Monday, December 10, 2007

Blessing by drenching

A crowd of people seeking Som Sim's blessings, get a drenching
One of the ways in which Som Sim, the head monk at Wat Prasat dispenses his good luck blessings is by drenching a crowd of people with holy water, which he has himself blessed. I didn't get too close as the water was flying everywhere, but this group of twenty people, some stripped to the waist, were more than happy to be completely drenched in cold water, most of it flying at them from buckets swung by some of the younger monks, who seemed to take great delight in their duty. The photo below is of a beaming Som Sim himself, perhaps pleased with his drenching session, as he returns to his normal seat ready to bless another group and me, in a more restrained fashion. Som Sim is head of over 150 monks at the temple and attracts crowds of people every Saturday and Sunday to his pagoda. His reputation stretches far and wide across the country and he spends most of his weekdays attending private functions with a host of Cambodia's movers and shakers seeking his blessings. He literally never stopped for a moment in the hour or so I was at the pagoda and when he wasn't dispensing his good luck with his wand, he was blowing into bottles of water constantly handed to him by his aides. I've visited many pagodas over the course of my travels in Cambodia but this was the most entertaining, interesting and fun-filled visits I've enjoyed - due in large part to the vibe emanating from Som Sim, one of the few larger-than-life characters I've met to-date.

Som Sim in more restrained fashion, enjoying his popularity, whilst one of his monks sends an sms to a friend on my mobile!

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