Chapter 7: Lao Folk Law

Introduction

"Phya Thaen has wronged the ancient customary rite.
As a heavenly angel, how can he forget the ancient cutomary rite?
Why has he neglected to follow the ancient prescription?
I have done my rightful duties as a ruler of a city.
How dare he twist and distort the facts, and harass us all here!
How dare he stop the rainfall, which is awfully unseemly!"1
 

(Phya Khankhaak, the Toad King's speech on Phya Thaen's violation of his duties.)

Lao folk law has been known to Lao people since the remote time set in ancient Lao folk literature.  The above quote reveals that there are rules that both humans like Phya Khankhaak, the Toad King and celestial beings like the rain god, Phya Thaen, must follow.  The above incident refers to the conflict between the Toad King and the rain god.  The Toad King followed his duties of providing for the people so much that they neglected to pay homage to Thaen the rain god.  Thaen became humiliated and refused to send rain to earth which was one of  his "prescribed" duties.  He also sent "hellish fire" to the earth causing all creatures to face dire destruction.  Thus, the Toad King produced the angry speech above.

The above law that the Toad King mentioned describes duties of the king and the rain god.  It was not recorded in writing, but it had been practiced for a long time and it had become a "customary rite," which is called ຮີດ (heet means old law, rules, a ruling system ) or ຄອງ (khong means customs, laws, rules)    Much of the Lao ancient folk law is included in the rites.  Later, some of the ancient law has been recorded on palm leaf manuscripts. It is interesting to note that some of the law has been taken from various literary and religious sources.   These sources of Lao law include some of the Lao folk tales, Buddhist precepts, some Jataka tales, some Panchatantra tales, and so on.  It is also interesting that once the law had been recorded, stories have been used to illustrate and elaborate the law to make it clearer.  Jaruwan Thammawat has done a good job in describing and analysing some of these points in chapter 3 entitled "Isan-Lan Chang Law Literature" of her book on Folk Literature, a Case Study of Isan-Lan Chang Literature.  This chapter will present only the ritual law for commoners and for kings.  The ritual law to be presented is called ຄອງສຶບສີ່ (Khong Sip Si or the Fourteen Laws) which comes in two sets: one for rules and kings; and one for commoners.  For commoners, there is another set of laws to follow called ຮີດສຶບສອງ (Heet Sip Song or the Twelve Monthly Ritual).  As for Lao written folk law, please refer to the list of books in the notes.3

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The Fourteen Laws for Kings and Rulers4

The fourteen laws for kings and rulers are the following:

First, a king must appoint honest, industrious, attentive, and charismatic personages to be his
assistants and ministers.

Second, a king must call regular meetings with his assistants and ministers to administer the
city so that it will flourish.

Third, a king must follow the Ten Royal Virtues:
dana--charity, liberality, generosity; sila--high
moral character;
pariccaga--self-sacrifice; ajjava--honesty, integrity; maddava--kindness and
gentleness;
tapa--austerity, self-control, non-indulgence; akkodha--non-anger, non-fury;
avihimsa--non-violence, non-oppression; khanti--patience, forbearance, tolerance;
andavirodhana--non-opposition, non-deviation from righteousness, conformity to the law.5

Fourth, on the New Year's Day (the fifth lunar month), invite monks to chant and bless the
people by sprinkling lustral water on them. The people, in turn, pour perfumed water on the monks as a sign of thanks.

Fifth, on the New Year's Day, the king's assistants and ministers must present tributes to the
king and humbly pour lustral water on the king.

Sixth, in the sixth lunar month, hold a royal oath ceremony which begins with the Buddhist
monks' chanting and pouring lustral water on all in the ceremony. Then the king's assistants and
ministers drink the lustral water and swear an oath to be loyal to their Lord of Life or the king.

Seventh, in the seventh lunar month, hold a ceremonial feast for the patron spirit of the city and a ceremony to worship the Devata of the Four Great Kings.

Eighth, in the eighth lunar month, invite Buddhist monks to chant and give a sermon before
adding supporting shims to the city post
(Siva linga).

