The Buddhist Lent Day at Wat Greensboro of NC

Today is Kao Punsa at our local temple Wat Greensboro of NC.  Kao Punsa is the tradition of Buddhist Lent or the annual three-month Rains Retreat known in Laos and Thailand as Punsa, which dated back to the early Buddhism in ancient India, this is the time where monks spent three months of the annual rainy season in permanent dwellings. This is to avoid unnecessary traveling during the period when crops were still new for fear that they might accidentally step on young plants. In the ancient time, the Lord Buddha left earth for 3 months to visit his mother up in heaven, he wanted to show his gratitude by chanting for her during this Lent period. It is also considered inauspicious to get married or move house during the Lent period, and after the end of the Lent period then the calendar is open for weddings.

Young Buddhist worshipers getting ready for Alms giving.

I forgot to take my camera off the spot metering mode, it looks kind of odd but I think this image has a strange composition also.

Alms giving

After Alms giving, we then offered food to the monks.  This year we only have 2 monks that Kao Punsa at Wat Greensboro.

This is the food offering and receiving process.

Vendors selling food, vegetables and plants.

I bought the Queen of the Night for $5.  I had an interesting conversation with a Khmer lady, I thought I was going to speak Thai with a Khmer accent to her.  She didn’t know the name of this plant, and said that the Khmer people would buy this for their house for good luck.  They would lit incense sticks and candles to ask for wealth and prosperity on the Buddhist religious holidays such as Kao Punsa (beginning of the Lent period) and Ork Punsa (end of the Lent period).  I told her Lao people called it Dork Phoy Sien, and American called it the Queen of the Night.  I mentioned that Chinese people would use the flower to make soup the next morning and she thought that was kind of weird, probably with a black chicken she added. The short video clip was of the conversation that we had in Thai but with a little strange accent. The lady is Khmer, I’m Lao, and we carry a conversation in Thai language, go figure.

The persimmons look very healthy this year. I’d definitely come back for Ork Punsa, it should be ready for picking by then.

Our Temple construction is coming together slowly. The city has a long list of requirement before giving permission for the construction.  The temple has to pave a road for the firetruck to be able to access the premises.


    • Jeffrey, I think it’s more festive in Laos, I would love to be there during this time of the year.

  1. Hahahhahahha Nice conversation Nye.. It was going pretty til you told her about the chinese eating its flower. She lost her train of thoughts and probably totally amazed about your knowledge of this particular plant. That’s one thing I like about NC, everything is nice and green.

    • Hi seeharhed, it’s an interesting conversation. I did a lot of research on this flower prior to this and was surprised to see it there. I was going to buy both of them, I went to get my car to get my money and by the time I came back one of her friends bought the big one. I guess I’m a good salesperson. 🙂

  2. This type of epi has more leaves than my version. It does look healthy and $5 is a good price.

    I’m just wondering if the sales lady made up those stories about it being a lucky plant. You can probably turn any plant into a lucky plant if you sit there and send out all your good energy. JK. 🙂

    Btw your Thai is good – I feel like I’m watching Thai tv with our hostess Nye Noona. Thanks for sharing.

    • Cambree, she’s not a saleslady and was there looking at the plants also. We talked about the plant earlier and I thought we were done and started shooting the video. I guess she had more to add so I just let the camera rolling. I don’t think she knew that I was filming.

      My Thai is a bit rusty, I’ve not spoke in a long time and glad that the accent was not completely off, it would be embarrassing. 🙂

  3. How nice!! I’ve always wanted a “queen of the night” as well, but like Hlee said, I am horrible with plants!! I would play the clip but my laptop has been evil lately, it’s dying and my laptop thinks its okay for the volume to die on me…

    • mozemoua, this is the first time that I’ve seen them selling it at our temple. I wanted to buy other plants but it was too pricey for me.

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