Theravada monks file silently across the Bridge of the Cycle of Rebirth at Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai, northern Thailand.
Combining diverse architectural elements taken from Buddhist history, legend, and popular culture, and assembled to express the profane and macabre as well as the sublime, the main building at Chiang Rai’s famous Wat Rong Khun, commonly referred to in English as the “White Temple,” is accessed by traversing a narrow bridge over a small artificial lake.
Visitors making their way across this elevated walkway must first pass through a sea of frenzied hands symbolizing unrestrained greed and desire, reaching upwards in mute appeal to be released from the suffering of Saṃsāra. By following the path to Nirvāṇa, foregoing the desires and attachments of the material world below, the visitor is finally delivered into the spiritual realm of the Buddha.
Images © Craig Lewis, new light dreams