How does meditation at New Year benefit young people?

While for some young people New Year is just an excuse to party, others prefer to reflect on the year just past, plan for 2019, and take time to pray at their local temple. Vientiane Times asked some students and novice monks for their thoughts about the New Year and meditation.


Novice Eouthai, at Nongphaya village temple in Xaythany district: After praying you relax and your mind calms down. It’s beneficial because you will find deep inner peace when you close your eyes in contemplation. You see what other people can’t see. Maybe your hopes will soon become reality. I invite young people to pray first and then you can go and have a drink after you’ve done something good. 

Novice Lerd, a student at Nongphaya Secondary School: Praying or meditating is not difficult and you can do it anywhere, not only at a temple. It can be in your house or wherever your mind is at rest. I implore people not to drink too much if they go out to celebrate. If you’re not okay you can sleep at a friend’s house until morning and when you are sober you can go home safely.

Ms Phetaloun Phommatha, a student at Vientiane Secondary School, Chanthabouly district: Praying is the best way for me to begin the New Year. I don’t need to go out with friends as I plan to pray with my mother at the temple in Nongtha village. It’s a great experience to be with many other people all praying together. Meditation puts our minds at peace.

Ms Dalaphone Phonemixay, a student at Souksavath Secondary School: Praying leading up to the New Year is the best way to concentrate on worthwhile things coming into your life. It has been the belief of Lao people since ancient times until the present. Praying makes me feel relaxed and calm. I think other people feel the same way. That’s why praying is quite popular in Laos.

Ms Phetsamone, a student at Souksavath Secondary School: Praying as the year 2019 gets underway is a worthwhile start to the year as far as I’m concerned. It’s a practice that should be instilled in every young person. They should know how to pray or meditate and continue to do so in the future. I think praying makes us all more optimistic, and gives us good health and strong minds.

Ms Nina Southammavong, a student at Tanmixay Secondary School: Everyone has different ideas. For some, meditation is boring and makes them sleepy while others complain of leg pain and say their body hurts. So instead they prefer to drink and enjoy music and dancing rather than contemplation in the lead up to the New Year. But for me, this time only comes around one night each year so I think having your mind at peace is better than drinking because that only costs you money and gives you a headache. 

Ms Sivone Khonekhamhong, a student at Chanthabouly Secondary School: Yes, praying at New Year is an excellent idea for me. I hope that praying will help me complete my studies. I don’t need to go out. I’m happy to have a peaceful mind and by spending time in a temple I’m less likely to have an accident as a lot of people drink and drive which is terrible. You have to pay for hospital treatment if you have an accident and you may miss work and be severely out of pocket.

By Phouthong Sivongsa
(Latest Update January 2, 2019)

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