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Religion

Buddha, Sukhothai

The national religion is Theravada Buddhism, a branch of Hinayana Buddhism, which is practiced by 95% of the population making Thailand one of the most fervently Buddhist countries in the world. Peace, generosity, tolerance and the search for enlightenment all mean that daily life is approached with happiness, respect and a calm nature. Thus you will see fewer instances of aggression in Thailand than you would at home due to Buddhism’s calming influence. One of the key ways of maintaining this state of mind is through meditation, one of the most popular and practical aspects of Buddhism. It is essential as a way of promoting inner peace. Even visitors who are not interested in the religious aspects can enjoy an introduction to Buddhist meditation at the many centres and monasteries across the country.

As you travel around the country you will notice that the Buddhist monks are highly respected and revered members of Thai communities. They have special areas reserved for them at airports and on buses, and receive alms from the public as a sign of giving and devotion. If you rise early enough you can see this custom in action all over the country. In towns and villages, the temple (wat) is the heart of social and religious life.

Christianity, Hinduism and Islam are all practised to a lesser extent throughout Thailand and are allowed to flourish and co-exist alongside the main religion.

 

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