Buddhism and Meditation in Thailand
Buddhism, regarded as the religion of wisdom , has played a great role in the Thai society since ancient time. It molds Thai characters. It shapes the way the Thai people think and behave. It helps make the Thai people “kind and compassionate”, “tolerant” and “accommodating”, and “open arms”.
Buddhism is something to be experienced, not to be believed. It is the teaching for a practical man. Its depth can never be fathomed by argument, but by one’s own experience. Therefore, what is of utmost importance is to practice it. As the Buddha himself says:
“This doctrine is profound, hard to see, difficult to understand, calm, sublime, not within the sphere of logic, subtle, to be understood by the wise.”
“Well expounded is the Dharma by the Blessed One, to be self-realized, with immediate fruit, inviting investigation, leading onwards, to be comprehended by the wise, each by himself.”
Read more : THAI BUDDHISM in the Buddhist World, p. 11
Buddhism also provides the harmony and stability for the whole Thai Nation in forms of several festivities helping to bind people of different groups together harmoniously. The way of Thai life is inseparably connected with Buddhism from birth to death such as having a newborn child the parents are to approach a respected monk for an auspicious name for him. Children are taught to pray and pay homage to the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha) before going to bed, and to pay respect to monks.
Read more : The Triple Gem (Tiratana)
Buddhism is practically the state religion of Thailand. Under the constitution, the king must be a Buddhist, even though he is an upholder of all the five religions recognized by a Thai law, namely Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Brahmanism-Hinduism, Sikhism. There are 41,310 Buddhist temples with over 250,000 monk residents across Thailand in 2019.
According to the census of 2015, out of 67,228,562 total population of Thailand, 63,620,298 (94.50%) are Buddhists, 2,892,311 (4.29%) Muslims, 687,589 (1.17%) Christians, 22,110 Hindus (0.03), and 716 (0.001%) Sikhs. The rest are either Confucious, other forms of beliefs or even without religion.
Read more : Religion in Thailand