Pagoda. Since I also wanted to have an exercise, I said yes right away. There we go on a long walk to their Pagoda. It was a tiring journey on a quite hot afternoon. After more than an hour of walk, we finally reached the destination. It was a simple Pagoda built in the middle of farm lands. I wasn't able to have a picture taken as I wasn't able to bring any camera. Besides, I am a bit worried that the the Care Taker there won't allow shooting of pictures as it is considered a sacred place. At any rate, the Pagoda we visited looks something like this :
Pagoda in Cambodia
Photo Credit : Googles Images / www.exploremekong.org
The one we visited is much simple than the photo shown above but the structure is basically the same. I was invited by one of them to join them for prayers. As a respect to them and their belief, I obliged.
Praying started with offering of fruits, then lighting some joss sticks. You have to remove your slippers or shoes before entering the hall, kneel down and hold the lighted joss sticks moving these into downward and upward motion as you bow your head for prayers.
After some moments of prayers, joss sticks will be placed on the stands provided just outside the hall.
I noticed that they pray not only in one praying hall. They have to move around the area and enter into each hall, doing same procedures on each hall.
After praying, we decided to go back, but this time, on board a motorcycle as we don't have enough energy to go for another long walk. Besides, it's getting dark and walking back will not be convenient anymore.
Trying out something like this once in a while is also beneficial in the sense that you'll be able to learn other country's culture and religious practices through a participative learning process. I always make it a point to respect others cultures as I also expect them to respect mine. It is a good way of exploring your knowledge and understand other people's behaviors and sentiments.
It was a great day indeed!