With strict stay-at-home orders and social-distancing measures limiting normal social interactions, Buddhist monks in Cambodia and Thailand have adjusted their daily habits and religious activities to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. While many monks are using live-streaming to reach their followers and offer prayers virtually during celebrations such as Vesak, which commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and passing from this world of the historical Buddha, many other religious rites, such as those held for the traditional Lunar New Year, have been scaled back or canceled altogether.
According to Thai monk Ven. Phra Surasak Suthanto, although many monastics still perform their daily alms rounds outside the temple, other ceremonies, rites, rituals, and celebrations are being adjusted, restricted, or canceled. “We still receive alms in the morning, but we wear face masks,” said Ven. Suthanto. “When we give blessings, we have to keep a distance of around a meter or two.” (The Star)
At the time of writing on 15 May, the Cambodian government had reported a total of 122 confirmed COVID-19 infections and no fatalities, while the Thai government had reported 3,018 confirmed infections and 56 deaths.*
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