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Lannatyne

'Lapsed' Buddhists / Thai Atheists

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Thought about putting this in the 'Buddhism' forum, but that appears to be totally non-contentious, and simp,ly gives information on Buddhism here. If mods think this is more appropriate there, though, please move it.

My issue is, does anyone know of any Thai who has truly given up on Buddhism, and thinks it's all a load of tosh? From what I see, apart from those practising other religions such as Islam, 100% of the people genuinely believe in Buddha.

Now, I'm fully aware that with all the corruption, cheating and lies that goes on here, putting Buddhism into practice for many people seems a bit difficult for them! Nevertheless, they'd still say that they were Buddhists.

In the west, people are happy to say they're 'lapsed', atheists, agnostics etc, and don't profess any of the national religions, eg Church of England, Roman Catholicism, Methodists etc.

So, and non-believing Thais out there?

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My experience of Thais is, that most will identify themselves as Buddhist, despite knowing very little about Buddhist teachings and being very animist in their day to day lives. Interestingly, my experience of Westerners, most who will identify themselves as Christians, know very little about the teachings of Christ and some. not only engage in violence. but will engage in activities associated with war for profit.

Presumably they'll all burn in hell, but with a nice SUV and a Harley in the driveway.

Edited by lannarebirth

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100% of the people genuinely believe in Buddha.

He was a real person not a god, I believe in him too

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Appreciate your replies so far, but where I will put my hands up and say "Christianity? Nah, it's rubbish.", do either of you (and other TV members) know any Thais who would say, "Buddhism? Nah, it's rubbish!".

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My experience of Thais is, that most will identify themselves as Buddhist, despite knowing very little about Buddhist teachings and being very animist in their day to day lives. Interestingly, my experience of Westerners, most who will identify themselves as Christians, know very little about the teachings of Christ and some. not only engage in violence. but will engage in activities associated with war for profit.

Presumably they'll all burn in hell, but with a nice SUV and a Harley in the driveway.

I know of two Thai ladies who abandoned Buddhism for Christianity( not major religions but smaller 'cults') They were not exactly ostracised by their peers but came in for some criticism. I should however add that both were married to farangs who may have influenced their decisions.

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really does belong in buddhism forum so will move;

as far as 'giving up buddhism', they are born in to a way of life, but not practicing it. there is no 'belief' in the same way that u can be atheaist. first of all, they have a pantheon of gods and spririts and ghosts (from animism and hinduism) in their everyday world. second, they dont beleive that buddha is sitting in the sky somewhere following their every move. he was a real person, who had an idea or so, adn a bunch of people decided to follow his ideas. non missionary, not based on belief systems. have a thai worker who doesnt drink or smoke, among all the workers here, that is rare. no one bugs him about it. they say he is stricter then them, thats all. they say they are buddhist the same way i say im jewish. i was born jewish, raised jewish, am a buddhist in action and word, dont believe in god (nor ghosts i admit), my kids are jewish, and genetically, we are ashkenazi jews, with the diseases that come wit the territory. most thais would call the way they live 'free sty' (free style i.e. everyone does what they want, not force anyone to think or believe anything )...

bina

israel

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Count me in to the 'given up on organized religion' gravy train. Tried Christianity (or what passes for it) growing up stateside, went through being ordained as a 'nane' and then monk Buddhist wise, and eventually came to my own conclusion when I was about 19-20 that it was all for the weak minded, opium for the masses, etc.

Plenty of Thais (and friends in general of a few dozen nationalities) I know feel the same and have reaped the rewards for it. IMO it puts you a few steps ahead of the competition that wastes time putting faith in the intangible. What's amusing is how 'Buddhists' whether real or just the 'sort of' variety will try to credit our 'luck' to good karma from past lives when from my point of view, it's pretty clear as to the chain of decisions that have led to any number of 'desireable' results. Simple cause and effect.

:)

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I don't think you can compare the ex-Christian concept too closely with 'Thai style' Buddhism. Christianity has a fairly clear idea about believing in the deity of Christ or not. Thai Buddhism is a buffet table where you can basically take or leave any aspect of it and calling yourself a Buddhist does not have any weight to it. It might just mean you are fond of the idea of Buddhism. Plus most Thais have no idea where animism leaves off and Buddhism begins. They say Thailand is 95% Buddhist, but I would be surprised if 5% have any sort of systematic concept of the teachings of Buddha and the reality of practice. Most think of it as a means to improve luck and fend off ghosts.

One has to be something before they can be an ex-something.

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I don't think you can compare the ex-Christian concept too closely with 'Thai style' Buddhism. Christianity has a fairly clear idea about believing in the deity of Christ or not. Thai Buddhism is a buffet table where you can basically take or leave any aspect of it and calling yourself a Buddhist does not have any weight to it. It might just mean you are fond of the idea of Buddhism. Plus most Thais have no idea where animism leaves off and Buddhism begins. They say Thailand is 95% Buddhist, but I would be surprised if 5% have any sort of systematic concept of the teachings of Buddha and the reality of practice. Most think of it as a means to improve luck and fend off ghosts.

