living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand – Monks Lose Relevance as Country Grows Richer

1

Via: New York Times

BAAN PA CHI, Thailand — The monks of this northern Thai village no longer perform one of the defining rituals of Buddhism, the early-morning walk through the community to collect food. Instead, the temple’s abbot dials a local restaurant and has takeout delivered.

“Most of the time, I stay inside,”
said the abbot, Phra Nipan Marawichayo, who is one of only two monks living in what was once a thriving temple. “Values have changed with time.”

The gilded roofs of Buddhist temples are as much a part of Thailand’s landscape as rice paddies and palm trees. The temples were once the heart of village life, serving as meeting places, guesthouses and community centers. But many have become little more than ornaments of the past, marginalized by a shortage of monks and an increasingly secular society.

“Consumerism is now the Thai religion,” said Phra Paisan Visalo, one of the country’s most respected monks. “In the past, people went to temple on every holy day. Now, they go to shopping malls.”

The meditative lifestyle of the monkhood offers little allure to the iPhone generation.

The number of monks and novices relative to the population has fallen by more than half over the last three decades. There are FIVE monks and novices for every 1,000 people today, compared with ELEVEN in 1980, when governments began keeping nationwide records.

Read more, HERE:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/world/asia/thai-buddhist-monks-struggle-to-stay-relevant.html?_r=0

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photo:

Young monks rehearsed an evening candlelight ceremony at Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

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December 19, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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