Of all the Buddhist temples I visited in Bangkok, Wat Kalayanamit was my favorite. Kalayanamit’s temple compound is located next to the busy Chao Phraya River. Its main temple building houses a colossal and glorious seated, gold Buddha, which measures over 15 meters in height and 12 meters in width. Kalayanamit attracts mainly Thai Nationals. When I visited there, I was the only farang and felt like I had a real Thai temple experience. Farang, by the way, is the Thai word for foreigner.
To get to Kalayanamit I took a boat from Wat Arun, a nearby temple. The trip was easy for me, since I was being led by my Thai friend, Apisamai. The boat trip took maybe minutes.
Once at Kalayanamit, we followed all the Buddhist protocols for a temple visit. Outside the temple building we bought incense sticks and a few strings of carnations. We lit the incense in groups of threes, setting the sticks into ornate metal urns filled with sand. We set the flowers down next to Buddha statues placed near the entrance to the temple. Before entering the temple, we removed our shoes. Inside the temple we knelt before the giant, seated Buddha and bowed three times. We then recited a Buddhist veneration in the ancient language of Pali. Actually, Apisamai said the words to me which I in turn repeated. We recited this veneration three times:
This veneration is most frequently translated to English as honour to the Blessed One, the Exalted One, the fully Enlightened One.
Practicing Buddhism can be physically challenging for a Westerner. As I knelt on the temple floor, my knees started to hurt. My right leg fell asleep. When I tried to stand, I felt like a 100 year old man. I could barely move.