Thailand

  • Imperfect Refuge Paid Member

    Protest leader turned monk Suthep Thaugsuban prays at Pathum Wanaram temple in Bangkok, March 2014. Telegenic tanks rolled into Bangkok. Soldiers evacuated protest encampments. The coup, declared on May 22, 2014, put an end to the demonstrations that had embroiled Thailand for six months. During that period, Suthep Thaugsuban, the protest leader, became the country’s most visible and controversial figure. Then, suddenly and inexplicably, he disappeared.  In a ceremony devoid of pomp and circumstance, he quietly became a Buddhist monk.  More »
  • An Unholy Alliance Paid Member

    Thailand’s military government, which seized control of the country in a coup last May, has taken a special interest in Thai Buddhism and the moral authority its institutions command. After settling into power and naming itself the National Council for Peace and Order, the junta immediately set off on a paternalistic mission to rid Thailand of corruption, immorality, and anything deemed “un-Thai” (like underboobs, for example). Since Buddhism makes up such an integral part of the agreed upon definition of “Thai-ness,” junta leaders quickly set their sights on religious reform, installing a special panel to focus on the “protection of Buddhism” within their National Reform Council (NRC). More »
  • Putting an End to Buddhist Patriarchy Paid Member

    On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an African-American woman refused to obey a bus driver’s order to give up her seat to a white passenger. This simple act of defiance became one of the most important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Before she passed away in 2005, Rosa Parks became a Buddhist—at age 92. One can speculate that this female icon—and fierce opponent of discrimination—chose Buddhism because it lends itself to the advancement of social justice causes. She was right. More »
  • Harry Potter and the Mischievous Monks Paid Member

    Now here are two worlds we never thought would collide: Buddhism and Harry Potter. It appears a few monks in Thailand have mastered the spell Wingardium Leviosa and are ready to play some Quidditch.  More »
  • Contemplate the Body, Free the Mind Paid Member

    When meditators' minds have reached genuine happiness in the dhamma through their mindfulness and discernment, clearly seeing the four noble truths, none of them—not one—will revert to looking for happiness in the world or in material things. That's because happiness in the dhamma is a lasting happiness: solid, refined, and genuinely pure. If you compare worldly happiness with the happiness of the dhamma, you'll see that there's not even the least real happiness to it. It offers nothing but stress, nothing but drawbacks. So why do we think it's happiness? Because we're burning with pain. We look to worldly happiness and pleasures to relieve the pain, which then goes away for a while but then comes back again. More »
  • Buddha Buzz: Week of December 2nd Paid Member

    Thai Monks Participate in Anti-Government Protests More »