When life gives you lemons, so the saying goes, make lemonade. And when it gives you beer? Well, it doesn’t take a genius to find a use for the beverage itself, but then there’s the question of all those empty bottles.

Some of us might ask ourselves, “What would the Buddha do?”


The monks of Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple, in eastern Thailand’s Sisaket region, have come up with their own unique answer to that question. Using more than a million beer bottles collected from local people since 1984, they have constructed an assortment of buildings ranging from the temple itself to the crematorium, water tower, and even the bathrooms.


The mountains of green and brown bottles find their way into designs that are elegant and thoroughly traditional. Check out this amazing roof:


And this mosaic made of, yes, bottlecaps!


As an added bonus, the bottles’ transparency ensures that the temple’s interior won’t be dark and gloomy—in other words, instant enlightenment!

Strictly speaking, Buddhists are urged to “refrain from taking intoxicants,” so the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew monks may miss out on some of the fun of obtaining their unusual building materials. But since there’s apparently no shortage of beer bottles in Sisaket, what better way to save souls than to save empties?

The monks may even want to consider brewing some of their own beer someday—anyone for a Buddhweiser?




DanBing has lived in one Asian country and traveled in various others, engaging in activities that ranged from teaching English to playing Irish music to researching articles to marrying. The best part was usually the food, though the marriage hasn’t been too bad either. But of all his many accomplishments he is perhaps proudest of his close–extremely close–association with the person who wrote The Devil’s Food Dictionary: A Pioneering Culinary Reference Work Consisting Entirely of Lies (www.frogchartpress.com).