Ninth, in the ninth lunar month, make a proclamation for the citizens to make merit for the
dead called
Bun Khao Pradab Din (ບຸນເຂົ້າປະດັບດຶນ--ceremony of placing food on the ground).

Tenth, in the tenth lunar month, make a proclamation for the citizens to make merit for the
deceased relatives called
Bun Khao Saak (ບຸນເຂົ້າສາກ--the ceremony of offering food to monks by drawing donors' names).

Eleventh, in the eleventh lunar month, make a proclamation for the people to make merit at
the end of Buddhist Lent and make pilgrimages to royal temples.

Twelfth, at the end of the eleventh lunar month, make a proclamation for people to make
merit called
Bun Kathin (ບຸນກະຖຶນ--making merit by donating new monk's robes and other monastic necessities) in temples throughout the kingdom.

Thirteenth, in the twelfth lunar month, hold a gathering of all ministers, courtiers, and citizens at
the royal ground from which the king would be carried in a procession to the river and have holy
water be humbly sprinkled on him for blessing purposes. Then, boat racing begins on the thirteenth day of the waxing moon.

Fourteenth, the city ruler must provide for the fourteen auspicious qualities:

First, to have the ear of the city which means to have wise diplomats.
Second, to have the eye of the city which means to have poets and wise men.
Third, to have the core of the city which means to have monks or holy men who are
knowledgable in the Dhammic Disciplines.
Fourth, to have the gate of the city which means to have sufficient weapons for the city's
defense.
Fifth, to have the foundation of the city which means to have able royal astrologers who can
foresee future events.
Sixth, to have the root of the city which means to have brave and just royal relatives and
administrators.
Seventh, to have the crossbeam of the city which means to have courageous and strong
military forces.
Eighth, to have the wall of the city which means to have honest and faithful village chiefs.
Ninth, to have the beam of the city which means to have able and moral ministers and
noblemen.
Tenth, to have the boundary of the city which means to have able ministers to take
surveillance of the city boundaries.
Eleventh, to have the sense of the city which means to have wealthy merchants and
businessmen.
Twelfth, to have the heart of the city which means to have able physicians and royal
daughters.
Thirteenth, to have the resources of the city which means to have rich natural resources such
as gold and silver mines, trees, and quality citizens.
Fourteenth, to have the clouds of the city which means to have the patron spirit of the city, the
city post, and guardian deities.

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The Fourteen Laws for Commoners6

The Fourteen Laws for commoners includes the following:

First, after harvesting new rice or new fruits, offer them to holy personages first before
consuming them and distributing them among relatives.

Second, do not cheat the balance of the scale, do not lend money for interest, and do not
utter vulgar or indecent language.

Third, after erecting the house posts and walls, build a spirit house to worship guardian deities
in all four directions.

Fourth, wash one's feet before ascending to the house.

Fifth, on holy days (the seventh or eighth and the fourteenth or fifteenth days of the lunar
month) hold ceremonies to apologize to house bricks, kitchen, ladders, and doors of the house.

Sixth, wash one's feet before going to bed.

Seventh, on holy days, wives should take candles, incense sticks, and flowers to beg
apologies from their husbands and to present worshipping units to the monks.

Eighth, on the fifteenth day of the waxing and waning moon, invite monks to chant in the
house and offer food to them.

Ninth, when monks come to take alms, do not let them wait. Do not touch the monks' bowls,
do not touch the monks or novices, do not carry children, and do not carry any weapon when
offering food to the monks.

Tenth, when monks take an annual penance, prepare trays of popped rice, flowers, candles,
incense sticks, and other necessities for them.

Eleventh, when a monk is passing, sit down and wai before and while speaking to him.

Twelfth, do not step on the shadow of a monk or holy personage.

Thirteenth, do not offer left-over food to monks or husbands.

Fourteenth, do not have sexual intercourse on holy days, the first day and the last day of
Buddhist Lent, Songkran Day (Thai New Year's day which falls on April 13), and on one's
birthday.

