The Bastardisation of Thai Buddhism


A sad state of affairs in the “Land of Smiles”. It’s really dispiriting to see temples succumb to money making scams! Plus all the cruelty to animals… The article didn’t even mentioned the infamous “Tiger Temple” mistreatment of tigers…

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I read the article above with interest; thanks for posting it, Gabriel.

From my own experience in Thailand, I have seen and even experienced firsthand some fairly negative aspects of Buddhism as it is expressed in Thailand. I’ve met at least one abbot that is using his wat as a “front” for a real estate and farming venture, employing the young monks as free labor in exchange for schooling. Within the same region an ethical monk that complained about his abbot’s sale of wat land to a local police officer was beaten severely, with the police claiming it was local hill tribe villagers that ordered and performed the assault. The locals knew differently. It’s the kind of stuff that makes one want to give up on Thailand, sometimes.

But, I love Thailand. I love the Dhamma and Vinaya practice that can be found there. For all of the stories like above, and all of the stories of the Dhammakaya/Phra Dhammachayo and the like exploiting Buddhism in a similarly awful way, Thailand has many refuges for practice, with good Dhamma and Vinaya practice. I’ve met many good monks in Thailand, some Thai and some farang, and have had the privilege to practice with some very special monastics there, along with some truly lovely lay disciples.

Thailand is a jewel, that has been at times covered in dust. I’ll never give up on Thailand or Thai Buddhism; like a diamond, there will be flaws, cracks, variances and inclusions. Even outright frauds and forgeries. But the diamonds are there, and it’s just a bit of work to seek them out and find them.


Sadhu! I think it’s useful to know that, like with any other religion, there are various levels of seriousness in Thai Buddhism. That is a good antidote to the sort of disillusionment that could lead to the dismissal of all of what Thailand has to offer with respect to Dhamma…

In both East and West there are serious, and not so serious, Dhamma followers…


“These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence. When he is rid of them there remain in him the fine impurities: thoughts of his caste, thoughts of his home district, thoughts related to not wanting to be despised. These he abandons, destroys, dispels, wipes out of existence”.
AN 3.101