Re: “Thai Buddhism in need of immediate, serious reform”, Stoppage Time, February 15,
As a foreigner, I don’t generally weigh in on Thai social issues. However, I feel compelled to take issue with Tulsathit Taptim’s glass-half-empty approach regarding problems that reflect only a tiny percentage of Thailand’s Buddhist monks.
Khun Tulsathit dedicated about 90 per cent of his column to an analogy of Thai Buddhism as a stained shirt. As someone who converted to Theravada Buddhism three years ago, I would like to remind him and others that neither his nor any other person’s clothes are 100-per-cent unsoiled.
Thai Buddhism still routinely takes orphans off the street and provides them with food, shelter and something good to believe in. Wat Tham Krabok has treated over 100,000 alcohol and drug addicts since opening its doors five decades ago. Not long ago, it was Thai Buddhism that provided an education to the majority of children in Thailand, while today it opens the eyes of millions of foreign visitors, year after year. We frequently send aid to disaster-hit areas. Meanwhile Thai Buddhism has spread to the most unlikely places, including Colorado, where there is now an American Buddhist University.
It seems to me that the fabric of Thai Buddhism is a lot more pristine than Tulsathit claims. It may be true that some of the clothes need more cleaning than others, but a family can probably better determine what needs to be washed than can someone who is also concerned with making a spectacle.