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Thailand Travel Information: Thai Religion

The three greatest religions in the world is Buddhism, Christianity and Mohammedanism. Buddhism, however, is the oldest of the three. It was founded 2,500 years ago by Lord Buddha. Buddha was a son of an Indian king. Buddha was the name he called himself after his Enlightenment, meaning “ The Enlightened”. His real name was Price Siddhattha. His father was King Suddhodana of Kapilavasdu, and his mother Queen Siri Mahamaaya, formerly a daughter of the King of Devadaha.



Theravada Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand, practiced by 90% of its population. Theravada Buddhism, an orthodox Buddhist sect which keeps the original doctrine and tradition succeeded from the Buddha, is adopted by Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand while Mahayana sect is popular in China and Japan. Buddhism originated in the southern Nepal with the teachings of Siddharta Gautama, the founder of Buddhism. He renounced his royal life to find the way to be out of the cycle of life which he considered suffering.

After years of studies of Hinduism in several schools and self- mortification, he found that those ways way would not allow him to see the salvation. He then continued to quest the truth of life by mediating. Upon meditation under the bodhi tree, Siddharta got the thorough knowledge of the world, called the Four Noble Truths, becoming the Buddha or the Enlightened One. The first truth is that life is dukkha or a suffering. The fact that one must exist in the endless cycle of rebirth, weakness, sickness and death is suffering. The cause of being trapped in this suffering world is explained in the second truth-that is tanha or desire. The desire detains ignorant people attached to the illusion of the world: wealth, reputation, or passion is all illusion. The third truth is that the misery can be ended by removing the desire. The fourth truth tells of the approach to achieve the release-that is the Buddha's Eightfold Path. Nirvana is the ultimate goal of Buddhism; it is the state that one ceases the rebirth.

Ever since the Sukhothai Period, Buddhism has been recognized as the state's religion and significantly fundamental influence of Thai society and culture. Songha or monastic community has played a key role in Thai society since the ancient times. Temple served as an important social unit for it is the center of village; they were both spiritual and educational center. Buddhism is expressed in every aspect of Thai daily life. From birth to death, Buddhism is represented as the ceremonies believed to bring happiness to life. Although the original Buddhist doctrine does not say anything about ceremonies, people have assimilated Buddhism with the primitive animist belief.

Nowadays, development and technology of the modern world has somehow changed the traditional lifestyle of Thai people, especially in big cities. Despite that, with the deep perception of Buddhism within them, Thai people still adopt Buddhist philosophy of simplicity and moderate to lead their ways, making Thai society much more tolerant and peaceful if compare with those which are suffering the stress from our competitive world today.


Related Topics: Thai Wats




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