World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 5

By Paul Bernabeo | Go to book overview

DAILY LIFE

Religion

The first written evidence of Thai beliefs is found in the earliest historical document of the kingdom, the Ramkhamhaeng Inscription (dated 1292). In the text King Ramkhamhaeng (reigned c. 1279-c. 1317) cites examples of his leadership that encouraged three different religious belief systems among the Thai people: animism, Buddhism, and Brahmanism.

Although Thailand is overwhelmingly Buddhist, the three dimensions of animism, Buddhism, and Brahmanism are interwoven into the fabric of Thai belief and are not easily disentangled. Belief in astrology and determining the most auspicious moment to carry out life-changing activities is still widespread. Animism attributes conscious life to plants and inanimate objects. This belief in spirits is common, including a belief in tree, cave, or mountain spirits, and in the spirit of the central pillar of a house (sao ek). Appeasing or communicating with these spirits often requires the intervention of experts in magic, a role that can be played by a lay person or a monk.


THE INFLUENCE OF BRAHMANISM

Brahmanism is an early form of Hinduism based on a series of religious texts called the Vedas. Brahmanism has many gods, though chief among these is Brahma. The priests in Brahmanism, the Brahmins, belong to the highest caste (class). The role of the Thai king and his Brahmanical advisers is still apparent. The Royal Plowing Ceremony (phithi rack na khwan) takes place following the hot season at the start of the rains (usually) in May. The ceremony is held at a central open space in Bangkok called Sanam Luang. The monarch, accompanied by his Brahmanical scholars, ritually plows a circle and scatters rice kernels. At the end of the ceremony, people are allowed to rush into the circle and collect these blessed rice seeds. Farmers return home to mix the seed with their own rice seeds and in so doing bless the nation's new crop.


THERAVADA BUDDHISM

Theravada Buddhists comprise around 95 percent of the Thai population, and many aspects of Thai life are influenced by the long-term presence of Theravada Buddhism in the nation.

Theravada is one of three schools of Buddhism (Theravada. Tantrayama, and Mahayana Buddhism) that differ in their beliefs about the Buddha. Theravada Buddhists hold that the Buddha was the only enlightened teacher. Theravada Buddhism, which is also known as the Southern School of Buddhism, spread from India and Sri Lanka into Southeast Asia. Theravada means [way of the elders,] and this school is known for adhering very closely to the Pali Canon, a set of sacred texts containing more than 40 volumes. The collection of sacred texts, which is also called the Tripitaka. or [Three Baskets,] includes the Vinaya (moral codes), the Sutta (teachings in sermon and dialogue form), and the Abhidhamma (the [higher.] more philosophical teachings).

While most Thais are not steeped in the theological nuances of Buddhist philosophy, everyday life in Thailand is intluenced by an affinity with Buddhism. The central aspects of the Buddhist [three characteristics of existence]—which include experiencing stress and anxiety and understanding how to come to terms with them; the experience of impermanence and flux; and the unimportance of maintaining a strong ego or self—affect Thai personality and society, as well as Thailand's worldview. Buddhist influence is evident in the emphasis Thai people place on the value of encouraging positive moods, accepting change, and placing importance on social harmony and collective sacrifice.


MON ASTICISM

Theravada Buddhism prides itself on maintaining a strict community of celibate monks, known as the sangha. Fully ordained monks are expected to observe 227 rules, which are recited each fortnight. Every morning, monks perform alms rounds through the local community to collect food. This practice keeps them in contact with the local people. The monks eat one or two meals a day (depending on the tradition of their temple) and fast from noon to the following sunrise, when they go out on alms rounds again. Theravada monks are

-690-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia - Vol. 5
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Country Locator for Volume 5 Myanmar and Thailand i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Geography and Climate 580
  • The Land of Myanmar and Thailand 582
  • Geology of Myanmar and Thailand 590
  • Climate of Myanmar and Thailand 594
  • Flora and Fauna of Thailand and Myanmar 598
  • History and Movement of Peoples 602
  • Sukhothai and Ayutthaya 604
  • Later Burmese Kingdoms 608
  • British Intervention in Burma 610
  • Peoples of Myanmar and Thailand 612
  • Myanmar (Burma) 614
  • Government 618
  • Modern History 620
  • War and Independence 623
  • Independent Burma 626
  • Modern Myanmar 628
  • Cultural Expression 630
  • Art and Architecture 632
  • Music and Performing Arts 636
  • Festivals and Ceremonies 638
  • Food and Drink 640
  • Daily Life 642
  • Family and Society 644
  • Welfare 646
  • Yangon (Rangoon) 648
  • Naypyidaw 650
  • Mandalay 651
  • Moulmein 652
  • Pegu 653
  • Economy 654
  • Thailand 662
  • Government 666
  • Modern History 668
  • Siam in Transition 670
  • The Age of Reform 672
  • War and Military Rule 674
  • Modern Thailand 676
  • Cultural Expression 678
  • Art and Architecture 680
  • Decorative Arts 683
  • Music and Performing Arts 684
  • Festivals and Ceremonies 687
  • Food and Drink 688
  • Daily Life 690
  • Family and Society 693
  • Health, Welfare, and Housing 695
  • Education 697
  • Bangkok 698
  • Chiang Mai 703
  • Nakhon Ratchasima 704
  • Udon Thani 705
  • Economy 706
  • Further Research 716
  • Index 718
  • World and Its Peoples 722
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 722

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.