Temples and Elephants.
At the age of twenty, or, if he exceeded that age on entering, after certain formalities have been gone through, the Look sit is permitted to enter upon the second degree of holy ordersaand becomes a Phra, or lord. The ceremonies observed are similar to those followed on entering upon the first stage. The priest is now permitted, and indeed required, to go round in the morning to receive rice and other food from the people; though in small villages or lonely settlements I frequently found the priests did not go their rounds for food, which was brought to them as regularly as clockwork by the natives: but a procession of three or four yellow-robed men, preceded by a chief priest, carrying a large jar in his hand, and followed by four or five juvenile pupils bearing the rice-pot, in which to receive the alms of the people, is one of the characteristic incidents of every-day life throughout the country. I have often been in native houses when the priests have called for their food. It is always ready for them, and the natives appear glad to give their share, which they offer with an air of respectful request, as much as to say, a Do me the favour to accept this food.a Occasionally flowers, which are abundant all the year round, or a bundle of wax tapers, are given as a sort of special offering.
The first two or three hours of every day are devoted to the recitation of the Pali formulae, from the sacred booksalong narrow strips of palm-leaves, strung together on a piece of string passed through the centre, on which the characters are engraved with an iron stylus. Offerings are then made to Buddha, and the younger brethren are taught to read and write, priests and boys chanting in chorus, or alternately, verses from the scriptures.
Then comes the daily round in search of alms, andThen comes the daily round in search of alms, and