Buddhisme in Thailand

Buddhism is Thailand's religion and occupies a lot of space both on the political level and in Thai everyday life. The monks with their orange cutters can be seen everywhere in the street scene. It is common for young boys at the age of 16 to don the orange colors and complete a 2-4 week period living as monks.It is somewhat similar to being confirmed. To be ordained as a monk, one must follow over 100 rules of life. These living rules are very extensive and include that they must not dance, drink alcohol, watch films and theater or sleep on a soft bed. Most monks are 20-21 years old when they enter the monastery. For most Thais, however, the rules are more relaxed. However, they use the monks as advisors and buy amulets for all sorts of purposes. As a foreigner, you can have a chat with a monk if you meet some near historical sights, and they seem welcoming.A monk must always be met with a wai, a bow, but they do not return the greeting. This is done to create respect for the monks who have a high position in the Thai hierarchy. The monks usually do not work, but some make amulets which they sell on, just as others function in a role as advisers for which they are paid. The monks also support themselves by the locals giving them food, which they take with them in a cloth bag.


Rebirth is a central concept in Buddhism, and for most Thais it is an obvious truth that the soul takes up residence in a new person when one dies. One can thus be reborn into a good family if one performs good deeds in one's life. But you can also risk being reborn as an animal if you have really been evil. Thus, it is in one's own hands what happens after death, while in Christianity one is saved only by God's grace. If you are the pure angel in your life, you can become a spiritual being or a demon and thus come one step closer to the final goal of all Buddhists: namely nirvana, the total cessation of suffering. When you reach nirvana, you are no longer reborn, nirvana is an eternal state of love. But only a few people achieve nirvana through few rebirths.

Siddartha Buddha is the central figure in Buddhism and his attainment of the state of nirvana while still alive stands as the great pattern for the Thai Buddhists. The Buddha was a historical prince who formulated the teachings of the Golden Mean. By showing moderation, you are better able to see the truth of life and thus make better choices for yourself and your fellow human beings. Moderating one's consumption and one's need for enjoyment means, among other things, becoming less attached to material things, as they can be lost and as such cause sadness. It is better to be prepared for the fact that life is changeable and that one's financial situation can change. Likewise, it is important for Buddhists to be happy when there is reason to be, and to be sad when there are bad times. At the same time, the Buddha did not believe that happiness can be gained through asceticism, denial of physical needs. Buddha is actually a term for someone who has reached nirvana and since then people are learning how to achieve the same. Thus Siddharta Buddha was the fifth in the line to hold this title. Perhaps therefore it is better to think of Buddhas as a kind of saints.Wat Phra Kaew is located close to the river near Khao San Road in the Bhanglamphu area. It is the largest temple in Bangkok and is richly decorated with precious stones and gold. Here you can find an approx. 30 meter long reclining version of the Buddha. You must remember to take your shoes off in front of you when you enter the temple. In addition, you should be quiet, ideally wear long trousers as a man, while women should not be too provocatively dressed. Wat Phra Kaew or the Grand Palace is definitely worth a visit and you should set aside 1 hour as a minimum due to the many tourists and the size of the area. When you go there, you might be met by locals who say the temple is closed, but they are just out to sell you a suit or other goods. Don't listen to them, the temple is open during the day most days of the year. Many other smaller temples are open to tourists, most located in the Banglamphu area. Unfortunately, the metro does not go there, but you can get a taxi for about 150 Bath from most places in Bangkok.The Thais also believe in ghosts and are quite superstitious, which can be seen at the amulet market in eastern Bangkok. The Thai version of Buddhism is called Therevada Buddhism, but it is complicated to account for the differences in Buddhism, but it is important to know that the Dalai Lama is not at all for the Thai Buddhists.


Basically, Buddhism is about ending suffering in life. That is why many Buddhists are smiling, friendly and caring, as they do not get stressed by a conflict-filled and psychologically hard existence. According to Buddhism, what creates unrest and negative emotions, which they call suffering, are illusions about existence. By seeing life as it is and not as it should be, Buddhists create a life that is not plagued by unfulfilled expectations.A tool that Buddhists and especially monks use is meditation. In silence, Buddhists get to know themselves and their feelings and can therefore better assess the impact of a situation on the mind. This creates surplus to make some choices that satisfy the inner values. Thus, Buddhists are often relaxed and present in the moment, as they avoid situations that they really don't want to be in. In addition, choosing in life and being aware of the consequences is very important.The concept of karma and the lesser-known samsara is, as the Thais understand it, the reason why one becomes happy or sad. By the right choice, karma, one creates the right result, samsara. When you sometimes say that a person has good karma, it is actually a bit misleading, as Buddhists do not believe that you are just good or bad, happy or unhappy, because that is just the way it is, but rather that you create his own happiness through consideration and choice and opt-out. One point where the concept of good karma is nevertheless true is in the form of innate karma from one's parents. In Danish, the social heritage, which after all means a good deal to how one's life turns out. Some of the opt-outs that Thais take are alcohol and other drugs, which most Thais consume only in very moderate amounts. The purpose of this abstinence and good deeds like giving alms to monks is to be reborn.