Greetings from Thailand

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Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:41 am

Hello everyone,
I'm Graham and I teach in Thailand, though I am from the UK.
It's Theravadan Buddhism here, which I find quite strange :) Everyone eats meat and drinks alcohol.
I'm married with two small kids.
Graham
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby David N. Snyder » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:04 am

:hi:
Welcome to Dharma Wheel!
:buddha2:

How is it strange? Do you mean in the sense that the precepts are not kept?
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:38 am

David N. Snyder wrote::hi:
Welcome to Dharma Wheel!
:buddha2:

How is it strange? Do you mean in the sense that the precepts are not kept?


Hi :namaste:

They seem to interpret the precepts differently. Hence cock fights are accepted as the animals kill each other. Everyone eats meat - well they don't kill the animal themselves... and is whisky really an intoxicant ...? :tongue:

I could go on, local monks from one temple stand in the market, smiling at passers-by with their 'alms' bowls to collect food! :thinking:

It's not all bad and there are strict temples too, mainly out of town. :thumbsup:

Threvedan Buddhism came to Thailand from Sri Lanka and apparently they eat fish and meat there too. Not sure about alcohol. :stirthepot:

I would say I find it harder to practice Buddhism here than I did in Britain. :tantrum:

Graham :meditate:
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby lobster » Mon Oct 22, 2012 12:56 pm

:namaste:
they drink in Sri Lanka, in fact some monks have to haul in the local drunkard . . . their abbot . . . reminds me how rabbit was deemed a fish in Medieval Christendom, so that Friday would not be meat free for the high living clergy.

Hypocrisy is a way of life. So is integrity. Religion is no substitute.

Oh hi, nice family pic . . .
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Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Mon Oct 22, 2012 1:52 pm

lobster wrote::namaste:
they drink in Sri Lanka, in fact some monks have to haul in the local drunkard . . . their abbot . . . reminds me how rabbit was deemed a fish in Medieval Christendom, so that Friday would not be meat free for the high living clergy.

Hypocrisy is a way of life. So is integrity. Religion is no substitute.

Oh hi, nice family pic . . .


Similar news in Thailand too.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/breakingnews ... s-arrested

Unfortunately there are so many monks here, there is more opportunity for rotten eggs to get in the basket

Graham
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby lobster » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:05 am

Don't they have 'being a monk' as a form of voluntary 'National Service' in Thailand?
So the partying boys were just doing what a lot of boys and girls do at that age.

No chance they were advanced tantrikas I suppose . . . :thinking:
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Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:26 am

lobster wrote:Don't they have 'being a monk' as a form of voluntary 'National Service' in Thailand?
So the partying boys were just doing what a lot of boys and girls do at that age.

No chance they were advanced tantrikas I suppose . . . :thinking:


Hi Lobster

Being a monk won't get you out of military service. One of the problems is most people (often forced by their family) become a monk for a few days, maybe a month, usually before or after going to university and not all take it very seriously.

The news report is not just about partying, they had a gun and knives too . . . . !

Graham
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:33 am

My two bhat...

I have spent a fair amount of time in Thailand and did temporary ordination there (samanera) at a Wat in Chiang Mai region.

My experience in the northern wats and the forest temples was that of very strict vinaya observance. I never saw a drunk bhikkhu, and frankly never saw a bhikkhu drink anything, The monks I was with were scrupulous about not eating after noon, and walked pindabhat every morning for almsfood, which they shared with local children.

Just as it is searching for a Wat to find meditation instruction, one needs to do a bit of searching to find good vinaya temples.

In Thailand, the young men are all expected to ordain for some period of time. I believe that many of these ordainees do not take their going forth very seriously, and yes, you will see monks acting badly. I suspect that most if not all of these bad behaving monks will disrobe after a short time and go back to lay life. Again, this process of ordaining and then disrobing is a part of Thai life, and I'm sure it leads to many seeing some monks acting badly.

I was fortunate, maybe because I was in the north, that my experience was of being among some very good, noble, and faithful bhikkhus. Eve among some of the boys and teenagers, the behavior was good, as these kids saw being a novice or bhikkhu as a means to get an education and have a chance at a future educated life, vs, working as their parents do in the fruit fields. Being in robes is a huge advantage for them and for some, I'm sure they feel quite grateful as do their parents for them. My guess is that around the big cities, esp. Bangkok, you'll see the aberrant behaviors in the younger and less dedicated monks.
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Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:27 am

BuddhaSoup wrote:My two bhat...

