Early Morning Alms
An early morning mist casts a gentle shroud as a long procession of young monks go out for the daily ritual of receiving alms (daily food offered by members of the lay community). The food is collected in a plain black lacquer bowl and according to the vows of becoming a monk, must be consumed prior to noontime. No further food is to be taken for the remainder of the day. All males are expected to temporarily enroll in monastic life at least twice, once as a novice between the ages of 5 and 15 and again after the age of 20. While the young ones can be rather carefree in their commitment, some ordain for life and it is considered highly prestigious for a family to have a son take up the call. Females can enter into monastic life as well to become nuns. Like males, they shave their heads, but follow a slightly different set of vows.