A common misconception is that Buddhist monks in Bangkok are Buddhist monks for life. This is only true for some as the majority of Thailand’s monks only serve a temporary or short-term ordination. This can be days, weeks, months or years. Most males will spend a period of life as a Buddhist monk in ordination. They then return to their normal life in ‘laity’ and back to their nine to fives.
Buddhist monks in Bangkok are better found in the early morning hours. This is when monks carry alms bowls in temple areas for “bintabat” a ritual for collecting donations their temple. Traditionally donations include food and rice to eat and flour to perform Buddhist rituals. Donors receive a blessing and gain merit under Buddhism. After Bintabat monks return to the temple grounds.
Monks do not approach donors. They do not ask for money. If they do there is a good chance of not being a monk. For full details on temporary ordination check our Live Less Ordinary blog.