Friday, April 3, 2015

TRAVEL | making merit

Many who practice Buddhism believe that an accumulation of good deeds carries on throughout their life and subsequent incarnations. In Thailand, people make good merit by releasing fish or birds in Temples because they believe that giving an animal their freedom is considered a good deed.

However, many people have exploited the practice, twisted the original intention, and turned it into a commodity. So very often you'd see buckets of fish being sold at the temples -- fish caught especially to be released -- which is incredibly ironic, don't you think?

Anyways, instead of buying the fish from the temples, my friends (twin sisters from BKK) suggested we go to the local wet market to purchase our fish for releasing. The fish we bought were just ordinary catfish, meant to meet their end in bottom of a pot or in a wok full of hot oil. It seemed unfair to buy just a few so we ended up taking the whole batch with us. Three for me and the rest divided between my friend's family.

Then their uncle drove us to the temple. We hopped off, said our prayer, and let the fish go. I sorry to say I was embarrassingly squirmy when it came to untying the plastic bag and bringing it to the water. But to be fair the fish were getting kind of jumpy. Perhaps they could sense the water?

In the end we had about five or seven bags of fish to release, so it took some time to get through all of them. I have to admit, it was a good feeling to see them slip away into the murky waters. Some even resurfaced for a quick second as if to say goodbye, and then they were gone forever.

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