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The Twelve Month Ritual7

The Twelve Month Ritual refers to the custom of making merit for each of the twelve lunar months.  According to ancient Lao customs, the first merit making begins with the Thai/Lao
New Year which is in the fifth lunar month.

In the fifth lunar month, Songkran Ceremony (
ກຸດສງການ--kudsongkaan or Lao New Year's Festival) should be held. In this ceremony, people splash water on each other, have a Songkran parade, clean, wash, and pay homage to the Buddha images, pour lustral water on Buddhist monks, respected persons, and bring sand to build sand stupas on the temple grounds.

Click to see video of Lao New Year's Festival in Luang Phra Bang

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There is a story told in Laos to explain why Lao people pour water on each other on  the New Year in the fifth lunar month.  The story is called Nang Sangkaan.8

Once a rich man had a son, Thao Thammapaala,  who was a most intelligent and wise man.  Once he had learned all kinds of knowledge, he established his own school.   He taught his pupils and other people until he became well-known all over the land.  

At that time, Thao Mahaphom,9 also called Kabinlaphom, descended to ask Thao Thammapaala a riddle with the condition that if Thammapaala could solve the riddle, Kabinlaphom would behead himself in acceptance of Thammapaala's wisdom.  But if Thammapaala could not solve the riddle, his head would be cut off.

The riddle was:

"Where does the human grace dwell in the morning, noon, and evening?"
ມື້ອເຊ້າສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ             ມື້ອສວາຍສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ            ມື້ອຄ່ຳສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ
mue sao sili yuu bon dai     mue suai sili yuu bon dai       mue kham sili yuu bon dai

Thammapaala could not solve the riddle right away.  So, he asked for an extension of seven days to ponder the riddle.  His request was granted.  But after three days, he still could not solve the riddle.  He became so ashamed of himself that he fled from his own home and wandered aimlessly in the forest for many days.  He became so exhausted that he had to take a rest under a palm tree on the top of which was a nest of two eagles, a husband and a wife.  Thammapaala overheard the conversation between the two birds.

The female eagle asked, "What are we going to have for lunch tomorrow?"

The male eagle replied, "We are going to have Thammapaala's corpse for lunch.   He will be killed because he cannot solve Kabinlaphom's riddle."

The female eagle asked again, "What is the riddle?"

The male eagle replied, "Where does the human grace dwell in the morning, noon, and evening? (ມື້ອເຊ້າສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ ມື້ອສວາຍສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ ມື້ອຄ່ຳສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ).  The answer is quite simple.  In the morning, human grace dwells in the face.  Thus, to be propitious, we must wash our face after we wake up.  At noon, human grace dwells in the chest.  Thus, to be propitious, we must  rub our chest with water at noon.  In the evening, human grace dwells in the feet.  Thus, to be propitious, we must wash our feet before we go to bed."  After hearing the conversation, Thao Thammapaala hurriedly got up and rushed home. 

In the morning, Kabinlaphom came to see Thammapaala.  Once Thammapaala could solve the riddle, Kabinlaphom kept his promise.  But before he behead himself, he called his seven daughters to see him.  He then gave them instructions:

"I will cut off my head to pay homage to Thammapaala for his profound wisdom.   But if my head falls on the earth, it will cause hellish fire.  If it is thrown in the air, there will be no rain.  If it is thrown in the sea, the sea will go dry.  So, you must bring a tray to receive my head and then place the tray in a small hall called mondob (ມົນດົບ or Lao people call it   ຫໍຜີ hophii--the ghost's hall).  This hall is in a cave called Khanthumaalii in Kailash mountain."   So, all was done according to his instructions.  When the aniversary of his death arrived, each year one of his seven daughters would go to recover her father's head and wash and clean it.  Then, they would go in a procession around Mount Sumeru.  When that was done they would bring the tray to keep in the same place.

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Maha Sila Viravongs further explains that the above celabration is not Buddhist, but Brahmanism.  Later, Lao people changed the tradition, but kept the idea of carrying the Buddha image and respected persons in the procession and pouring water on them. 

