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Reasons Behind Walking Three Rounds in a Clockwise Direction at Buddhist Ceremonies

The Thai Dictionary, Royal Academy edition (2009), defines “Vientien” as “holding flowers, candles, and incense by hand, and walking clockwise around respected places and objects, such as a temple hall or Buddhist image on Visakha Bucha Day. Hence, to “Vientien” is to walk in a clockwise direction.

The ‘Roo Rak Thai Language’ book, Royal Academy edition, explains the belief about walking in a clockwise direction by stating that both Hinduism and Buddhism believe the right side is the side of luck and an auspicious direction. Buddhists often walk three times around temple halls, holy relics, and Buddha images to honor the Triple Gem.

Another reason is to respect a spiritual master, so we can say that the right side or direction is considered auspicious.

Things to do:

1. Before you go to a temple, wash yourself and wear white-colored or polite clothes. This is to prepare yourself for doing something good and to respect the place, especially principal Buddha images. Also, prepare flowers, candles, incense, and a prayer book.

2. Before “Vientien”, you should pay respect to the principal Buddha image in the hall of a temple.

3. You should “Vientien” calmly and avoid talking. Stay alone and focus on carrying flowers, candles, and incense. Prepare a prayer book. When you finish praying, place the flowers, candles, and incense at the provided place.