How temples in Thailand are important to Thai People?

The temple is the center of Thai society. It is the starting point and the creation of the beauty of Thai cultures for the Thai people. 

In the past, Thai people were very close and connected to the temple, because the temple can be considered as the center and spiritual center of the people in the community. It was the first school for Thai people because there was no school at that time, the temple was used to educate the children with a monk as a teacher. In addition, Thai people also used the temple as a meeting place for doing various activities together, such as meeting the village. Today, it is still used as a place to organize ordination, funerals, and a place of merit on various important days, and as a learning center as well.

Roles of temples and monks in Thai society

At present, in the midst of social change Western culture that flows into Thai society causes children, youth, and people to become too attached to materialism, making people farther from temples than in the past. However, there are still many Thais who believe in Buddhism. Thus, the temple continues to play a role in Thai society as follows:

1. It is a place of merit making on important days

Most Thai people are Buddhists, so when it comes to important religious days, whether it’s Visakha Bucha Day, Asarnha Bucha Day, Buddhist Lent Day, etc. Buddhists travel to the temple in the morning to make merit. Offering food to the monks and listening to teachings from the monks. Then in the evening, the people will come together.

Not only on religious matters, but also on birthdays. Many people will make merit and give food to the monks. Some Thai people believe that these merits will benefit them both in this life and in the next life.

2. A place for ordination events

Most Thai men before marriage are ordained to their parents because they believe that after death, this benefit will help their parents go to heaven. Therefore, many Thai families use the temple as a place for ordination events, with monks performing the rituals.

3. It is a place where funerals are held.

When a person dies usually funerals are held at the temple and various funeral rituals are performed, such as prayer, metaphysics and cremation.

4. It is a center of art and culture.

When you have visited many temples in Thailand, you will find that the temple is a place to gather and create culture. There is a beauty of Buddha and temple architecture, pavilions, temples and statues as well as a story and beautiful murals. Nowadays, many people go to temples to see the beauty of art and culture to inspire their creations.

5. It is a learning center.

Nowadays, most Thai people have already sent their children to school. The temple is therefore not the main educational institution of most Thai people. But there are still some Thai people who are poor parents and send their children to the temple to gain knowledge. Receive moral training from the monks and practice various skills in order to be able to pursue a career in the future.

6. A place to do various activities

In addition to the temple being used in religious rituals for Thai people. The temple is often used as a venue for other events such as meetings or festivities, and as a meeting place.

Therefore, the temple is the center of Thai society. It is the starting point and the creation of various cultures of the Thai people. These cultures have become a longstanding value and belief. It has taken place in almost every Thai society and has become a way of shaping Thai behavior patterns. The temple can therefore be regarded as a treasure of Thai people for future generations to appreciate the beauty of Thai culture.

December 9, 2020

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