In the New Year's festival, Lao people also build miniature mountains made of sand.   This is to remember the above story.  The sand mountains represent Mount Sumeru in the story.  Later, it has become a tradition of Lao people to bring sand to build the miniature mountains on the temple ground and leave them there.  Later, the temple could make use of the sand for construction or to cover up weeds.

In the sixth lunar month, the following ceremonies and rites should be practiced: celebration of Wisakhabucha Day (ວັນວຶສາຂະບູຊາ--the anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and nirvana ), ceremony of pouring lustral water over revered and learned monks, the ploughing ceremony to mark the beginning of the rice planting season, and the construction of new houses or newlywed housing.Bun Bangfai (ບຸນບັ້ງໄຟ--the rocket festival or fertility rite). It is believed that the shooting of the local bamboo rockets in the sky is a signal for the rain god, Phya Thaen, to send rain to earth.  In this festival, the story of Phadaeng Nang Ai is related.

Click here to see the video of the Rocket Festival in Laos.  Legend, Parade and Dance

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In the seventh lunar month, the following ceremonies and rites should be observed: the
ceremonial feast for the city spirit and
siva linga of the town or city called Mahesak Lakmuang (ລຽ້ງມະເຫສິກຫລັກເມືອງ).  In the Twelve Monthly Ritual, it is prescribed that a feast for celestial beings inside and outside of the city (Vientiane) walls must be organized.  In the Fourteen Rules for Kings, it is prescribed that "the King or ruler of a city must hold a feast for celestial beings, the siva linga, the ears of the city, the eyes of the city, the clothes of the city, the body of the city.  He must humbly invite all celestial beings mentioned to clean the city and to be on guard for the city to be safe from all dangers and diseases."  There was a legend to explain why the above ceremony must be held.

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In the eighth lunar month, Preecha Phinthong cites two Buddhist holy days which should be observed--
Asanhabucha Day (ອາສານຫະບູຊາ, the full moon day of the eight lunar month which marks the anniversary of the day on which the Buddha delivered the First Sermon to his first 1250 disciples at Deer Park in Benares) and Buddhist Lent (the day after Asanhabucha Day). Activities relating to these holy days include preparation of candles to offer to monasteries, offering monks' robes, incense sticks, candles, and oil to the monks to use in their meditation and study of Buddhist Scriptures during Lent, and listening to sermons.  Maha Sila Viravong mentions only the Buddhist Lent in his Heet Sipsong (The Twelve Monthly Ritual).   He also gives a story which was the origin of Buddhist Lent. 

During the rainy season, most traders would stop travelling because the paths were mostly muddy.  Yet, the Buddha's disciples did not stop their travelling.  The people began to complain about how those disciples trampled on their rice fields, spoiling the rice crops.  When the Buddha heard those complaints, he set up the rule that Buddhist monks must stay in their temple for three months beginning from the first waning moon of the eighth lunar month until the first waning moon of the eleventh lunar month.   During this time, the monks must not stay overnight anywhere else except for their own designated temple unless there were specific urgent matters specified in the Scripture.

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In the ninth lunar month on the fourteenth night of the waning moon,
Bun Khao Pradab Din (ບຸນເຂົ້າປະດັບດຶນ--the rite of placing foods on the ground) should be observed. People are required to prepare four sets of rice and food (main staples and desserts) in small banana leaf packets. The first set is for monks, the second for members of the family, the third for relatives, and the last for the dead.  This last set will be placed on the branches of trees or temple walls before sunrise. After that, the donors will pour water on the ground to dedicate the merit to the dead. Listening to a sermon all day is another activity that can be observed.  Maha Sila Viravongs again gives a story to tell the origin of this ritual.

