Buddhism; belief or philosophy

Supanburi Travel Blog

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Bus station where you buy ticket for the route you want to go.
Number 9 is Thai's lucky number since we pronounce as "Gao" which can be a double connotation of "Gao Na" which means "progress" or "moving forward" or "step forward". Whenever Thais pick up any date or number like wedding date, entering new house, ceremony, product launching, etc, no wonder that the date of 9th is in the top list. Thais believe to get good luck we have to do merit for 9 temples in one day at least once a year.

This trip I went with mom was a temples trip held by Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (Public bus company). It's a 9 temples tour in a day varying in different routes; Ayuthaya, Supanburi, Nakorn Pathom. You just buy ticket at the mass transit bus terminal in Laksi. It costs only baht 300 something, then you pick the route to go and get on the bus.
The price of the route I took to Supanburi, baht 389
Every bus leaves at 8 am sharp and each route will take you to 9 temples in order. The trip will take the whole day. In case you want to see how Thais engage with Buddhism, and take the opportunity to go to temples where are not very touristy and local goes, this is a good idea with reasonable price, including breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What do we expect to go for?
Of course, we expect good luck for the rest of the year or for the rest of our lives depending on how greedy we are. :D We donate some money, normally around bath 10-20 to get a set of sacrifice comprising of candle, joss stick, lotus and small slice pieces of gold.
We light the candle, joss stick together with the lotus and place them in front of the Buddha statue and we pray for our life.
The buses.
Then, we stick those pieces of gold on the buddha statue. Someone believe that if any part of your body hurts, you stick the gold in the same area of the statue then it will heal. I tried sticking the gold on the statue's left ankle since I have problem with that. It seems like it's getting even worse today. :p
However I think the purpose of doing so is just to pay respect and to show gratitude to our Lord Buddha for his universal philosophy with all those sacrifices. I don't think there is going to be halo effect glowing behind our back once we walk out the temple but we believe that we, at least, do something good for our lives and we feel happy after all.

What do the temples expect people to go there for?
You are right! Donation! to keep the temple running.
The ticket
Though basically, a temple needs only a basic church as shelter for monks to commit daily ritual like praying, meditation, etc, but I don't know why some of the temples these days try to build a very beautiful church with all those ornaments, equipments, and shallow people to donate the money to get good deed and luck in return as we help build the place where our Lord Buddha can live.
I sometimes think this is more like showing off!! When I look back to the history, the embellishment of the temples was a symbol to reflect the country's civilization and that was why when you go to some of our old towns like Sukhothai or Ayudthaya you will see those ruined temples and Buddha statues. The first civilization to be destroyed when a country lose the war was temple.
Tour group badge ;)
Of course, treasures in the temple were the purpose of the destruction as well. The Golden Pagoda is one of the example.
However, most important thing, temple is where to hold people's belief and those monks keep telling people to do good things which we can't get that from any bartenders in pubs.

What does the BKK Mass Transit Authority expect benefit from people's belief?
It's undeniable that on weekend people don't use bus a lot so the authority is just trying to maximize the profit from the resource; buses. We are talking about more than USD 500 income per bus per day here.
From time to time, the bus stops for people to buy some souvenir, of course commission includes but on the contrary, this tour financially helps our local shops and helps raising fund for some non-famous local temples.
We have bus hostess here :p


And what's the philosophy of our Lord Buddha then?
I think one simple phrase that can simply explain about this Buddhism philosophy in my point of view is that "The only certainty is the uncertainty". The Buddha said that everything is born, stayed and gone. Nothing lasts. Nothing's forever. For instance, human, we were born, we grow up, we get old and wrinkle and then we die. So it's all about "accepting, letting go and not holding on to anything e.g fame, money, decorations, brand, love or even life. That's why you see monks wear only yellow clothes and beg food from people. They are learning to live in a basic way of life and not to stick with convenience or property. The way to understand this core of the philosophy is to stay with your "Now" moment, aware of it, understand it, see how it comes and goes and accept it.
The officer have notes to change for people to donate at the temples.
This is where the meditation comes in action. Then you will understand what the philosophy is about. Anyway what I described above is just the basic knowledge of Buddhism. Someone who really practice and learn it might understand this philosophy better than me.

Now when you know what Buddhism is and you look back to all the expectations above, what do you think Buddhism to Thai people anyway??

It might sound sarcastic but after I was confused about this belief and the philosophy for days, I had done a lot of thinking about it and I finally think that I do respect and accept the way they are as well. Because, I can see that, at least, everyone above has good will to do these things and shares common goal here which is Good Deed!

Though I ended up my day tired and confused, but one thing I was certain that my mom was really happy of what she did and my company. That was all I could do and I was happy afterwards.

May the peace be with you.
dahling says:
Very nice to get some info on the culture that is not found in a typical tour guide - keep it coming.
Posted on: May 22, 2011
globalodyssey says:
wonderfully written
great to see some thoughtful writing on this site
Posted on: Aug 25, 2009
stabber911 says:
You forget, Angkor wat also is a reason for the falling of Korm Empire.. When they pull so many resource to statue and temple
Posted on: May 10, 2008
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Bus station where you buy ticket f…
Bus station where you buy ticket …
The price of the route I took to S…
The price of the route I took to …
The buses.
The buses.
The ticket
The ticket
Tour group badge ;)
Tour group badge ;)
We have bus hostess here :p
We have bus hostess here :p
The officer have notes to change f…
The officer have notes to change …
My breakfast :D
My breakfast :D
Another breakfast, hehe
Another breakfast, hehe
This is where we pray for the Budd…
This is where we pray for the Bud…
One of the temple with a huge chur…
One of the temple with a huge chu…
Cow waiting to be set free from th…
Cow waiting to be set free from t…
The owners sell these cow by askin…
The owners sell these cow by aski…
The money to donate to the temple…
The money to donate to the temple…
At the end of the hall was is a co…
At the end of the hall was is a c…
When you sit on a bus for too long…
When you sit on a bus for too lon…
Monks residential area
Monks' residential area
Fish in the temple cannot be captu…
Fish in the temple cannot be capt…
Our river lifestyle.
Our river lifestyle.
This is where we burn the dead
This is where we burn the dead
We stick the gold at the buddha st…
We stick the gold at the buddha s…
This is one of our believe to get …
This is one of our believe to get…
Another way of fund raising. We pu…
Another way of fund raising. We p…
The pagoda
The pagoda
This pagoda is 700 yrs old.
This pagoda is 700 yrs old.
Another historical pagoda
Another historical pagoda
This small church has 207 buddha s…
This small church has 207 buddha …
The buddha ages 700 yrs old
The buddha ages 700 yrs old
The monk blessed people by splashi…
The monk blessed people by splash…
A view from the bridge crossing to…
A view from the bridge crossing t…
Kuay Jub!! Noodle with pork.
Kuay Jub!! Noodle with pork.
Inside the market
Inside the market
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Supanburi
photo by: dodge