One has to be something before they can be an ex-something.

I think this is a very good point.

I think in the mind of most Thais they don't really differentiate between Thai culture and Buddhism, to be Thai is to be Buddhist. Of course that doesn't mean they believe anything or practice anything or know anything about the Buddhas teachings.

That certainly isn't my definition of a Buddhist, as you say one has to be something before they can be an ex-something.

I think your guestimate of 5% of genuine practitioners is probably not far off, after all in a lot of western countries that's about the percentage that regularly attends church. The difference is we don't really see christianity as part of what makes our identity the way Thais do so the line between the believers and non believers is less fuzzy.

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lol i am looking at the church advert , they should read the posts first ......... before advertising.

anyways the 3 evils of the the middle east , Islam, Christianity and Judaism are "true religions" as in you're supposed to live your life according to the Bible, Quran and Torah

which interestingly all of which are "words of God" and all of which have been edited every 100 years or so ............ erm "God" changes his mind every century ???

Buddism is not a religion but instead a way of life, there's true Buddism but also Zen buddism ( Japan ) and taoist buddism (Singapore, Malaysia ) it's a mix of culture and teachings of Buddha. So yes there are Thai's just born as Buddists but do not really know much about being one , just as there are Muslims and Christians who are unclear about what their "religion" entails.

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anyways the 3 evils of the the middle east , Islam, Christianity and Judaism are "true religions" as in you're supposed to live your life according to the Bible, Quran and Torah

which interestingly all of which are "words of God" and all of which have been edited every 100 years or so ............ erm "God" changes his mind every century ???

Not true in all three cases

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I don't think you can compare the ex-Christian concept too closely with 'Thai style' Buddhism. Christianity has a fairly clear idea about believing in the deity of Christ or not. Thai Buddhism is a buffet table where you can basically take or leave any aspect of it and calling yourself a Buddhist does not have any weight to it. It might just mean you are fond of the idea of Buddhism. Plus most Thais have no idea where animism leaves off and Buddhism begins. They say Thailand is 95% Buddhist, but I would be surprised if 5% have any sort of systematic concept of the teachings of Buddha and the reality of practice. Most think of it as a means to improve luck and fend off ghosts.

To be balanced isn't the Christian aspect also a buffet style depending on which church one follows, whether one subscribes to Jesus statement that he did not come to change the law, and ones interpretation and/or adherence to scripture?

An example is that my friend is grieving over the recent death of his brother who refused treatment for glaucoma and diabetes. He died unnecessarily by refusing medical treatment.

His church teaches that if one becomes ill, it's Gods will, and medical treatment is forbidden .

Yes, Thai style Buddhism generally isn't what the Buddha taught, but do the majority of those who profess to be Christian follow or even know Christian scripture, given the buffet of interpretations, and which ones one chooses to follow?

Edited by rockyysdt

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I don't think you can compare the ex-Christian concept too closely with 'Thai style' Buddhism. Christianity has a fairly clear idea about believing in the deity of Christ or not. Thai Buddhism is a buffet table where you can basically take or leave any aspect of it and calling yourself a Buddhist does not have any weight to it. It might just mean you are fond of the idea of Buddhism. Plus most Thais have no idea where animism leaves off and Buddhism begins. They say Thailand is 95% Buddhist, but I would be surprised if 5% have any sort of systematic concept of the teachings of Buddha and the reality of practice. Most think of it as a means to improve luck and fend off ghosts.

To be balanced isn't the Christian aspect also a buffet style depending on which church one follows, whether one subscribes to Jesus statement that he did not come to change the law, and ones interpretation and/or adherence to scripture?

An example is that my friend is grieving over the recent death of his brother who refused treatment for glaucoma and diabetes. He died unnecessarily by refusing medical treatment.

His church teaches that if one becomes ill, it's Gods will, and medical treatment is forbidden .

Yes, Thai style Buddhism generally isn't what the Buddha taught, but do the majority of those who profess to be Christian follow or even know Christian scripture, given the buffet of interpretations, and which ones one chooses to follow?

You are right of course, there is quite a lot of difference between groups that call themselves Christian. There is also a lot of difference between what many of these groups adhere to in comparison to what the Bible actually says.

There is one point on which nearly all agree however, and that is the divinity of Christ, but there are some groups calling themselves Christian that deny that as well.

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There's a common saying "Once a Catholic, always a Catholic" (5.83 million Google entries). I think the same could be said of Thai Buddhists. It doesn't really matter how much you reject the doctrines or the narratives, there's a strong emotional identity that's hard to deny, let alone reject. It's just a part of you. At least it seems so for many, but perhaps that's changing.

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