I have spent a fair amount of time in Thailand and did temporary ordination there (samanera) at a Wat in Chiang Mai region.

My experience in the northern wats and the forest temples was that of very strict vinaya observance. I never saw a drunk bhikkhu, and frankly never saw a bhikkhu drink anything, The monks I was with were scrupulous about not eating after noon, and walked pindabhat every morning for almsfood, which they shared with local children.

Just as it is searching for a Wat to find meditation instruction, one needs to do a bit of searching to find good vinaya temples.

In Thailand, the young men are all expected to ordain for some period of time. I believe that many of these ordainees do not take their going forth very seriously, and yes, you will see monks acting badly. I suspect that most if not all of these bad behaving monks will disrobe after a short time and go back to lay life. Again, this process of ordaining and then disrobing is a part of Thai life, and I'm sure it leads to many seeing some monks acting badly.

I was fortunate, maybe because I was in the north, that my experience was of being among some very good, noble, and faithful bhikkhus. Eve among some of the boys and teenagers, the behavior was good, as these kids saw being a novice or bhikkhu as a means to get an education and have a chance at a future educated life, vs, working as their parents do in the fruit fields. Being in robes is a huge advantage for them and for some, I'm sure they feel quite grateful as do their parents for them. My guess is that around the big cities, esp. Bangkok, you'll see the aberrant behaviors in the younger and less dedicated monks.


I am sure this is correct, in the north and northeast the temples are usually better disciplined and the monks deservedly more respected. We attend a forest temple where we live in central Thailand.

The town Wats in central and the south, from my experience, are often (not always) quite different and I have frequently seen monks sitting around with their Blackberries smoking.

Graham
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby BuddhaSoup » Tue Oct 23, 2012 12:58 pm

I am sure this is correct, in the north and northeast the temples are usually better disciplined and the monks deservedly more respected. We attend a forest temple where we live in central Thailand.

The town Wats in central and the south, from my experience, are often (not always) quite different and I have frequently seen monks sitting around with their Blackberries smoking.

Graham


Graham, you're right about this, One of my bhikkhu friends used to say "if you want to know the best cell phone to buy, ask a Thai city monk" He meant it in a humorous way, but I think there was an edge of truth to this idea.

Metta, and thanks for your interesting original posting.
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby waimengwan » Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:59 pm

Hey Graham,
Welcome to DW.

Thailand is the beautiful Theravadan tradition and we can see the monks practicing non attachment to the whatever is given to them. So I suppose most normal Thais will just follow as per the monks in a way if they do not go too deeply into Buddhism. There is certain rules about you should not partake in meats that you knowingly have been slaughtered for you and etc. But I think that applies only to monks not the laity.

If people were just to go to the abbatoirs and slaughter houses and have studied about karma will know that if we consume meats we are indirectly asking a being to die so that we can feast on their flesh IMHO.

If you like the concept of vegetarianism do check out my Lama's blog http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-ri ... etarianism
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:24 pm

Hey Graham!

Welcome to Dharma Wheel!

Hope your stay here is pleasant and informative.

On the vegetarian issue: the Vinaya that the Theravadra monks follow does not impose vegetariansim. Monks are meant to accept and eat whatever is offered to them. The idea that Buddhist "have to" be vegetarian is a Mahayana thing. So no hypocrisy there on the part of the monks.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:18 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Hey Graham!

Welcome to Dharma Wheel!

Hope your stay here is pleasant and informative.

On the vegetarian issue: the Vinaya that the Theravadra monks follow does not impose vegetariansim. Monks are meant to accept and eat whatever is offered to them. The idea that Buddhist "have to" be vegetarian is a Mahayana thing. So no hypocrisy there on the part of the monks.
:namaste:


Hi and thank you for your welcome,

I don't think I actually mentioned monks eating meat, I know they have to accept what they are offered, unless the animal is specifically slaughtered for the,

Thanks again

Graham
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Greetings from Thailand

Postby GrahamR » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:23 am

waimengwan wrote:Hey Graham,
Welcome to DW.

