Upon arrival in Thailand, many tourists find out that the religion plays an important role in Thai people’s lives and accordingly, tourism industry in Thailand has been influenced by the attraction of Buddhist temples, festivals and rituals for the tourists.
Here we will help you get a better grasp of Thai Buddhism and culture, and make use of that knowledge while traveling in Thailand.
Getting to know Buddhism
Buddhism is a very ancient religion, which originated in India. As the story goes, The Buddha or ‘The Enlightened One’ was actually a prince who got to witness human suffering and tried to find the key to human happiness by exploring different philosophies, hence the name The Enlightened One.
According to the Buddha, humans crave and go after material things to get satisfaction but they are incapable of fulfilling it, so they get caught in a painful cycle and suffer a lot. Buddha believes that if you get caught in this state, death and rebirth will be all around you in a continuous manner. But if you confine your cravings, you will be able to stop that cycle, and you will attain Nirvana, or the peace of mind.
Thai Buddhism is Theravada Buddhism
Theravada Buddhism is the official religion in Thailand and Thai people believe that it is the closest thing to the teachings of Buddha. According to Theravada beliefs, each human being should make his/her own way towards the enlightenment and should attain self-liberation on the way. This is done when you abstain from all evil deeds and try to purify your mind by meditation. You should also refrain from harming living beings and malicious acts and careless behavior.
Tourists and Thai Buddhism
Tourists often witness different traces of the Buddhist religion while traveling in the country, and get fascinated by it. These include amazing and ancient Buddhist temples, Thai Buddhist amulets, and offerings that the Thai people make to the monks and temples. Thai Buddhist monks with their unique orange robes and shaved heads are a sight to see, considering the fact that all Thai men become monks at some point in their lives. Thai people have so much respect for the Buddhist monks, and it is a behavior expected from the tourists as well.
Buddhist Temples in Thailand
Buddhist temples in Thailand are known as Wats. These are places of worship which attract Thai believers during Buddhist festivals and rituals like Songkran and Buddhist Lent Day. Most wats in Thailand enjoy mesmerizing architecture, and are a hit among foreign tourists as well. Some of the most well-known Buddhist temples in Thailand are: Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep and Wat Rong Khun.