Thai law has a number of special sections
concerning religious offenses, and these cover not only Buddhism, the religion
of the majority of the people, but also any other faiths represented in the
Kingdom. It is, for instance unlawful to commit any act, by any means whatever,
to an object or a place of religious worship of any community in a manner likely
to insult The religion. Similarly, "whoever causes any disturbance at an
assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship of religious
ceremonies" is subject to punishment, as well as "whoever dresses or uses a
symbol showing that he is a priest or novice, holyman or clergyman of any
religion unlawfully in order to make another person believe he is such person."
In less legal language, here are a few
tips on what to do and what not to do on a visit to a religious place:
Dress neatly. Don't go shirtless, or in
shorts, pants, or other unsuitable attire. If you look at the Thais
around you, you'll see the way they would prefer you to be dressed --
which, in fact, is probably not very different from the way you'd dress
in a similar place back home.
It's all right to wear shoes while
walking around the compound of a Buddhist temple, but not inside the
chapel where the principal Buddha image is kept. Don't worry about dirt
when you have to take them off; the floors of such places are usually
In a Muslim mosque, men should wear
hats and women should be well-covered with slacks or a long skirt, a
long-sleeved blouse buttoned to the neck, and a scarf over the hair. All
should remove their shoes before entering the mosque and should not be
present if there is a religious gathering.
Buddhist priests are forbidden to touch
or to be touched by a woman or to accept anything from the hand of one.
If a woman has to give anything to a monk or novice, she first hands it
to a man, who then presents it. Or in case of a woman who wants to
present it with her hand, the monk or novice will spread out a piece of
saffron robe or handkerchief in front of him, and the woman will lay
down the material on the robe which is being held at one end by the monk
All Buddha images, large or small,
ruined or not, are regarded as sacred objects. Hence, don't climb up on
one to take a photograph or, generally speaking, do anything that might
show a lack of respect.
Suan Mok, a 120-acre forest temple in Chaiya district, Surat Thani
province, some 580 kilometres South of Bangkok, attracts and accepts
meditators from all over the world. Meditation opportunities are also
found in Bangkok, particularly at Wat Mahathat (facing Sanam Luang), Wat
Pak Nam, Wat Chonprathan Rangsit, Wat Phrathammakai and Banglamphu's Wat
Bowon Nivet where English language instruction is available.
Free Buddhist Teaching.
The Wat (Temple) Sri Baket in Nong Khai is making a unique offer to
foreign visitors who have an interest in the Thai people and their way
of life - Buddhism. You can live with the monks and students at the Wat
FREE and be provided with the basic amenities and two meals a day,
breakfast and lunch - the monks only eat twice and consume nothing after
To understand Thai culture and their
way of life one must first of all understand the basis upon which this
is founded - Buddhism. A healthy body is achieved through exercise but
it also needs to be cleansed, purified of toxins before it can be
developed. The same applies to the mind, which must be first of all
cleansed and relaxed in order that it can accept new ideas. This is
achieved through meditation.
During your stay you will live with the
monks and live and eat as they do. If you need an evening meal you will
be free to go into the town for it. You will be taught first of all the
means of meditation and then the basic tenets of Buddhism - A New
However, make no mistake, this is no
cushy means to a free bed and food - you will be expected to take this
offer seriously in a friendly, peaceful and scholarly environment. The
teaching will be in English.
For further information:
Tel: +66 402 423343
The address of the Wat:
Wat Sri Baket,
T. Nai Maung,
Nong Khai, 43000