Once in the Buddha's lifetime, relatives of King Phimphisaan of Rajakue were preparing meals to offer to the Buddha and his disciples.  While they were cooking, the children came and asked to have some.  The cooks wanted the children to go away, so they gave some food to the children. After the children died, they were reborn in hell to repay for eating the food intended for monks.  After that they were born as wandering ghosts.    One day King Phimphisaan presented food to the Buddha and his disciples.  But, he did not dedicate the merit to his deceased relatives.  So, the wandering ghosts who had been King Phimphisaan's relatives could not have any food.   That night as the king was falling asleep, he heard a moan and cry and knocking sounds on the walls all night.  He could not sleep.  In the morning he went to recount the events that happened to him at night.  The Buddha explained that the sounds came from the wandering ghosts who were the king's relatives.  They came to beg for food and merit.  The Buddha advised the king to make merit and dedicate it to them.  So the king did and all his relative wandering ghosts were reborn in heaven.   There were still many wandering ghosts around and they would be released from hell on the fourteenth night of the waning moon in the ninth lunar month.   Thus, people observe this ritual of placing food on the ground for these wandering ghosts and spirits to take just one night a year.

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In the tenth lunar month,
Sartkaan ( ສາຣະທະ--mid-year ceremony) includes the following
activities:
Bun khao saak (ບຸນເຂົ້າສາກ--the drawing of donors' names by monks)--in this ceremony a monk draws a donor's name and the particular donor will offer food to the monk; offering monks' under-robes; listening to a sermon from the Buddhist Scripture all day; and placing small banana leaf packets of rice on the ricefields.  Maha Sila Viravongs explains that this ritual is much the same as the bun khao padab din previously mentioned with a minor difference. 
This ritual is also called
bun ho khao yai (ບຸນຫໍເຂົ້າໃຫຍ່) because in the packages to be placed on the ground, a special kind of rice called khao mathupaayaat or khao saat (ເຂົ້າມະທຸປາຍາດ ຫລື ເຂົ້າສາຣທ) is included.  The ritual previously mentioned is called bun ho khao noi (ບຸນຫໍເຂົ້ານ້ອຍ) because khao mathupaayaat or khao saat (ເຂົ້າມະທຸປາຍາດ ຫລື ເຂົ້າສາຣທ) is not included.

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In the eleventh lunar month, the end of the Buddhist Lent (
ອອກວັດສາ ຫລື ອອກພິນສາ ຫລື ປະວາລະນາ) includes many important ceremonies: the torch lighting (lantern) ceremony; floating of the lit boats; boat racing to celebrate the Naga Kings' well-being; offering wax castles; offering monks' blankets, and beginning the Kathin ceremony.

Maha Sila Viravongs states that this ritual does not concern lay people.  Later, Lao people adopted some Brahman rituals and included them into this ritual.  In Brahmanism, the people would make floats and lanterns to worship Brahma, Vissanu, and Siva from the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month until the first waxing moon of the first lunar month.  After that they would float all the floats and lanterns in the river for cleansing off their sins and misfortunes.  Later, Lao people adopted all activities, changing the original purpose of the ritual to the worshipping of the Buddha and to thank the river goddess for providing water for human consumption.  In Thailand, people include one more activity in this ritual; Devo Rohana offering food to monks, and listening to the Devo Rohana sermon.10

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In the twelfth lunar month,
Bun Kathin (ບຸນກະຖຶນ--offering of new monks' robes and other
necessities) includes the following activities: offering new monks' robes, making wax castles, offering monks' robes in a symbolic forest; offering winter blankets to monks; and preparing popped new rice for monks.  Besides
bun kathin, Lao people also hold the worship of the Buddha's relics during this time.  It was believed that after the Buddha's nirvana, his disciples took pilgrimage to various places in Asian to distribute the Buddha's relics in various temples.  Each temple would build a stupa to contain the relics.  In the twelfth Lunar month, people would hold a celebration to pay respects to the Buddha.

In the twelfth lunar month, people in Thailand include one more activity called the float festival or Loy Kathong Festival (ລອຍກະທງ--the floating of banana leaf floats with lit candles inside them in the river) in the twelfth lunar month.

