Is Buddhism not Important Anymore?

Buddhist monk boy with box turtleI visited a Buddhist temple the other day… It was incredible, very nice, traditional…

Then as I circled around to the back of the temple there was a small convenience store that had some tall girls looking out over the temple – and, it appeared… at me.

As I got closer I realized they were ladyboys, “katoey” boys dressed as girls. They were talking to me and telling me to come and buy something… and asking if they were “suay” – pretty. I was laughing at the absurdity of it all when one of them – then the other as well started giving me the tongue in the cheek and the fist up to the mouth routine.

What? They were going to give me oral sex in the store overlooking the Buddhist Temple?

I’m wondering if Thailand is in a steady decline as far as morals, and traditions go. When I got here a couple years ago I really loved the people… it was refreshing to see how they had respect for the elders and each other… and even for strangers. I was in the Isaan region and there is quite a bit MORE respect shown among people there than other places.

Pattaya? There is none. Bangkok – sometimes.

Now that I’ve been here a little while I am starting to find out that it used to be SO MUCH BETTER here… Friends have told me how it was 10, 20 years ago and it sounds like paradise…

At another temple I was at 2 weeks ago I saw a lot of boy monks under age 14 running around and playing games. One of them threw a box turtle about as big as my hand on the sand from a distance of about 2 feet. Another couple boys were lighting rockets from various places around the temple grounds. Other kids were playing chase. Others were banging on the drums, ringing the bells, talking on cell phones and eating candies.

I think it’s inevitable that Thailand becomes as bad as the USA is in terms of respect that we have for each other. It’s sad, and makes me wonder if there are other countries where people treat each other with more respect than Thailand. Anyone know any? I don’t.

In think that the ones with western abbots like Wat Pah Nanachat in Warin Chamrap close to Ubon Ratchathani and Suan Mokkh in Chaiya, near Surat Thani are run much more traditionally. Perhaps because they both get a LOT of visitors. The wats I usually visit are those that don’t have visitors, and they’re out of the way.

In general it seems that the older the monk population, the more traditionally it’s run. Is that right?

If the temple is full of 20 something monks I usually see lots of things that aren’t really traditional Buddhist practice going on.

What have you seen? Anything out of the ordinary – or different from what you expected to see at the temple?

Author: Vern

I'm an American expat living in Thailand. I like to write informative pieces about life in, living in Thailand, including topics like: Thai People, Thai Culture, Nightlife, Technology, and I have published a lot of photographs, videos, and even books on Thailand that you can find at ThailandeBooks.com. There are many photographs of Thailand here - feel free to share with attribution (a link back to the home page). All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+.