Luang Prabang, Laos: Monks in a procession to collect morning alms. For Lao Buddhists, “making merit” is an important aspect of everyday life. Merit is accured to offset any sins one may have committed and to ensure that one’s next incarnation will be better than the present one.Giving alms to Buddhist monks is one way to make merit. Daily, Buddhist monks leave their monasteries at dawn to collect food offerings from laypeople. Sticky rice, a staple in Laos, is put in the monks’ bowls. Merit acquired by giving alms brings the giver good fortune in this life and the next.