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In the first lunar month, Bun Khao Kam (ບຸນເຂົ້າກຳ--monks' penance ceremony) in which monks take the vow of penance for any unconscious or conscious sins or violation of monk's precepts. This ceremony takes seven days and lay people tend to the monks' well-being by providing food and other necessary services. After the monks have been declared innocent of their sins or violations, a day-long sermon for lay people is held.   Before Laos adopted Buddhism in King Faa-ngum's reign, there was an ancient ritual of liang phii faa phii thaeng (ລຽ້ງຜີຟ້າ ຜີແຖນ-- giving a feast to the sky god and the rain god, Phya Thaen).  During the reign of King Phothisaalaaj who was a devout Buddhist, this ritual was abolished because the king thought it was against Buddhist belief.

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In the second lunar month,
haa fuen maa wai (ຫາຟືນມາໄວ້--collecting fire wood) in preparation for the next ritual of offering roasted glutinous rice.   Actually, Maha Sila Viravongs states that the first and second lunar months had not that many secular activities.  Later, some actitivities were added.

In northeast Thailand, one activity is observed: Bun Khoonlaan (ບຸນຄູນລານ--the ceremony of piling rice on the threshing ground) includes the following activities: at the end of the month rice ears in bunches are placed on the threshing ground and the people begin threshing rice bunch by bunch; monks chant and sprinkle lustral water over the rice on the threshing ground for blessing; monks give sermons on the Scripture about the Rice Goddess, Mae Phosop; and the people deliver the blessed rice to their rice granary.11

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In the third lunar month, Bun Khaochi (ບຸນເຂົ້າຈີ່--the offering of roasted glutinous rice to monks).  This ceremony had an origin in a story.  Maha Sila Viravongs told the story of a rich man's servant who tried to prepare some food to eat while she went to fetch some drinking water.  She spent the entire night pounding rice chaff from the grains.  Then, she tried to roll the cooked sticky rice into lumps to make it convenient for carrying.  While she was rolling the rice, it was sticky.  So, she spread the rice bran around the sticky rice.   Then, she roast the sticky rice wrapped in rice bran.  The next day, she wrapped the roasted sticky rice in the waist band of her skirt and went out fetching water.  On her way, she met with the Buddha and felt moved to offer something to the Buddha, but she did not have anything except the lowly roasted sticky rice.  She offered a lump of roasted rice, but she was feeling ashamed of herself.  The Buddha understood her thought.  So, he stopped and ate the roasted rice.  The servant girl was overwhelmed with joy.  Thus, Buddhists offer roasted sticky rice to the monks in the third lunar month as a Lao saying goes:

ເດືອນສາມຄ້ອຍ           ເຈ້າຫັວຄອຍ           ກຶນປັ້ນເຂົ້າຂີ່
duan saam khoi         chao hou khoi     kin pan khao chii
ປັ້ນເຂົ້າຂີ່                    ບໍ່ໃສ່ນ້ຳຕາລ           ບໍ່ຈານນ້ຳອ້ອຍ                     ຈົວນ້ອຍບໍ່ອຸ່ນໃຈ
pan khao chii             bo sai nam taan     bo chaan nam oiy             chou noi bo un chai
As the third lunar month approaches, the abbot awaits the taste of   roasted sticky rice;
Roasted sticky rice without white or brown sugar is not the little novice's favorite food.

In northeast Thailand, this ritual also includes the following activities: adding fertilizer in the rice fields in the morning; ceremony of calling rice spirit to reside in the granary; ceremony of chanting the praise of the rice spirit; preparation of roasted glutinous rice during the day and offering it to the monks.   Maha Sila Viravongs explains that one of the rituals practiced in northeast Thailand was not included in Laos until the past thirty years.  This ritual is the making merit on Makhabucha Day (ບຸນມາຄະບູຊາ--the anniversary of the day the Buddha gave a sermon called the exhortatory Patimokkha, the Fundamental Teaching of Buddhism, to 1,250 monks who had been ordained by the Buddha and who came to gather at Veruvan Monastery by chance on the day of the full moon in the third lunar month; offering unmilled rice grains from the fields to the temple nine times; spinning cotton, and doing the preparation of Bun Pha Wet (ບຸນພະເຫວດ --the Sermon of the Great Life of the Buddha).

