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Decline of Buddhism in Thailand

personperson Don't believe everything you think'Merica! Veteran
The PBS show Religion and Ethics Weekly this week did an 8 and a half minute report on the decline of monks in Thailand.


Watching this brought up thoughts of how western Buddhism can be looked down on by more traditional Buddhists. Now these traditionally Buddhist countries are dealing with the consequences of modernity and I feel they may end up looking to us lowly westerners for some perspective on how to deal with these problems.


  • VastmindVastmind Memphis, TN Veteran
    edited May 2013
    'It needs new packaging'. I agree.

    @riverflow and I were touching on this lightly last week while
    talking at the Temple. Is it the typical generation gap?
    Of course. Remember when rock n roll was going to ruin
    everything? hahaha.
    As with other religions....yes, adaptation needs to happen.
    And yes, I do think [we] will end up setting some examples
    for how to adapt, but stay with the core teachings. I can
    attest to raising children with this religion right down the
    street from many malls. Over the years, I needed to get very
    creative for certain lessons and lifestyle choices.
    Times have and will change....aka...impermanence.

    This is a good example of it needs to be applicable.
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    Great thoughts. I've wondered in a hundred years of so, if any of the temple monk centered traditions will survive an educated, mobile, busy lay population with access to mass communication like the internet. Buddhism as a religion can only have so many temples filled with monks sitting around being enlightened. It's fascinating.
  • karmablueskarmablues Veteran
    edited May 2013
    I'm not sure if Buddhism in Thailand is in decline or not, but what I can say is that it's not in that great a condition.

    I think this has mainly to do with monks behaving badly. It's true what is said in the PBS show. Everyday in the news there are stories about monks misbehaving. It is not uncommon to meet a Thai who says that they lost faith in Buddhism due to seeing how the monks behaved. In my estimate I would say that not more than 30 per cent of monks in Thailand adhere properly to the monastic rules. So I think the problem is less about quantity but more about the quality of monks.

    As for the lay community, I would say less than 20 per cent are interested in the essence of Buddhism. Most are just interested in making merit to get financial rewards or good fortune.
  • PatrPatr Veteran
    Think Thai Buddhism has evolved into somewhat 'Organised religion' lines. With people praying to the Buddhas, deities as one would to God.

    Fortunately theres still the Forrest Dhamma order.
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