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In the Land of Buddha

 

Buddhism in Contemporary Thailand

Approximately 95% of Thailand's sixty million people are Buddhists.  Buddhism first came to Thailand from India around the 3rd century B.C.

The Buddha was born Prince Siddhartha Gautama, and lived in India in the 6th century B.C.  Giving up riches to seek enlightenment, he later taught others the way to Nirvana.

Thais practice Theraveda Buddhism.  Theraveda ("teaching of the elders") developed independently in Sri Lanka and arrived in Thailand in the Sukhothai period.  Thailand has since maintained an unbroken canonical tradition.

The Theraveda school tried to preserve the the doctrines codified in the early Buddhist era.

Thai practice also includes aspects of Hindu, Tantric, and Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana ("the Big Raft") Buddhism is the Buddhism of China, Tibet, Japan, Korea. For example, the worship of Buddha images is a Mahayana practice.

 

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Photo of Buddha in Ruins: Click for Larger ImagePhoto of Buddha Statues: Click for Larger ImagePhoto of Golden Buddhas: Click for Larger ImagePhoto of Main Chedi: Click for larger imagePhoto of Monks: Click for larger imagePhoto of Prangs: Click for larger imagePhoto of Bodhi Tree: Click for larger imagePhoto of Walking Buddha: Click for larger imagePhoto of Thai Tile: Click for larger imagePhoto of Ayutthaya: Click for larger image

 

Photos by Joel Ohringer and Suz Gentiluomo

 

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