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Buddhism in the life of the Thais

Buddhism in the life of the ThaisBuddhism in the life of the Thais

To understand the life of the Thais, one must appreciate the vital role played in it by religion. As practiced in Thailand, popular Buddhism is a tolerant, receptive faith, following not only the direct words of the Buddha but also demonstrating a capacity to absorb many early Brahmanist, animist and astrological beliefs. It offers an ideal moral code, determining one's relations with other people, with both nature and the world of spirits, forming a current that runs from birth though death.

Thai Buddhists range from monks to laymen of varying degrees of devoutness, but the lives of all are affected since each individual is shaped by growing up in a society in which Buddhism is a pervasive, highly visible influence. The child acquires its teaching and practices from family and community rituals, from the ubiquitous monks, and (especially in the countryside) from the monastery or wat which serves as the physical setting for so many of his activities. There are differences in the way these influences come into play in various part of the country, but there are far more similarities that help shape the Thai character.