Religion and Culture
Thailand is probably the world’s largest Buddhist country with 95% of Thais being Theravada Buddhists. From an anthropological perspective, religion and culture are intertwined, that is to say, religion is actually a cultural universal of which includes beliefs and activities pertaining to supernatural beings, powers, and forces. Therefore, by virtue of Thai demographic composition, Thai Buddhism and, thus, Thai culture invariably comprises an integration of Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and other indigenous folk religions. The beliefs in supernatural beings, powers, and forces are traditional beliefs of the Thai people and they form a deeply entrenched culture known collectively as “Sayasak” (ไสยศาสตร์).
Theravada Buddhism is Thailand’s de facto national religion and, unlike other religion, Buddhism in general does not seek to force convert individuals to a particular set of belief system and, hence, is able to integrate other traditional beliefs, rituals, and practices in Thailand. As a result thereof, supernatural powers in the forms of Buddha images, amulets, talismans and et cetera are in toto important aspects of Thai Buddhism. The supernatural aspects of Thai Buddhism have become a popular culture that transcends beyond national boundary.
However, it has to be noted Thai Buddhism does not focus on the supernatural powers alone. The essence and fundamentals remain deeply-rooted in Buddhist principles. As Thai Buddhism grows and expands so do the number of religious teachers. Therefore, it is imperative for you to understand both the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings) and the Vinaya (the monastic discipline), which constitutes the main root of the Buddhasasana vis-a-vis the Buddhist religion.
It is hence our endeavor to dedicate this category for this purpose. In our upcoming article we will start off with the “Four Fulfilling Conditions” or Sampati in order to be accepted into monkhood.
Please check out this category regularly for new updates.