Sunday, December 09, 2007

Blessed by the Best

Superstar monk Som Sim with convenient baby, getting ready to bless my mobile phone
I've never been blessed by a monk before, so imagine my surprise that I was blessed with water and honey by probably the most famous monk in Cambodia this afternoon. Som Sim is his name and he's mobbed wherever he goes - like a Khmer rock & roll star of the monkhood. I'm serious. This monk is the Brad Pitt of monkdom. In the photo above he's doing his 'bouncing a baby on my knee' trick, which all politicians, film-stars and famous monks do. And the mobile phone being held by the monk beside him, it's mine!
So how did I come to be in the presence of this Buddhist legend? Well, I took a day trip to Phnom Baset and his pagoda is on the way back, at Wat Prasat, at a guess, some ten kilometres from National Highway No 5. The pagoda was buzzing with people, coaches and cars were arriving all the time and they all wanted to be blessed by this man. Even though he was mobbed and surrounded from the moment I arrived until I left, I was spotted by his personal aide and ushered forward to meet the great man. He was all smiles and congeniality and beckoned me to sit down and join one of his blessings, asking for my mobile phone at the same time. You can see me in the photo below - middle, second row. He proceeded to splash water over everyone, annoint me with his stick with water and sweet-smelling honey on my face and hands, and blessed me with good luck and blessed my phone too! I didn't understand his chanting but his assistant seemed well versed in conveying his blessings, and then handed me a large plastic bag of fruit which he said was a present from Som Sim. In return I gave a few dollars for the pagoda's renovation program. As I moved away, with Som Sim still smiling and thanking me for my contribution, my place was taken by another and it began all over again.
There's more to this pagoda, which is a favourite stomping-ground of the highest-level of politicians in the country, including Hun Sen, who all come to receive Som Sim's blessings, but I'll leave you with his parting words, "somnang la-or [which means, good luck]."
I'm in the 2nd row just about to be splashed and annointed with water and honey. Som Sim had to get off his chair to reach me!

1 comment:

Wanna said...

Some monks are very friendly. Water blessing makes us feel cool, giving us more confidence in works(not mainly from the Pali deriving from his mouth, I think :)).