[Buddha-l] Thai Buddhism in crisis

Jo ugg-5 at spro.net
Thu Dec 20 10:38:54 MST 2012

It's a takeout world. People being taken out too-- by human not cosmic agency.
Probably the Burmese monks on loan are sure happy to move out of Burma.

I predict that a majority of ordinary Thai will dump Buddhism and go for some version of Christianity--because you don't need to meditate, you don't need to spend money and time making merit since doing that is contrary to a lot of Protestant beliefs (i.e., God's grace is unpredictable), if you sin you can be forgiven on a weekly basis (Catholic), and you can show off if rich by building churches that have many fewer mouths to feed/support by donations than the monasteries. 
Here Christianity goes right along with our other religion, consumerism.

Not heartening thoughts for the world's future (although Thai Buddhism was, and remains even abroad (except for a couple of outfits in UK), a matter mostly of ethnic association, so any impact on the world was and is probably moot. 

Western Buddhism still has a chance to impact the world beneficially, if it doesn't continue to go bonkers over building wildly hyperbolic pagodas, supporting the luxurious lifestyle of lamas and gurus, and collecting tons of paraphernalia as advertised in Buddhist mags here. Western Buddhism might actually have a chance of responding, not reacting, to climate change/global warming/overuse of resources.


On Behalf Of Dan Lusthaus
Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 9:56 PM

>From NYT

Monks Lose Relevance as Thailand Grows Richer

Commercial Buddhism in Thailand: Buddhism has been a way of life in Thailand for centuries, but inside the most popular temples is a trend that critics call “fast-food Buddhism.”
Published: December 18, 2012

BAAN PA CHI, Thailand — The monks of this northern Thai village no longer perform one of the defining rituals of Buddhism, the early-morning walk through the community to collect food. Instead, the temple’s abbot dials a local restaurant and has takeout delivered.


The gilded roofs of Buddhist temples are as much a part of Thailand’s landscape as rice paddies and palm trees. The temples were once the heart of village life, serving as meeting places, guesthouses and community centers. 
But many have become little more than ornaments of the past, marginalized by a shortage of monks and an increasingly secular society.

“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.”

The meditative lifestyle of the monkhood offers little allure to the iPhone generation. The number of monks and novices relative to the population has fallen by more than half over the last three decades. There are five monks and novices for every 1,000 people today, compared with 11 in 1980, when governments began keeping nationwide records.

Although it is still relatively rare for temples to close, many districts are so short on monks that abbots here in northern Thailand recruit across the border from impoverished Myanmar, where monasteries are overflowing with novices.

--rest of article at

Also, 3 1/2 minute video at


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