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What Does a Monk Own in Thailand?

Over the years, some monks in Thailand have appeared quite rich, driving around in Mercedes, flying on private jets, and wearing luxury items. These flamboyant Thai monks often make the news and trouble the Buddhist authorities in Thailand, who rightly see such monks as tarnishing the image of the Kindgom’s national religion. The rationale that “wealthy” Buddhist monks often cite for owning luxury goods is that they don’t actually own them but that they are the property of the temple, and/or that it was donated by a rich benefactor who was making merit.

Whether such claims are true is debatable. While it is true that the items acquired by a monk during the period of their monkhood are inherited by their temple, a Thai monk has all of the same rights of property ownership as an individual. However, it is rare to ever find a monk in the Northeast of Thailand (Isaan) with any possessions but the bare necessities, following in the footsteps of legendary forest monks such as Ajahn Mun Bhuridatta and Ajahn Sao Kantasilo.

 

The Common Items Owned by a Thai Buddhist Monk

All Buddhist monks in Thailand will own items such as an alms bowl, robe, razor and whetstone, tea kettle, holy water bowl, mosquito net, monk manual, cloth bag, canteen, sandals, water filter, bath towel, blanket, and umbrella. The following items were owned by the revered Thai monk Luang Pu Phan Panya Patipo (หลวงปู่ผ่าน ปัญญาปทีโป), who mentored under Ajahn Mun and passed away in 2011 at the age of 85. These items are on display at the temple Wat Pa Prathip Bunyaram (วัดป่าปทีปบุญญาราม) in Sakon Nakhon. Click on the image for a larger photo.

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Alms Bowl (บาตร): bàat

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Canteen (กระติกน้ำ): grà-dtìk náam

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Holy Water Bowl (บาตรน้ำมนต์): bàat nám mon

 

Thailand Monk Items
Thai Monk’s Blanket (ผ้าห่ม): phâa hòm

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Razor and Whetstone (มีดโกน หินลับมีด): mêet gohn hĭn láp mêet

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Gloves (ถุงมือ): tŭng meu

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
Thai Monk’s Hat (หมวก): mùak

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Cold Weather Garment (อังสะกันหนาว): ang-sà gan năao

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Sandals (รองเท้า): rong táo

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Socks (ถุงเท้า): tŭng táo

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Water Filter (ที่กรองน้ำ): têe grong nám

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Kettle (กาน้ำ): gaa náam

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Staff (ไม้เท้า): máai táo

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Engraving Stylus (เหล็กจารชนิดต่างๆ): lèk jaan chá-nít dtàang dtàang

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Umbrella (กลด): glòt

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Mosquito Net (ผ้ามุ้งกลด): pâa múng glòt

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Rain Towel (ผ้าอาบฝน): phâa àap fŏn

 

Thailand Monk Book
A Thai Monk’s Manual (ตำราพรหมชาติ): dtam-raa prom châat

 

Thailand Monk Book
A Thai Monk’s Calendar (ปฏิทิน): bpà-dtì-tin

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Novice Monk’s Bell (ระฆังตีเรียกพระเณร): rá-kang dtee rîak phrá nayn

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Cloth Bag (ย่าม): yâam

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Bath Towel (ผ้าอาบน้ำ): phâa àap nám

 

Thailand Monk Items
A Thai Monk’s Robe Bag (กระเป๋าบรรจุไตรจีวร): grà-bpăo ban-jù dtrai jee-won

 

The Parts of a Thai Monk’s Robes

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Robes (จีวร): jee-won

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Inner Garment (สบง): sà-bong

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Outer Robe (สังฆาฏิ): săng-kaa-dtì

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Shoulder Garment (ผ้าอังสะ): phâa ang-sà

 

Thailand Monk Clothing
A Thai Monk’s Waist Rope (ประคต): bprà-kót