They start ‘em young here. I remember being recruited by the Passionist Priests at the age of thirteen. I spent a week in a seminary during the summer of 1963, to see if I had a vocation. They thought I did, I wasn’t sure. Somehow I think I knew the Beatles were going to hit America that fall and change everything. Anyway, these young boys look like they’re having fun playing monk, and who knows, some of them might stick with it later. I don’t know how many stay with it for a lifetime, but it’s part of their basic education. Even the King spent time as a monk when he was in his late teens.
Young men in orange robes are not an uncommon sight in Thailand, because it’s a rite of passage for many eighteen year olds to shave their heads and don the orange robes for a few months. Some take it more seriously than others, and some do stay with it for life, but not many. Here are some monks sweeping the stairs at Wat Umong, near our house in Chiang Mai.