Buddhism in Thailand and How it Molds Thais Personality

Thai girl in Sunday Market, Chang Mai, Thailand
Thai girl in Sunday Market, Chang Mai, Thailand | Source

Buddhism, Happiness and Behavioral Psychology

The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology
The Lost Art of Compassion: Discovering the Practice of Happiness in the Meeting of Buddhism and Psychology

Discovering the practice of happiness in the meeting of Buddhism and psychology sounds like a good idea.

 

The Happy People of Thailand

Thai people are worldwide known for their extraordinary hospitality. It seems they have a natural talent to make visitors feel truly welcomed and particularly special by communicating in their caring, delicate and polite way, but also by expressing a genuine interest in their visiting guests, which becomes evident through the relentless curiosity and non-stop, kind of endearing, list of questions they take on: Where do you come from? What is your name? How old are you? Are you married? Do you have kids? How many? What do you do for a living? How long will you stay? On and on, always keen to learn something else about you.

Besides being hospitable, Thais are also friendly, laid-back, good natured and have an astonishing, straight forward regard for beauty in all its forms; art and aesthetics are everywhere, including unlikely items such as street signs and food, as well as the more evident creative expressions of beauty, which comprise, among other objects, the human body. Thais are quick to drop personal compliments and will do so gladly and without modesty, especially when enchanted by the visitor's smile. Even Thai women will compliment an occidental lady when charmed by her beauty (which we must admit is a bit rare in day to day occidental life).

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Buddhism Ever Present in Thai Culture

Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand: a clear example of the way Buddhism is present in everyday life and comprises an important part of Thai culture.
Erawan Shrine, Bangkok, Thailand: a clear example of the way Buddhism is present in everyday life and comprises an important part of Thai culture. | Source

Buddhism in Thailand: How Buddhist Philosophy affects Thailand's General Psyche

Analyzing Thais psyche and personality in relation to their religion, we must conclude that Buddhism has a lot to do with the way Thai people behave and interact with their fellows. Their kindness, interest and purity of heart come from ancient cultural ideals and beliefs, derived from their Buddhist spiritual background.

Roughly 95% of Thailand's population practices Theravada Buddhism. The omnipresent of their spiritual beliefs is evident in their culture, lifestyle and behavior. Buddhist ideals such as humility, gratitude, honor and filial piety are deeply engrained in their psyche and account for most of their charms. Religion and monarchy, which is still regarded by many as divine, are two of Thai’s culture sacred cows. Country issues, family, important life decisions and daily life affairs are married to Buddhist philosophy and animist rituals.

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Buddhism Expressed Here, There, Everywhere

Thai Spirit Houses protecting car wash business.
Thai Spirit Houses protecting car wash business. | Source

Buddhism and Art

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Buddhism is expressed all over Thailand. Meticulously created offerings such as this one can be widely seen in every city.Ribbons, as well as flowers, leafs and food, are part of Thais Buddhist offerings.Feathered Buddhist artistic offering: an example of Thai's regard for beauty. Buddhism inspires multiple creative expressions all through Thailand.  Bangkok, Thailand.A flowered necklace offered to one of Thais multiple deities located in the Wat Pho Complex, a beautiful monument to Buddhism full of temples, sculptures, offerings, paintings and lovely gardens. Bangkok, Thailand.Flower necklaces are part of Buddhism everywhere in Thailand, including Jim Thompson's House & Museum in Bangkok.
Buddhism is expressed all over Thailand. Meticulously created offerings such as this one can be widely seen in every city.
Buddhism is expressed all over Thailand. Meticulously created offerings such as this one can be widely seen in every city. | Source
Ribbons, as well as flowers, leafs and food, are part of Thais Buddhist offerings.
Ribbons, as well as flowers, leafs and food, are part of Thais Buddhist offerings. | Source
Feathered Buddhist artistic offering: an example of Thai's regard for beauty. Buddhism inspires multiple creative expressions all through Thailand.  Bangkok, Thailand.
Feathered Buddhist artistic offering: an example of Thai's regard for beauty. Buddhism inspires multiple creative expressions all through Thailand. Bangkok, Thailand. | Source
A flowered necklace offered to one of Thais multiple deities located in the Wat Pho Complex, a beautiful monument to Buddhism full of temples, sculptures, offerings, paintings and lovely gardens. Bangkok, Thailand.
A flowered necklace offered to one of Thais multiple deities located in the Wat Pho Complex, a beautiful monument to Buddhism full of temples, sculptures, offerings, paintings and lovely gardens. Bangkok, Thailand. | Source
Flower necklaces are part of Buddhism everywhere in Thailand, including Jim Thompson's House & Museum in Bangkok.
Flower necklaces are part of Buddhism everywhere in Thailand, including Jim Thompson's House & Museum in Bangkok. | Source

Buddhism in Every Day Life

Every Thai male is expected to become a monk for a short period of time in his life -usually three months during the wet season- which will earn the family great merit, because monks are very well respected. Buddhism devotees often consult monks before making important decisions such as marriage or getting involved in a new business.

Animist rituals are mainly represented by Thai's spirit houses, always situated outside buildings, businesses and homes to encourage spirits to live independently but, at the same time, to remain comfortable so as to bring good fortune to the site.

The spirit houses are typically ornate in the same fashion as Buddhist temples or "wats", and are designed as pedestals placed in prominent spots (for reference, see picture of Thai car wash with the two spirit houses on pedestals, placed with devotion to protect their business).

Food, drinks, flowers and artistic objects made of leafs and other natural elements are all offered to spirits to gain their favor. Even in big cosmopolitan cities like Bangkok, ornate spirit houses are revered shrines for local people. Beautiful art made primarily from natural resources such as leafs, feathers and flowers can be seen in shrines and Buddhist sculptures representing different deities.

Fun-Meter

How much "sanuk" do you have in your everyday activities?

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Fun Fact about Thais

Paramount to the Thai philosophy of life is "sànùk", which means fun; everyday tasks are enjoyable in regard to how much sànùk you have while doing them.

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Comments on "Buddhism in Thailand and How it Molds Thais Personality" 8 comments

irene winniczuk 4 years ago

Very nice to learn more about buddism and the Thais!!


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Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi Irene, thanks for dropping by and reading my latest article. I am glad you learned something interesting about Buddhism and Thai culture. Thanks for your nice comment and feedback.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

My dad loved Thailand. He was stationed there back in the 70's, and still speaks so highly of the culture and the people. He took some really nice black and white photographs, which I would love to publish one day, if he let me. I really enjoyed your photographs as well.


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Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Hi SweetiePie, thanks for reading and contributing to this Hub, I appreciate your feedback. Thailand is a fantastic place for any photography lover, and just any foreigner because of its beauty and kind people, I am glad you enjoyed my vision of this country. Let me know when you publish your dad's photos!


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I might be able to publish his photos some day, but I think I might have to wait until he is older. He is kind of protective of his photography.


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Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

I can understand that, guess we will have to be patient.


mohini 4 years ago

rama birth place is thai. That's why the ramayan is still alive as stage performance.


Claudia Tello profile image

Claudia Tello 4 years ago from Mexico Author

Thanks mohini for your contribution :)

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