Post by retrofuturist on Dec 29, 2008 18:15:57 GMT 10
I've not yet had the opportunity to travel to any countries that are traditionally Theravadin (e.g. Sri Lanka, Burma/Myanmar, , Thailand). Would anyone who has spent time in one of the countries care to tell us a little about their experiences there and how Theravada Buddhism fits into and moulds the local culture?
Post by jcsuperstar on Dec 29, 2008 23:14:59 GMT 10
I've only been to Thailand. but it was life changing. it was nice to be able to just have a million temples to go to. it seemed as if there was one on every corner! i was just overjoyed to be able to waltz right in whenever i felt like it , and just be surrounded by people who i didn't have to explain anything to. they were there to burn incense or meditate or whatever. it just felt like home.
Post by retrofuturist on Dec 30, 2008 8:12:07 GMT 10
Wow, that would be cool. Where I live, it's a hefty drive to any Theravadin temples and unfortunately most of them seem to be based around nationality (e.g. Sri Lankan, Thai, Cambodian) and as a result, it becomes as much of a 'cultural centre' as anything else, and they don't seem particularly interested in speaking English and trying to accommodate anyone from outside their primary cultural support base. I'm sure they have their reasons, but it's pretty unfortunate. Lucky we have the Internet then!
I have lived in Thailand. An impression of mine is there is quite a distinction between monks and ordinary laypeople (rather than lay practitioners), to the point where laypeople have very little knowledge of Buddhism.
For example, the average man in the street generally would not know what the Four Noble Truths are. Or often their understanding of basic morality is not strong. However, most Thais practise generosity exceptionally well.
I recall when I first stayed at a monastery and was required to renew my visa for the first time. I walked at sunset 5km towards the train station for a 11pm train and met a typical Thai shopkeeper. He invited me into his home and his wife politely served us dinner. The man kept saying to me: "Suan Mokkh, good, Suan Mokkh, good".
The gentleman then took me across the road to a local bar/brothel and offerred me a whisky, which I declined. Then he asked one of the girls over and asked me did I like her. The poor girl was sensible enough to be very very embarrassed. In fact, quite horrified. The man kept saying: "Suan Mokkh, good, Suan Mokkh, good".
Now this was no sort of 'testing'. (Usually Thai women 'test' your sila and not men). The man was very genuine in his hospitality and offerings.
Thailand is wonderful. The land of suchness.
Last Edit: Dec 30, 2008 10:34:13 GMT 10 by element