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Sunday, August 26, 2012

An Almost Article about the Business of Buddhism in Thailand

The Bangkok Post, one of Thailand's Nearly English Language Dailies, has Iphone app titled "ThaiPad" and you can read all about it for yourself. As yet nothing for Android users, but based on what I have read, and learned, or not learned, never mind.
A twitter friend in the U.K. alerted me to an article in the thaipadmag, and since I could not view it was kind enough to send me the screenshots of the article "The Business of Buddhism" Concerns about Commercial Approaches to Buddhism in Thailand are leading critics to ask Is Nirvana for Sale? by Arusa Pisuthipan and Prapapasri Vasuhirun. The story centers on Dhammakaya, a Thai phenomenum.
The 1st thing that slapped me in the face was the fact that the authors, both I presume Thai, and once again both I presume to profess to be Buddhist do not even know when the Kathin season takes place. They state that ""Kathin" is a ceremony in which robes are offered to monks before the start of Buddhist Lent...". The Kathina season takes place after Auk pansaa and the requisites are offered to the bhikkhu sangha.
Now I have previously posted that calling the Pansaa Buddhist Lent, is like telling someone they look like their son. Buddhism predates Christianity by more than 500 years and while one might in some ways find some similarities there are more differences in the two.
The next thing that caught my eye was the statement " ... Buddhist monks in Thailand has fallen from about 300,000 about a decade ago to about 120,000 today...". There is no reference to the source of the data, which is the usual scam perpetrated by Thailand's pseudo journalists and Thailand's Nearly English Language Dailies. Just how many monks there are in Thailand seems to be a variable number. I am doing research on the "Numbers Game" in Thailand and will be posting a story on that soon.
There may be some actual facts in this article, I as of now I have no way of verifying any..
I emailed the the contact address and received the following "Dear ThaiPad digital magazine reader,
You’ve received this e-mail because you sent a comment to us.
This e-mail is to confirm that we've got your comment already. Which, we’ll use your comment to improve our magazine in the future.
Thanks a lot. (my emphasis)
This e-mail was sent out by Post Publishing PCL
136 Na Ranong Road, Klong Toey, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Tell +662-240-3700, Fax +662-240-3666
I have emailed Khin Arusa one of the authors and have recieved no response from either

Wat Dhammakaya is not the only Wat to encourage people to make merit by giving money and the commercialism of Buddhism in Thailand goes far beyond Dhammakaya.
The article does demonstrate that Thailand and in general the people of Thailand, have a best, a tenuous grasp of the principles of Buddhism