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Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant - Dhamma Wheel

Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Jeffrey
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Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby Jeffrey » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:36 am

Witness the spread of capitalism.

"...the local Buddhist monk has gone from being a moral authority, teacher and community leader fulfilling important spiritual and secular roles to someone whose job is often limited to presiding over periodic ceremonies."

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/world ... .html?_r=0

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gavesako
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby gavesako » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:27 am

“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.”

It is largely true as reported in the article. Many monasteries especially in the North of Thailand do not have a resident monk and sometimes have to invite monks just for the Rains Retreat from another province.

There are different ways that the current crisis can be solved, as proposed by Ven. Anil Sakya ("fast-food Buddhism") or Ven. Paisan Visalo ("return to nature and simplicity").
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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gavesako
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby gavesako » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:34 am

Perhaps centers like this -- an oasis of spirituality and peace in the middle of Bangkok -- are an answer to the problem:


A Taste of Buddhism

Published on December 6th, 2012 | by Bangkok 101

On the edge of Chatuchak Park sits a state-of-the-art Buddhist centre filled with religious writings, talks, meditation classes and followers. Elizabeth Preger goes in search of enlightenment.

...

The Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives (BIA)

Vachirabenjatas Park (Suan Rot Fai), Nikom Rot Fai Sai 2 Rd | BTS Mo Chit/MRT Chatuchak Park | 02-936-2800 | on the first Sunday of each month between 9:30-11:30am | www.bia.or.th
www.facebook.com/buddhadasaarchives | 9am-6pm


http://www.bangkok101.com/2012/12/06/a- ... n-rot-fai/
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations


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David N. Snyder
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Re: Monks Lose Relevance as Thailand Grows Richer

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:14 am

Image




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Ben
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Re: Monks Lose Relevance as Thailand Grows Richer

Postby Ben » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:30 am

Maybe its time for a reform movement in Thailand similar to the mass meditation movement that arose out of Burma following British occupation.
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

(Buddhist aid in Myanmar) • •

e: [email protected]..

plwk
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Re: Monks Lose Relevance as Thailand Grows Richer

Postby plwk » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:38 am

See

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tiltbillings
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Re: Monks Lose Relevance as Thailand Grows Richer

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 21, 2012 5:43 am


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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:27 pm

Like any social dynamic this one is more nuanced than simple materialism as culprit. Many younger Thais are discouraged with the superficial piety of monks who outside of ritual duties live just as they do … what to say of the saṅgha scandals that surface in the news from time to time.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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appicchato
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby appicchato » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:27 pm


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polarbear101
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby polarbear101 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:31 pm

Welp, we all know the old saying, "nothing lasts forever." :sage:

Edit: And I agree with David. Sounds good to me.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

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tiltbillings
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby tiltbillings » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:45 pm


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appicchato
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby appicchato » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:19 pm

Poor choice of words, I know...came back to change it and got bit...sorry...

'Tis true, while many young Thais are discouraged, there are myriad reasons why...superficial piety of monks isn't one of them...and monks most definitely do not 'live as they do'...

And what to say of Sangha scandals that surface in the news?...A. They're (monks) human, and B. They (monks) number in the hundreds of thousands... comparatively (with other 'religions') speaking, the number, and severity of offenses, pales...

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ancientbuddhism
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby ancientbuddhism » Fri Dec 21, 2012 3:43 pm

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)


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gavesako
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby gavesako » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:25 pm

Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

- Theravada texts
- Translations and history of Pali texts
- Sutta translations

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GraemeR
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Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby GraemeR » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:26 am

IMHO Thai society, especially urban society has changed massively over the past 30 years. People have become more affluent and have obtained chattels and technology that wasn't dreamed about by their parents.

People are also exposed to often the worst aspects of Western culture through cinema (movies) TV and the all too seedy tourists who can arrive in some areas here. They emulate this behaviour.

Two generations back there were fewer schools children were sometimes taught by monks how were educated and rightly respected by all. Now some people become monks if they cannot find a job.

Religion has severe problems as a result. I feel some temples are blatantly commercial, such as Dhamma Kaya.

Young monks want the use of technology, such as smart phones which their friends have. You can see them sending IMs to their friends outside their temples. Some have WiFi.

Thais love Temples to look big and colourful, the bigger, more golden statues the better. Personally I would rather give money for sanitation or education.

Forest Temples still maintain simple Buddhist teaching and practices, but I generally avoid urban temples because of the commercial aspects.

People are slowly loosing respect for monks who are seen behaving badly: smoking in Temples, asking for money etc plus the all too common scandals). Unfortunately as the urban monasteries seem to be the worst, they are seen the most. There are real gems, but rotten apples too.

Many people have little interest in or education about religion, they are more interested in ghosts and superstition, and this is regrettably reflected in many temples.

Thais need to decide how to keep temples relevant to society and how they can evolve with society, but at the moment, this mammoth task just doesn't seem to be happening.

Graham

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Mr. Grimnasty
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby Mr. Grimnasty » Sat Dec 29, 2012 7:56 am

Considering the degeneracy of this age, wouldn't it be better if Thai monks struggled to become irrelevant?

But wouldn't it be better still if they simply made the Dhamma their sole concern and didn't worry their silly heads about their relevance or irrelevance?

_________
Grimnasty

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appicchato
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby appicchato » Sat Dec 29, 2012 9:34 am


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GraemeR
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby GraemeR » Sat Dec 29, 2012 12:21 pm


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BuddhaDave
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Re: Thai Buddhist Monks Struggle to Stay Relevant

Postby BuddhaDave » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:40 am

I'd have to agree with Graham. I recently spent three months in Thailand along with my principal student, who is married to a Thai woman and speaks Thai. We spent most of our visit in Chiangmai.

We are not ordained but wear white and beads, and follow precepts and live like monks. Yet, just because we were Westerners, many people including monks assumed that we were there for sex tourism. Their attitude towards us was dismissive or worse. Meanwhile, they themselves were living lives of unmitigated materialism. We saw monks with smartphones shopping at the mall and playing video games. Frankly we were appalled at their hypocrisy.

Our intention in visiting Thailand was to offer fellowships to our world-class Spiritual Leadership course. But mainly because we could not penetrate this attitude problem, we could not find a single qualified person even among the monks. Even the groups supposedly based on teachers of integrity, like Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, we found to be rife with politics and petty status games. Ultimately we decided to withdraw our offer and move on to greener pastures.

oṁ namo buddhāya


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