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About religion

Thailandis officially a Buddhist country. Various statistical data demonstrate that up to 90% or 95% of the total population are adherents of Buddhism.

One can say that Thai have Buddhism running through their veins, since they are very peaceful and calm, do not give up to everyday stress and challenges and always smile.

The notion of karma is one of the keystones of Buddhism. The karmic law prescribes living in harmony and in a harmless way in order to deserve the reciprocation. Buddhists believe in the eternal existence of a soul which undergoes a series of reincarnations changing one body for another. The state of complete enlightenment, or nirvana becomes the highest attainable goal. In these state desires, which lead to emotional torments, are resigned and the eternal pure bliss is filling up the existence.

The outmost majority of Thai are adherents of the Theravada branch (Smaller Vehicle), the oldest subdivision of Buddhism that can be traced back to Prince Buddha Gautama and is based on his teachings.

In order to achieve enlightenment, Buddhists have to pursue meditations, good deeds, resign from violence, theft and falsehood as well as substances that blur the mind clearness, e.g. alcohol and narcotics.

It is commonly believed that adherence to simple rules as well as donations to monks and regular visits to a temple can improve one’s karma, thus promoting the life success in the present reincarnation and a more beneficial start-up in the next one.

If a person causes pain and harm to the others, even more unbearable sufferings will be awaiting him or her in the next round.

Nowadays Buddhist monasteries number over 30,000 in the Land of Smiles; they accommodate about 300,000 of monks and apprentices.

Every Thai man is obliged to perform a sort of “spiritual service” at least once in his life after he has reached his 20s. This means becoming a monk for a period between 2 weeks and maximum 3 months. All this time he has to live from donations of ordinary people who do it willingly, since it is believed to improve the karma.

The Thai king is legally obliged to be a Buddhist, but, on the other hand, he is simultaneously a patron of all other confessions and a defender of all faithful. Thanks to this attitude, various confessions peacefully flourish in Thailand, enjoying full respect and absence of restraints or prohibitions.

Islam ranks second in the country with 4.6% of the total population being Muslim. These are mainly residents of the southern Thai provinces in the vicinity of Malaysia.

Christianity is also present in Thailand since it has been brought up by Catholic missionaries in the 16th and 17th centuries. Nowadays there are Catholic and Protestant communities in the country as well as a Russian Orthodox Church parish. Two Orthodox churches were built in the south and north of Pattaya. Adherents of Christianity sum up to 0.7-1.7% of the total number of residents.

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