Friday, June 19, 2009

Thai Buddhist Culture

Every Buddhist country has different beliefs and has been influenced by other cultures. For instance, the Vietnamese is strongly influenced by Chinese, Loa is influenced by India and so is Thailand, but in different ways.
Thai’s worship the Buddha but they also worship Hindu gods. So, if they want to pray for peace they will pray to the Buddha. But if they want to pray for wealth and prosperity they pray to the Hindu gods.
As we immerse ourselves in the Thai culture, we have learned some things along the way.
Offerings: Thais bring incense, money, food, and white flowers to the temple as an offering to Buddha.

In Threes:
Prayer is done 3x and most walk around the temple or Wat 3x.

Rude Behavior:
When you kneel before a Buddha statue in a temple, you should never sit with your feet in front of you pointing at the Buddha. You must sit on your feet or sit with them on your side. They are considered to be the dirtiest or lowest part of your body. At the Grand Palace in Bangkok they actually have police patrolling the area to make sure you are respectful of these traditions.

Days of the Week
: Every day of the week is represented by a different Buddha statue. They are broken up into the different stages of Buddha’s life. Whatever day you were born on is what statue you follow. For instance, I was born on Saturday so my Buddha is ‘Protected by Naga King’. Three weeks after his enlightenment, while Buddha sat under a tree, it began to rain. The Naga King- a gigantic dragon-like snake- rose from the earth and formed an umbrella with his 7 heads in order to protect the Buddha.

Buddhist Calendar:
Currently we are in 2552 (I think), Thai’s believe this Buddha will last 5,000 years total and when the year 5,000 is over there will be a new Buddha.

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