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Friday, August 3, 2012

Once again a new obsrvance day in Thailand to replace Asalha Puja

I do not know how many times Thais have lughed at my pronounciation of Thai words and reminding me that the language should be spoken precisely. Well once again they need to take some of their own medicine. . One of Thailand's Nearly English Language Dailies, the Bangkok Post ran this headline and story for Asalha Puja "Thais flock to temples for Asarnha Bucha", beats me, never heard of it.Then to tell us "In Bangkok, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration staged an event to encourage Bangkok residents to present books to monks as offerings so the books would be distributed to a Bangkok library to promote literature, learning and create a better reading culture in society." Only a few days ago we were told that 45% of the monks in Thailand are overweight and ONET scores show that the youth of today average 41% literacy in Thai and show up 42d out of 44 countries in English comprehension. Perhaps comic books showing pictures of what constitutes a good balanced diet would be more appropriate. And since most books are available in PDF format teaching ecology, and not cutting up trees might be a usefull lesson.
\The other thing that seems to be stressed for Asalha Puja and Khao Pansaa is offering robes to monks. For the past 25 years that I am aware of robe cloth has traditionally been offered at Kathina after Auk Pansaa. Pansaa, by the way is the Buddhist rains retreat, not Lent. Calling it Buddhist Lent is a bit like telling someone that their fater looks a lot like them. Buddhism predates Christianity. Si it might be fair to call Lent  Chistian Pansaa.
Back to robes most monks in Thailand no longer know how to sew their own robes and they are store bought. In the Forest Wats, Kammathana Dhutanga Wats Bhikkhus are offered cloth, which they dye and cut an sew into robes. In Buddhist Temples Kathina is the time for offering requisites. Asalha Puja the day before Pansaa is usually the dat that samana receive full ordination and, or Pakaow receive samana ordination.