Revival of “Khang Bu Ya”, Traditional Thai Communal Culture and Principle Role of Buddhist Temples and Monasteries
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The evolution and development of Thai culture is strongly rooted in Buddhism, and it has a strong communal tradition. Traditionally, a Buddhist temple or monastery served as the centre of the ...
The evolution and development of Thai culture is strongly rooted in Buddhism, and it has a strong communal tradition. Traditionally, a Buddhist temple or monastery served as the centre of the community that nurtured and supported the growth of communal culture. But with modernisation, this traditional Thai culture has gradually eroded, and communalism is abandoned and replaced by individualism, even temple or monastery has lost its role as the centre of the community. Some traditional communal traditions like working together, helping one another in organising and hosting communal activities such as traditional religious festivals and celebrations are disappearing or have disappeared altogether. Communal culture becomes weakened. People become increasingly distant from one another, the spirit of camaraderie of a thriving community disappears. Lay devotees no longer visit the temple or monastery regularly. There is progressive disengagement of the devotees from their temple or monastery and vice versa so that people are no longer effectively exposed to learning Buddhist teachings and imbibing Buddhist values as they did in times past. Their understanding of Buddhism is gradually reduced and this contributes to the erosion of the relevance, importance and significance of Buddhadharma in their daily lives.
This paper writes about the revival of such a tradition in Lablae district in the Uttaradit province of northern Thailand, the “Khang Bu Ya” tradition that disappeared more than thirty years ago. Seven years ago, the people of the Lablae community took up the initiative of reviving the tradition to strengthen the communal culture, the relationship of people in the community, the relationships of the lay people with their temples and monasteries in their district, promoting interactions of the temples and monasteries, and to bring back the principle role and values of Buddhist teachings in the community life.
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