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December 19, 2012 / A Mindful Traveler

“Beware of Your Valuables”

My first day in Bangkok has been much more an exercise in seeing than being. I visited the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, and the highly underrated National Museum.  (If you’re in Bangkok on a Wednesday, the museum’s English-language guided tours at 9:30 am give a great introduction to both Buddhist and Southeast Asian Buddhist devotional art.)

I also stopped in for a brief sitting at Wat Mahadhat, located between these attractions and the somewhat more hedonistic delights of Khao San Road.  The majority of people practicing at the wat appeared to be retreatants, based upon their white temple clothing, but quite a number wore ordinary clothing.  This suggests to me that stopping by the wat is a part of their daily practice.

Amidst the ornateness of the Grand Palace and its adjoining shrines, I was struck by the following warning:

“Beware of your valuables.”

At first, I thought it might simply be a mistranslation of a phrase along the lines of “Take care of your valuables” or “Beware of theft.”  Indeed, when I saw the warning repeated at Wat Arun, it was accompanied by pictograms that gave credence to this reading.

Upon further reflection I began to think it might not be a mistranslation at all, but an admonition to avoid becoming attached to physical objects.  What do you think?


Leave a Comment
  1. Won Seok Chung / Dec 20 2012 12:34 am

    I liked how you I miss interpreted it. I hope its true. Let go of the attachments is very very difficult for me and it must be an integral part of the practice there too.

  2. A Mindful Traveler / Dec 20 2012 7:39 am

    Thank you Won 🙂 It’s hard for me too. I think it is for almost everyone.

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