We Are Shaped by Our Thoughts

082 We Are Shaped by Our Thoughts“We are shaped by our thoughts. We become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”

Siddhārtha Gautama

This thought belongs to Buddha and the religious doctrine. Principally, like any religion there’re several branches spread out mainly in Asia. I am not the person to write much about them at all and that’s why I’d prefer to say a few words about three countries to the Southeast Asia that have amazed me with their nature, a bit odd traditions and most of all with the complexes of Buddhist temples. Here they are, all of them being on my Bucket List 🙂 :

Laos

Once upon a time there was a Kingdom of the million elephants (i.e. Lang Xang) in south-east Asia. It was mighty and large but cut off from the other Southeast Asian world. That continued almost till the end of the 20th century when the access to the country wasn’t so difficult as that in the past. That’s the reason why Laos has always been regarded as the “forgotten” country in the region.

Nowadays the most extraordinary state on the peninsula is among the poorest countries but at the same time it is one of the most beautiful ones with splendid nature, exotic temples and good-hearted people.

The capital of Laos is Vientiane and is the smallest one in the region with its 180m2 and 400 000 residents.  It’s situated on the Mekong, close to the border with Thailand.

The country is dotted by thousands of hundreds of temples that are characteristic for the whole region. Most of them are located in the cultural centre of the country and its ancient capital – Louangphrabang. The city with the difficult name was the old capital of Lang Xang and of the whole Lao Kingdom for more than 800 years. Today it houses numerous monasteries and temples built during this period of time.

When in Laos there are some certain rules that should be followed and one must comply with. For instance, visitors must never touch people, especially pet them on the heads. Anger is not tolerated by the good-hearted locals. And one more thing. Religion is an integral part of the natives’ life and visitors and tourists should have full respect for the religious traditions and customs. It’s well known that when one enters a Buddhist temple and holy place, they must take off their shoes. When pilgrims and tourists are inside they should hold their heads lower than Buddha statues and images and monks as well as they always must face them.

Myanmar

The country was renamed from Burma to Myanmar in 1989 when an official change of the English names from the country’s colonial period occurred. (The new name combines the two words “myan”/fast and “mar”/strong). Its area is about 676 600 square metres and its residents amount about 60million people. Sometimes the country is described as “Asia with an European flair” or vice versa. But despite these comparisons, Myanmar is unique because of its residents that are supposed to be the friendliest and the most hospitable people in the world.

The city of Yangon and Bangkok in Thailand are in competition regarding the statue of the Reclining Buddha and Myanmar’s capital city definitely wins it. The statue is 65metres long and is placed in a metal construction that keeps it from atmospheric and weather conditions.

But the country is famous for another more sacred place, namely the ancient city of Bagan. It’s a mystic place that occupies 42m2 and is dotted by a great number of Buddhist temples. Their number is really huge, believe me. There are about 4447 temples, 3320 of which are open to the public and visitors. It’s amazing, isn’t it? Thousands of temples housed on this scarce territory.

Cambodia

Cambodia is a Kingdom nestled between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Its total area is about 181 000 square metres and its residents – about 15 million people. The capital is Phnom Penh but in spite of its beauty, there’s one more majestic and fascinating place than it is in the country. It’s the priceless Buddhist temple complex of Angkor.

It was the capital of the mighty and powerful Khmer Empire which dominated on almost the whole Indo-China peninsula, from Thailand to Vietnam, for more than 4 centuries (from the 9th to the 12-13th century). In 1431 Siam invaded Angkor and locals left the city. Thus the temple complex “got forgotten” completely. Local weather and climate ruined and devastated the wooden buildings while the stone temples remained untouched and survived the impact of the jungle. Today the holy complex near the town of Siem Reap possesses around 100 temples spread out in an area of 200 square metres that amaze visitors with their mystic outlook and location – in the “hug” of tropical trees.

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