I've noticed three different customs involving string at Theravada temple service. If by chance anyone is familiar with the significance of any of these; it would be nice to know. The service is not in my native language so I miss a lot of nuances and end up forgetting to ask when I have a chance.

  1. The monks sit up on a raised area and occasionally seem to be winding string around various objects creating a web like display. What does this signify?
  2. At times long pieces of string are sent through the group of lay followers and everyone tries to hold a piece of the string. What does this mean?
  3. At the end of the service people sometimes line up to receive a small string bracelet and a blessing from a monk. Is this just a nice gesture or does it have a particular meaning? Does anyone know what the blessing is for?

Thanks for any insights. :)

1 Answer 1


Chanting and good thoughts of the monks (even any other being) generate positive vibes. The string is used as a better means of conducting the vibration than may be air. (If you attach a tin to the end of two string and you speak into one you can hear the voice in the other.) Generally the string is wrapped around a vessel of water which cases the water to vibrate in tune with the chanting. These strings and water is given out as it the vibrations will carry some positive conditioning.

  • 1
    Interesting! Yes, one of the monks does come around with water. He'll dip flowers into the water and then shake the droplets across the crowd. I hadn't even thought to ask about that. Is that the water that the string was tied to?
    – Robin111
    Jan 18, 2015 at 11:12
  • 1
    Funny, because that part always reminded me of what priests do with holy water at Catholic Church, except people are very solemn when they receive holy water but with this custom at the temple people are very happy and they talk to the monk and everyone seems to be having a good time with it. :)
    – Robin111
    Jan 18, 2015 at 11:16

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