June 27, 2001
Then he invited me to sit in on the prayer session that he had come for. I had never been to a Buddhist prayer session before, so I said yes. We entered the dimly lit wat, buzzing with the drone of dragonflies attracted to the two bare lightbulbs, and sometimes they were stuck on their backs, buzzing because they were unable to fly away again. The head monk, the leader, came in and sat down on a cushion, facing the room with his back to the statue of Buddha. When he started to chant, the other monks, the boys that had been cutting up only moments ago, trickled in solemnly, sat down and joined in the chant. Soon the singing was full force with the deep voice of the leader shadowed by the higher ones of his pupils, creating a beautiful and mysterious song. After awhile the chant broke into two parts, with some resting their voices while the others kept at it. This gave the prayer the same effect as if I were coveing and uncovering my ears quickly, and it sounded really, really cool, a throbbing, bouncing melody. The drone of the prayer drowned the dragonfly noise, but they remained in the wat throughout, occasionally being helped up off their backs by the chanting monks.
From journal Advice for Luang Prabang