In Thailand it is traditional that all monastics attend the fortnightly recital of the Pātimokkha during the Rains Retreat. Having assembled a new intake of students just before the Rains we at the International Buddhist College also decided to participate.
This being a University, and not a monastery as such, means that we don’t have a sīma, which is needed for Vinayakamma (Disciplinary Actions) such as the recital of the Pātimokkha. We therefore went to a nearby temple at Wat Yang Thong, which is run by the Head Monk of the Sadao district, Phra Khru Dhammalankarn.
The recital took part in a dingy and dilapadated sīma hall, which must have been built a very long time ago. Shortly after the beginning of the Rains the temple opened a new sīma which they have been building for some time now, and the second time we went there for Pātimokkha it was in the new building.
It has been splendidly decorated with fine modern murals, and traditional decorations, and is pristine in its glory at present, so recently I managed to get back over there on a normal day and take photographs of the new building.
One thing we can see in Thailand is that the arts and crafts and still very much alive here, especially in regard to the work done at the temples. I do not know who the mural artist was, but from experience I am pretty sure it is just a local artist, no one famous, but who has had the art passed down to him, and is able to produce really wonderful and meaningful murals on the wall of the sīma.
The photographs have just been published on the Photo Dharma website, and it is possible to see the scale and fine work that has gone into the making of this building.