Back to the list of 10 Things I love About You, Thailand and we’re on 6: Access to Buddhism.
Perhaps access is the wrong word to use here. What I’m referring to is more the fact that Buddhism is infused into the way of life here but not as apparent as Bhutan or Dharamsala.
Buddhism forms the foundation of Thai consciousness whether we are aware of it is another story.
Take the Thai language as an example, it has so many Buddhist reference and not just doctrinal, more everyday philosophy that can be applied for better understanding of this human condition!
This word, จิต, Jit (citta in Pali) is a good example. This isn’t associated with intellect or rationale. It’s simply defined by practising monks as the thing that knows. Simplicity in itself and yet it defines it very well.
Then there is ใจ, Jai , defines as heart – Christopher G Moore even dedicated some years of his life, compiling and translating the “Jai” words into English. Why not go and find out what you understand? But let me tell you that we use heart a lot and it refers to how we feel, heartfelt! Another example od Buddhist association.
Incidentally จิตใจ, has come to be associated with the quality of being human, similar to the western philosophy bit definitely not the same!
Now take the wai or anjali. We, Thais do this nowadays without giving it much thought, even Ronald McDonald in Thailand stands outside his burger joints with a wai!
What you might not know though and the wicki does not include this explanation either; a wai or an anjali is an act of surrender.
When you meet someone worthy of respect, you anjali. Traditionally, you bow with your head to the ground and hands together. A posture that renders you totally defenceless and most vulnerable.
This act of totally surrendering your ego to someone worthy and it is so magnificent! It has become “traditional.” A word that to me, is the cause of Thai becoming muted to the real identities.
Buddhism still has an influence on all Thais, regardless of creeds or religions. A good example is the Thai virtue of generosity, we are world famous for this (even if the world media only want to depict us as country of scammers, cheats and politically inept). Don’t take my word on it though, go and read Johnny Foreigner blog and decide for yourself.
So this is it folks, my number 6 and why I will not leave this country and the access to Buddhism that allows me to centre my life.