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Buddhism in Thailand




If you have been in Thailand before, I guess you have visited, or got close to, at least one of the thousands of Buddhist temples, (wat in Thai) located in this country. You will also likely have seen the monks, (Phra in Thai) dressed in orange fabrics, or/and the white dressed nuns. (Mae chi in Thai).

93-96% of the Thais are Buddhists. Buddhism in Thailand is of the Theravada school, which of some is considered as the "original" teaching of the Buddha. Theravada Buddhism is practiced in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and on Sri Lanka and its popularity is increasing in other countries too.




Thai monk in traditional clothing
THAI MONK EATING HIS MORNING MEAL - Photo by Jens W, Yenit.com



Many Thai men choose to become a novice monk, or nehn, at some point of their lives. (not as many women become nuns, though) Some Thais wants to study Buddhism for life and they choose to become a monk or a nun for life. Meditation, Buddhist studies and cleaning are common practices in the daily life of the temple and in the kuti. (The house of the monks) In some temples you will find a TV and a computer set etc, but it is not allowed in every temple.




Thai spirit houses
THAI SPIRIT HOUSES IN KOH PHANGAN - Photo by Jens W, Yenit.com



Religion or not?



Many people consider Buddhism more as a philosophy or a "way to live". But it is also considered as one of the World Religions. The definition is probably just up to every each of us.




Buddha statues
TWO BUDDHA STATUES IN MY OFFICE - Photo by: Jens W, Yenit.com



Who was Lord Buddha?



• Name: Siddhārtha Gautama
• Name in Thai: พระโคตมพุทธเจ้า
• Name in Sanskrit: सिद्धार्थ गौतम
• Father: King Śuddhodana
• Mother: Queen Māyā
• Born: Lumbini, India (today Nepal) about 550 BC
• Died: When he was (around) 80 years old
• His ethnicity: Shakya Realm (in former India)
• Known for: Founder of Buddhism
• Buddha means: The awakened one


The prince Siddhartha Gautama was born in Nepal about 560 Before Christ. (the exact year is controversial) He was living a rather uncomplicated life together with his wife, (who also was his cousin) the princess Yasochara, until he was 29 years old. At that point he choose to leave his wife and son, Râhula, to learn about the poor peoples situation and find knowledge about suffering in the world.

During about five years, Siddhartha lived an ascetic life as a disciple, but he did not get satisfied from that. He then choose to go his own way, The Middle Way.

Under a Bodhi tree in Bodhgaya, North India, he finally discovered enlightenment; nirvana, and so he became Buddha, or the Awakened One. Buddha spent the rest of his life to learn others about this middle way. He died at the age of 80. In the teaching of Buddha or dharma, you will, among other wisdom, find:




The Four Noble Truths



1. The truth about suffering; dukkha
2. The truth about the cause of dukkha
3. The truth about the lead out of dukkha
4. The truth about the way that leads out of dukkha

Thep in his Buddha shop
THE JATUKAM (BUDDHA AMULET) SHOP - Photo by Jens W, Yenit.com



The fourth truth is the same as the noble eightfold path:

The Noble Eightfold Path



1. Right understanding
2. Right thought
3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration




The Ethics or the Five Precepts



1. To refrain from killing living creatures
2. To refrain from stealing
3. To refrain from sexual misconduct
4. To refrain from lying
5. To refrain from taking intoxicants




White-yellow hibiscus
A BEAUTIFUL HIBISCUS IN SURAT - Photo by Jens W, Yenit.com



Karma



Karma can, rather simplified, be described as that our conscious actions will result in an effect. This does not involve unconscious acts though. Karma means action or deed in sanskrit and involves that unselfish good deeds results in good karma, but selfish, "evil" deeds results in bad karma. "What you do is what you get" or Tham dii, dai dii - Tham chua, dai chua in Thai.




Big Buddha - Koh Samui
WAT PHRA YAI (KOH SAMUI) - Photo by Jens W, Yenit.com


Thai monks are eating before a wedding cermony
THREE THAI MONKS IN ISAAN - Photo by Jens W, Yenit.com



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