Home to many pristine islands and beaches that amaze crowds from all over the world to the country of Thailand. Their welcoming nature and hospitable attitude towards foreigners make travelling in Thailand a breeze to many. If you are a frequent visitor to Thailand, you would have witnessed their devotion towards Buddhism as temples can be seen in many spots and monks are highly respected throughout the country.
Belief and Believe
Thailand has the 3rd largest Buddhism population behind China and Japan, with close to 95% of its population and approximately 64 million of them are Buddhist. Their beliefs are categorised under four different domain of Buddhism in the country ( Theravada or Southern Buddhism, Mahayana or Northern Buddhism, Burma (Pagan) Buddhism, Ceylon (Lankavamsa) Buddhism). The official religion of Thailand is Theravada Buddhism and its origin can be traced back to the 3rd century B.C where it was practiced substantially by then Emperor Asoka. The beliefs of Buddhism is still widely practiced till date, and it is expected of every man in the country to enter monk-hood for a period of time before the age of 20 to gain good karma and merit.
According to report in 2019, US 1.25billion worth of amulets are traded each year and 7 out of 10 Thais wear them.
With the belief of Buddhism is deeply rooted in the hearts of many Thais, the culture of amulets grow in tandem too. It it believed by wearing the miniature image of various Buddhas manufactured in a sacred materials and blessed by monks can serve as protection against evil spirits and ward off unpleasant events. According to report in 2019, US 1.25billion worth of amulets are traded each year and 7 out of 10 Thais wear them. Some of the amulets blessed by highly respected monks can fetch a price of up to thousands of more. With the amulet market remains highly lucrative in Thailand and many parts of South East Asia, it is worth noting that the case of forgeries is on the rise too, and one should practice caution when necessary.
If you heard of the term “black cops” in the typical Hong Kong police drama, it is no surprise that you do get “black monks” among the likes of a devoted Buddhist country in Thailand. It was sighted in 2013 where a Thai monk by a name of Wiraphon Sukphon when footage emerged of him wearing designer aviator sunglasses with a Louis Vuitton bag on a private jet. The differential lifestyle that Sukphon has indulged for years eventually put him behind bars for 114 years in 2018 with series of charges related to money laundering and rape. Checks have since been stepped up by the government to deter such offences and protect the fundamental religion of Thailand for years to come.
The beliefs of one is strong but yet vulnerable to some.