Random Thoughts


I do not profess to be an expert in the Buddhist way of life but I have a  lot of contact with Buddhism and find it fascinating and will share some of my thoughts with you here.

Thailand is 95% Buddhist which is a peaceful “religion” and it is practiced openly on a daily basis, including in the schools. Kids here are taught the Buddhist way daily even in public schools Buddhism is practiced. Children here are taught respect for their elders. That is not to say the children never get in trouble or cause problems but they seem to be minimal. It seems the older you are, the more respected you are. The elders in this village are considered an asset not a hindrance. The younger generations respect the wisdom and experience of the older generation.

Many feel Buddhism is not a religion but rather a way of life. Buddha was a "man" not a God. He led a incredible life and became a teacher of how to reach "Nirvana" which allows you to stop the cycle of birth and death we all go through. Buddha, through meditation, was able to see many of his past lives and all the lessons he learned from his various life forms and stations in life. Buddha was born 563 years before Christ. Something I really like is that Buddhists do not deny other religions. You can be any religion and still practice Buddhism.  

Theravada is the type of Buddhism practiced in Thailand. It is also prevalent in Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Bangladesh. 

Here are explanations of the Three Major types of Buddhism:

Theravada Buddhism – this is the first and the southern Buddhism that the word comes from pali language which means that “the Doctrine of the Elders”. Their biggest aim is to use the meditation to train mind, and to encourage freedom of the mind from suffering. This kind or freedom from suffering will allow you to reach the greatest spiritual goal the Nirvana. Theravada Buddhism is the only surviving school from the earliest years of Buddhism.

Mahayana Buddhism – This is Buddhism in eastern Buddhism. This section not only teaches the Pali Canon, this is the religious text in Theravada Buddhism but it also includes additional texts and beliefs. This type of Buddhism believes that the person must practice universal compassion, and that is the altruistic quest of the Bodhisattva to attain the “Awakened Mind” of Buddha hood. This has also a level of mysticism involved.

Tibetan Buddhism – This is the third type of Buddhism that was located in the Northern. This type of Buddhism is also considered to be a type of Mahayana Buddhism, but this way also embraces other teachings, texts, and practices that are not seen in the eastern type. This is also sometimes called Tantric Buddhism or Vajrayana and uses both Mahayana and Theraveda scriptures.

Strange Customs and Beliefs

  • If you do not like to be stared at you may not want to spend time in Northeast Thailand (Isaan). Very few tourists ever visit this area and seeing a Falang (foreigner) is in fact somewhat of a rare occurrence. I can promise you that you will be stared at, especially by the kids. I don't mind and always try to keep a big smile on my face. I always know when they are talking about me because I hear the word Falang in the conversation. During my last visit here two years ago I had an old farmer who spotted me walk over to me and rub my arm and told me wife he never thought he would have the chance to touch the nice white skin of a Falang. 
  • Why is it that Thais think nothing of picking their nose in front of everyone but use their hands to hide their mouth when using a toothpick?
  • Much of the furniture here is made out of very hard wood and is not comfortable. It looks beautiful and will probably last forever but not only is it hard, the part you sit on is usually very long so that if your legs are on the ground you cannot lean back on it.
  • Thais just don’t seem to worry about how clean it is outside their houses. If you look at many of the photos on my site you may see litter everywhere. Unlike America where we obsess about picking up every little piece of litter, keeping our lawns looking as good as possible, etc. that just isn’t important here. I am not sure it is a bad thing. I began to realize after some time here that I too don’t really notice all the trash and litter. It is just part of the charm.
  • The hotter it gets the more clothes they put on. It amazes me that in this heat they will wear jackets, sweaters, wool hats and long pants. I know they do not like to be exposed to the sun and much prefer light skin to dark. In Thailand dark skin is a sign of a poor farmer who has to work in the fields and light skin a more elite that can work in an office building. In the U.S. we look at dark skin as having the money to go on vacations and lay in the sun. Lay in the sun is the last thing most Thais would do.
  • Thais never wear shoes inside a house. They are very skilled at stepping right out of there sandals in front of the door without slowing down. When I say in front of the door I mean it. If you are the last person in I guarantee you will be stepping over many pair of shoes. I can't figure out why the don't simply place them off to the side so others do not have to step over them. But I know I cannot change these things. 
  • Thais do not eat three a meals a day like we do. They eat from the time they wake up until they go to bed. Eating is a very social thing here. If I ride a bike or walk around the village people will ask me to come and eat with them. If you don't want to go somewhere to eat, food will come to you. Many people on foot, on bikes, on motorcycles and in vehicles move through the village selling all kinds of food. Also about every 3rd house has some type of little store front in front of their house selling some type of treats or food. Everything from potato chips to little gelatin desert cups to soda. 

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