Sunday, May 18, 2008
Wat Botiyaram was the first pagoda I called into on my visit to Chrouy Changva this morning. It boasts a new large concrete Buddha near the main gate but aside from that, its in a run-down state and the main vihara was doubling-up as sleeping quarters for about ten monks. Three of the monks raised themselves from their slumber to chat to me about the temple and its fifty-two monks in residence as they were keen to practice their English. Visitors are a rarity at Wat Botiyaram. The vihara itself and the Buddha statues on the shrine are unremarkable but the wooden ceiling and the dirty wall paintings contain some real gems in my view. Wooden ceilings are quickly becoming a thing of the past so should be preserved wherever possible, especially those with paintings, whilst the wall galleries contained lots of the usual stories as well as some rare renditions including one where Buddha asks a woodcutter to stop chopping wood as he was killing ants! I checked my understanding about seima stones with one of the monks, who told me the largest of the nine sacred stones had been buried under the altar when the temple was consecrated. He was also interested in some copies of the book I had with me, Buddhist ethics in daily life and promised to share them with his fellow monks. Chrouy Changva has always been a quiet refuge from the city and the friendliness of the people, in this instance the monks at Wat Botiyaram, one of its best features.
This is a representation of crimes and punishments in hell, witnessed by Nemiriech riding on his chariot