Thursday, 29 October 2009

Buddhism in Thailand

The Thais are a deeply religious people. For the Buddhist majority it underlies all activities and is the backbone of the thai culture. 90% of the populations are Theravada Buddhist. Buddhist believes that existence called nibbana (nirvana).

Almost all Thais believe in reincarnation, hence they “make merit” by doing good deeds. Ways to make merit include giving money to beggars, bird releasing, becoming a novice in a temple for man in Thailand and giving food to monk who make their Alms round every morning.

There are 2 sects of Buddhist monks in Thailand, the orange robed Mahanikai and the stricter, more academic red-brown robed Thammayut who can only eat one meal a day (before noon), provided for them by those who wish to make merit. They are not allow to touch money.

Thais always requested service of monks for special occasion ie. New house, new car are blessed for good luck. For marriage, nine monks are invited to perform ritual and during a funeral, a group of monks are required to perform a 3days of chanting mantras.

There is no such thing as a good Buddhist or a bad Buddhist. Buddhism not only teaches tolerance, it practices it. It does not claim that other religions are false, it encourage you to make your own judgments ( not easy as human being always believe the more god/Buddha they follow, the better ‘protection” they have, so they choose to mixed different religion into one, which is ridiculous and disrespectful for the religions he believed )

There is no hard sell, and no requirement for monks to ‘Save’ a quota of souls. And either will it talk about using money can make you a different or better person.

In Thailand we call temple wats, a place exclusively Buddhist, as we know Buddhism originated from India, hence it natural that we can find Hindu God in a wat, but if a wat over-do it by allowing people to leave religious object to the wat , then a temple will be cluttered with religious bric-a-brac and it will become to much. It will lose its original meaning of a Wat.

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