The deterioration of Buddhism in Thailand : Media, society and civilization are sculpturing the new shape of religion.April 29, 2019
Buddhism… a religion that has been around us for more than 2,500 years. It was first published in India by the prince named Siddhatta Gotama, who was believed by Buddhists to be an enlightened teacher who attained full Buddhahood and shared his insights to help sentient beings, end rebirth and suffering. Story of his life, discourses and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarised after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition about 400 years later.
Buddha, an intellectual genius who has seen things in the world penetratingly, and decided to spread his knowledge towards human beings, norm of the world, and also ways to released ourselves, as a human being, to the dimension of being ethereal, as known as, Nirvana.
Nirvana, a word that best describe the highest goal/state of Buddhism’s path. The actual meaning is “blowing out” or “quenching”. Most people say “It is the ultimate spiritual goal”.
Within the Buddhist tradition, this term has commonly been interpreted as the extinction of the “three fires”, or “three poisons”, passion, aversion and ignorance. When these fires are extinguished, release from the cycle of rebirth is attained.
Nirvana has also been deemed in Buddhism to be identical with non-self and emptiness states. In time, with the development of Buddhist doctrine, other interpretations were given, such as the absence of the weaving of activity of the mind as well as the elimination of desire. Buddhist scholastic tradition identifies two types of nirvana: sopadhishesa-nirvana (nirvana with a remainder), and parinirvana (nirvana without remainder, or final nirvana).The founder of Buddhism, the Buddha, is believed to have reached both these states.
The core of every religion, in my personal interpretation, is to cure, educate and enlighten people to understand the norm of lives, because as we are born humans, there are always unexplained things come and go through our lives in every single day. Happiness, misery, envy, sin and pain, without religion, human barely find a way to deal with them. Religion helps develope the society a civilized place to live, For instance, In Buddhism, Sin is considered forbidden, as there are five precept, the major part of the Buddhist practices to become more self-discipline. Observing the Precepts is a way to gain mastery of the mind.
The time keeps going on everyday, until now, since the death of the Buddha, the dogma is still the same, but the way of applying has been changed/developed in many several way and every single way has its own believers with different purposes of usage. Mostly, belief is the main core of every cult that has been built among Thai society, nowadays.
For example, a medium; a person who is believed to be possessed by a higher powerful spirit, which in this rite, the spirit that possess a medium has power over humans and is also capable of supernatural abilities, mostly, those abilities are predicting future, being aware of any individual’s karma or healing people from deadly disease. In Buddhism, besides, monks, group of people who forsake from the society, stay in temples and also educate people with the teachings from Buddha’s words, there are also Buddha statue which is basically a medium of Buddhism, people respect, pray and usually wish for good things to come to their life, based on the faith that there is powerful deity who is listening as they speak and is also willing to accomplish their wish, in this mentioning, this practice has played important role towards the rite of being possessed by the spirit in Thailand, because when people believe that powerful spirits exist, they are willing to do things, for example, respect, support them in such ways like donating money. This kind of system is a wrong way of applying Buddhism in life, people see the main purpose of this religion in wrong side.
Faith or being credulous, it depends on an individual’s interpretation. Moreover, this kind of topic is such an infinite conversation, as a citizen in Thailand, and also human being, people have the luxury to choose or believe such things they want to, but as a journalist student, informing facts while portraying point of view is necessary. Wrong applying, as this word has been mentioned earlier about a medium, Now, another scenario that had been talk of the town for a while, Luang Por Dhammajayo, the owner of Dhammakaya temple, who was pursued with a warrant by colluding with defalcating money from an institution. the story start with the person who is a student of Dhammakaya temple has donated a amount of dirty money to the temple, and as it has been announced later, the money has been spent in order to maintain the temple and was used for other purposes, personal needs of dhammajayo himself, for instance, which is also prohibited in term of a monk’s right. anyway, from the point of a Buddhist, seeing a monk running a business and use Buddhist as a fronting is unacceptable. Anyway, coin has two sides, in some part, Dhammakaya helps cure people minds and connect their ties together in peace and happiness, But when it comes to the overall image, it may have worsened the outlook of Buddhism.
New media, Buddhism and the progress of society, three different things from different eras, somehow, effects one another vitally. communication in the past was just forming a relationship between each one to another one or it can be communication as a group, but as new media has arrived, it changes how things work, a message can go viral.
Thoughts and ideals can be delivered to mountainous groups of people. People have the full rights to believe or do anything they think best for them, and new media has already been a new tool for them, to explore the world of ideology, believing in one religion is unnecessary, when people can adapt things around them and collect into one personal belief. The progress of society keep surprising us every single day which has a better response towards people’s increasing demand, thus there is no doubt that Philosophy has already been invented.
Philosophy is the study of fundamental question and general subjects that contains knowledge, values, reason, mind, language and existence. Problems are usually posed as problems to be studied and resolved as well as philosophical methods that include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument and also systematic presentation.
Everything is becoming more and more scientific which is a consequence of technological advances that does not only facilitate people, but also keep people intellect improving by scientific explanation and education, thus people tend to believe in Buddhism less in every single step the progress of society has taken.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2012 global study of 230 countries and territories, 16% of the world’s population is not affiliated with a religion, while 84% are affiliated. By 2060, according to their projections, the number of unaffiliated will increase by over 35 million, but the percentage will decrease to 13% because the total population will grow faster. As the report said, This situation can portray our society in various aspects. It can be said that Buddhism is driven by faith and belief, and as time has gone through many years, the power of faith and belief may have been weakened year by year either. There is a metaphor that said; rock, a strong material that is hard to be broken, can be eroded when water flow through, and in this mentioning, it can be compared to religion that no matter how powerful and influential it was, changes of the society can somehow have an impact towards it.
Every theory in the world is waiting to be replaced by more reasonable ones. Maybe the mightiness of Buddhism is getting more fragile in every single day, other religion as well, and as we are born human, we have the full privilege to design our own lives, consume what you think best for you, do not believe to do things that people make or tell you it is worth believing/doing. People never proved that life after death exists, thus seeking personal meaning of life does not only make yourself more independent, but also make your everyday life an adventurous road that would lead you to a worthy destination. Moreover, At the end of the day, nothing is purely predictable, Buddhists say reaching Nirvana helps you release from the cruelness/misery of human being, while scientists say humans are a kind of organism that one day must be evanesced. who knows? The new theory that would explain such complex being of human may be delivered to us soon!