Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Comparison of Buddhism between Thailand and Myanmar from the Past to the Present

Buddhism in Myanmar and Thailand has changed a lot compared to the past, changing about less beliefs, decline slowly, increasing nominal Buddhists, bogus monks and people believe in amulets too much that leading to be fade Buddhism gradually.

Buddhism is the most predominant religion and majority of people with 89% in Myanmar and 94% in Thailand according to 2000 Thai national census following Theravada tradition. But the distinction is that Buddhism is an official state religion in Myanmar but there is not any state religion in Thailand. There are total 29,000 temples with 285,000 monks and novices around the country in Thailand. Likewise the figure is over 56,839 temples with 500,000 monks and novices in Myanmar.

Looking back the history of both countries, Buddhism in Thailand was introduced by King Asoka’s mission in 3rd century. From that period, Buddhism was spread of the country and become very prevalent. But according to many stone inscription and palm inscription, Buddhism was arrived and flourished in Myanmar since the Buddha time.

In the twenty century, Buddhism was declining gradually in both countries compare to the past. Nominal Buddhist and fake monks are increase that leaded to Buddhism fading slowly. And another cause is people believe in amulets too much that is a part of large and lucrative business.

Most temples in Bangkok sell different kind of amulets with different prices, people does not care the prices they lavish on it because people believe wearing around the nick Buddha holy amulet protect them from any dangers. In Myanmar, people do not wear amulets but believe in spirit and deity for the sake of daily life and to success in business which is also the cause of fading Buddhism.

In my view for both counties is that Buddhism become decline gradually and people are more likely to follow western culture without consideration of local cultural context and the number of Buddhist monks are increasing who do not study Buddhist literature, Pali and misuse of Buddhist teaching for the benefits of individual and lack of knowledge of Buddhist teaching which leads to the problem of Buddhism.
1 Roger, Bischoff, Buddhism in Myanmar: A Short History, Buddhist Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka, 1995
2 Noranit Setabutr, Buddhism in Thailand, The World Buddhist University Council, Selangor,D.E. Malaysia, 2002
3 P.A. Payutto, Thai Buddhism in the Buddhist World, Mahachula Buddhist Studies School, Bangkok, Thailand 1984


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