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In the fourth lunar month,
Bun Pha Wet or Bun Mahachaat (ບຸນພະເຫວດ ຫລື ບຸນມະຫາຊາດ--the ceremony of the penultimate life of the Buddha as Pha Wetsandon (Vessantara Prince or the Festival of the Great Birth) includes the following activities: a procession of Phaa Phawet (the Vessantara Prince Story Cloth) through town to the temple; procession of one thousand balls of glutinous rice to the temple; listening to the non-stop sermon on the Great Birth at the temple (this sermon consists of fourteen sets of palm leaf manuscripts which have a total of one thousand verses); making merit to dedicate it to deceased relatives. 

Click to see the Vessantara Prince Story Cloth.

Preecha Phinthong makes a note that in the old times in northeast Thailand, this festival marked the end of the year and that there would be no more important festival or ritual that year.  Thus, men usually took buffaloes for sale in distant lands in "caravan" right after Bun Pha Wet was over.12  

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Notes to Chapter 7: Lao Folk Law

     1.  Phya Khankhaak, The Toad King: A Translation of an Isan Fertility Myth into English Verse, original trancription by Phra Airyanuwat Khemajari, translated by Wajuppa Tossa, Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1996, p. 77.

     2.  Jaruwan Thammawat, "Isan-Lan Chang Law Literature" in Wannakam thongthin: korani isan lan chang (Folk Literature: a Case Study of Isan and Lan Chang (Laos), Mahasarakham: Mahasarakham University, nd.

     3.  Here is a list of books on Lao folk law:

          The Literature Department, Ministry of Education, "Ban kodmai thammasaat khun bulom," in Phuen Khun Boromrajathirat sabab buhan tae (The Myth of Lord Boromrajathirat, the truly ancient version), Vientiane: The Literature Department, Ministry of Education, 1967, pp. 66-147.

        ________.  Khamphii pha thammasaat buuhaan (The Sacred Ancient Law), Vientiane: The Literature Department, Ministry of Education, 1954.

       Samlid Buasisawat, Nangsue munlatantai (The Facts about Tantra Books), Vientiane: The Government Printing Press, 1992.

       ________.  Khamphii pha thammasaat kodmai buuhaan lao (The Sacred Ancient Lao Law), Vientiane: The Ministry of Education Printing Press, 1993.

     4.  Unless otherwise noted, this section of the Fourteen Rules for Kings is taken from Preeha Phinthong, ປຣະເພຮີ,ບຣາຮອີານ (Thai/Isan Ancient Customs), Uboniajathani: Siritham, 1982, pp. 164-8 and  Phra Ariyanuwat Khemajari, "ກາຣບຣຣຍາຍປຣະເພຮີອີານທາງວິທຍຸ (A Series of Lectures on Isan Customs on the Radio" in   ພຣະອຣຶຍານຸວັດ ນັກປາດອີານ   (Phra Ariyanuwat, the Isan Bard), Bangkok: Trirongkanphim, 1981, pp. 63-4].

     5.  Phrarajaworamuni, Dictionary of Buddhism, pp. 285-87.

    6.  Pho Phuangsaba, ປະເພນີລາວບູຮານ (papheniilaobuhaan--Ancient Lao Customs), Vientiane: The Lao Government Printing Press, 1992, p. 24.

     7.  Unless otherwise stated, the Twelve Monthly Ritual is from Sila Viravongs, Maha,   ຮີດສຶບສອງ (Heet Sip Song--the Twelve Month Ritual), Vientiane: The Lao National Library, 1996.

     8.  Ibid., pp. 7-11.

     9. Mahaphom is the third form of the sixteen forms of Brahma.  Brahma is the creator god in Hinduism (Allen D. Kurr, Lao-English Dictionary, Washington, D. C.: Consortium Press, The Catholic University of America Press, 1972.)

     10. Thai Customs and Beliefs, Bangkok: The Office of the National Culture Commission, Ministry of Education, 1988, pp. 42-3.

     11. Preecha Phinthong, Thai/Isan Ancient Customs, pp. 62-64.

    12. Ibid, pp. 160-3 and Phra Ariyanuwat Khemajari, ibid, pp. 54-8.

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