What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is the practice of spiritual development that take practitioner closer to the realities of nature and life. Buddhist practices can enable humans to understand and change their inner shelf and develop unique qualities, including wisdom, awareness, and kindness. Buddhist tradition can make you conscious of higher abilities inside you and follow a path that leads to Buddhahood and enlightenment.
Buddhism is different from other religions since it directs to your higher being and enables you to control your passion. The main principles of Buddhism are rebirth, karma, and impermanence. It will teach you to refrain from taking lives, stealing, and misusing your senses. The followers of Buddhism try their best to abstain from killing, stealing, intoxication, lying, and sexual misconduct. They improve themselves and contribute to a healthy society. They work on their character and mind to progress to enlightenment.
Many people do not accept Buddhism as a religion since it does not emphasize worshiping. Instead, it teaches us to become better human beings and get enlightenment. Buddhist principles are practical and straightforward. It says nothing is permanent, and every action has consequences. Besides, Buddhism focuses on inevitable change. In brief, Buddhist principles are easy to follow, regardless of race, gender, nationality, sexuality, and caste. Anyone can embrace Buddhist principles to transform the inner being and recognize the true self.
Theravada has been around for a long and is known as the oldest form of Buddhism. However, most find Theravada Buddhism conservative and closest to the original or early Buddhism. Many countries, including Sri Lanka, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia, practice Theravada Buddhism. Buddhism in Thailand has a long history divided into three periods.
1. Asoka Period Theravada
King Ashoka was behind the first-ever Buddhism. He introduced Theravada Buddhism in 218 B.E. at Pataliputra city and started the Buddhist era. He sent monks to propagate the principles of Buddhism aboard.
2. Bukama Period Theravada
Anuruddha The Great started following the same path in 1600 B.E. He was the king of Bukama and had great faith in Theravada Buddhism. Anuruddha The Great occupied many kingdoms and re-established Buddhism.
3. Sri Lanka Theravada
Sri Lanka Theravada is in practice today, but it witnessed many evolutionary changes during this journey. Buddhism has been able to inspire others for a long. It regenerated again even at times of recession and similar conditions. Thailand and Sri Lanka have a strong bond and have shared a long history when it comes to religious beliefs.
Thailand Buddhism Facts
- Theravada Buddhism is the original and earliest tradition practiced in Thailand.
- More than ninety-five percent of the Thailand population practice Theravada Buddhism.
- You can see small tokens of Buddhism in most places of the country.
- Buddhism is the main principle that creates the identity of many Thais.
- Visitors will have daily reminders of Buddhist principles when visiting this country.
- Many practitioners offer daily offerings to spirit houses.
- Thailand Buddhists feed street dogs to get favor and fulfill their wishes.
- Thailand people believe that they can live long and happily by making merits.
- They make merits by offering food to street dogs and doing other things.
- Some prefer to wear Buddhist amulets to get protection from evil powers.
Thailand is home to many Buddhist monks, more than 300,000. Monks live and practice Buddhist teachings in the Land of Smiles and receive great admiration. Also, visitors can see monks all over, from Bangkok to Phuket. Monks are recognizable from their orange and yellow robes. Many Thai people like to start their day with Monks. They give offering to those who collect food and other donations on the road.
In addition, every man in this land becomes a monk for some time before twenty years. They have to become a monk for three months, but the period might vary based on their preference. Most like to become a monk for a few weeks. However, the objective is to get merit and good karma and attract a happy and healthy life. Thailand people believe that rich people get wealth and health because of the good karma of previous birth and the poorer ones suffer in this birth for the wrongdoings of their last birth. They focus on good karma and merit to make their next life happy, wealthy, and healthy.
Buddhist Festivals in Thailand
Thailand people celebrate many Buddhist festivals, and one such famous festival is Makha Puja. During this puja, Buddhists come to the temple to light candles. They observe this festival in February during the full moon. It is a national festival, and most people throughout Thailand celebrate it.
Another Buddhist festival Thailand people celebrate in early March is Wat Phra Buddhaphat Fair. Most temples in Thailand have natural and artificial Buddha footprints, but the most famous one is at Puddhabat Temple in Saraburi. People come to this temple and worship the large print during this festival.
In April, some men below twenty years become monks and walk in a parade with colorful costumes. They call this celebration Si Satchanalai Ordinations. Another famous Buddhist festival is Songkran which tourists celebrate when exploring this land. The celebration takes place as a symbol of washing away bad luck and sin. They start the celebration by pouring water over the Buddha statue.
Apart from these, Thailand Buddhists celebrate Visaka puja, Khao Phansa, Asanha Puja, and The Sakhon Nakhon Wax Candle Festival. When Visaka puja is the festival of birth, death, and enlightenment, Kahao puja is the start of the three months when monks remain immobile. Buddhists celebrate the Asanha puja in July during the full moon. The Sakhon Nakhon Wax Candle Festival is the celebration of the end of the Buddhist Lent.
Thailand is home to the most well-known Buddhist temples. Tourists can visit more than 30,000 temples all over the country. The most popular ones in the Land of Smiles are Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Phra Kaew. The first one is in Chiang Mai, and the second famous temple is in Bangkok. Many Buddhists spend their holidays roaming around the architectural wonders of these temples. Most temples house monks and act as gathering places. Some of them are schools and massage schools with markets outside.