Thailand is the beautiful Theravadan tradition and we can see the monks practicing non attachment to the whatever is given to them. So I suppose most normal Thais will just follow as per the monks in a way if they do not go too deeply into Buddhism. There is certain rules about you should not partake in meats that you knowingly have been slaughtered for you and etc. But I think that applies only to monks not the laity.

If people were just to go to the abbatoirs and slaughter houses and have studied about karma will know that if we consume meats we are indirectly asking a being to die so that we can feast on their flesh IMHO.

If you like the concept of vegetarianism do check out my Lama's blog http://blog.tsemtulku.com/tsem-tulku-ri ... etarianism


Hi Waimengwan,

Thanks for the link. :thanks:

Maybe I wasn't very clear, but I was trying to express my surprise in general about how both some Monks and Lay people behave in Thailand.

I have been to India and stayed on farms in the north. Buddhists were very strict about killing anything, they don't drink alcohol or drugs.

What I find strange is here it is the opposite: :rules: :soapbox:

First Precept - Killing - If your neighbours dog barks, you don't say anything to them, you poison it. Same if the cat makes a mess in your garden. Cockfighting is also a popular sport. Abortion is common. I could go on and on ... :thinking:

Second Precept - Theft - theft is quite low here :) Big plus :twothumbsup: :applause:

Third Precept - Sex - there is a massive, seedy sex industry :toilet:

Forth Precept - Lies- people just tell you want you want to hear and think it's being polite :crying:

Fifth Precept - Intoxicants - Almost all men drink alcohol as do many women. Drugs are common, including among school children. :cheers:

Some monasteries are well disciplined with good teaching. Unfortunately some of those, almost invariably in the big towns and cities, are quite the opposite. Their monks are the ones the public sees. :tantrum:

To me Buddhism often seems a surface veneer on top of a base of animism, Hinduism and Chinese religion.

I don't want to be negative, there are many positive things here too. But there is also room for improvement ...

To me buying dead meat that someone else has slaughtered is like paying an assassin to kill my wife and saying I am not guilty for her death. But that is just my view and another issue. :zzz:

With Metta

Graham
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby Quiet Heart » Sat Oct 27, 2012 12:11 pm

GrahamR wrote:Hello everyone,
I'm Graham and I teach in Thailand, though I am from the UK.
It's Theravadan Buddhism here, which I find quite strange :) Everyone eats meat and drinks alcohol.
I'm married with two small kids.
Graham

----------------------------
So you're in Thailand too!
I'm in Bangkok, originally from the east coast of the U.S. (Massachusetts) and am retired in Bangkok now.
Just to be clear though not everyone, especially the monks, eats meat or drinks alchohol.
Bur I'll tell you an Irish story about something like that.
Once there was a Irish Protestant who married a Catholic girl, and converted to Catholicisim.
After he was baptisted a Catholic and all, he admiited to the priest he felt strange about being a Catholic.
"Well father", he said, "I know I was baptised a Catholic and all, but it still seems strange being a Catholic, and I don't know what to do about it"
"Well", the priest replied," why don't you try this? Every time you start feeling strange about being a Catholic then think to yourself...... Don't worry, I'm a only a Catholic"
"Alright, I'll give that a try, then", the man replied.
Now a few weeks later the Priest was making his rounds of the parrish, and he came to that man's house.
Entering the house he saw Mary, the man's wife, sitting and knitting.
"Mary", he asked, "where's your husband?"
She replied, "He's out in the kitchen father, frying up a nice juicy steak."
Well this being a Friday, the Priest was a bit concerned. So he went out into the kitchen to see for himslf.
And when he got there, that man had a big juicy steak in the pan, and was scooping gravey over it, and saying to himself, "Now don't you worry, I'm a Catholic and that there in the pan is only a Fish."
:smile:

By the way, I practice Zen Buddhisim myself.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby Jikan » Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:58 pm

Hi Graham,

Welcome to DharmaWheel!
Need help getting on retreat? Want to support others in practice? Pay the Dana for Dharma forum a visit...

viewtopic.php?f=114&t=13727
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Re: Greetings from Thailand

Postby relay » Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:32 am

Welcome from New York, US.

peace,
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