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Stringing Us Along

white_string_wristQuestion:

Can you please tell me the name and origin of the Buddhist blessing where a monk ties a blessed string around a persons wrist? Thank you from a new listener.

Answer:

This is very common in Thailand, and is called sai sin. As you already said, it is a form of blessing or “good luck charm.” It’s often done as a thank-you for those who donate or otherwise help the monks in Thailand, although a monk may choose to do this for anyone at any time.

There seems to be some debate on just how long you leave the string on. Some will say that it’s just a part of the ritual, and you can throw it away after the ceremony, while others will tell you to keep the string on until it comes off by itself- as much as several years later.

buddhistmonkIf you do a quick Google of sai sin, you will find several websites that all give differing descriptions of the meaning and importance of the string. Some say it wards off bad spirits, while others call it superstition. But essentially, this is one of those “cute” regional traditional practices that impresses visitors, but has little to do with basic Buddhist teachings.

And yet, it’s for good luck and safe travels, and we all could use a little more of that, so why be in a rush to cut the string off? Enjoy your Buddhist blessing for months to come.

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