Thai government concerned with monks' presence at Bangkok rallies Skip to main content

Thai government concerned with monks' presence at Bangkok rallies

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Buddhist monks are not allowed to get involved in Thai politics, but some monks have courted controversy by joining anti-government rallies in Bangkok.
<< A Thai monk receiving food from a protester in Bangkok.
What do you get when you add orange to red?
In Bangkok's early morning calm, protesters at the Red Shirt rally offer alms to Buddhist monks and receive blessings in return.
Their numbers are unknown, but they have been a steady presence during anti-government protests, now into its third week.

Traditionally, Buddhist monks in Thailand have stayed away from politics. Early last century, laws were even passed to prevent this from becoming a possibility - with fears that their moral and spiritual authority could outweigh almost all others in the Kingdom.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejajjiva has warned Buddhist holy men to stay away from political rallies, after concerns that protesters could use them as human shields in case of a crackdown.
But those who make their way daily to the site at Phan Fa Bridge disagree.
One Thai monk said: "A monk is also a citizen of this country. They have to take us into account, too. There are over 300,000 monks, but we don't even have to right to vote."
Another monk said: "I came here to be the protesters' mental support, because monks can't fight with weapons. Democracy means applying 'dhamma' to the country's rule. Therefore, monks can't help participating."
"I want to sacrifice myself. Even if I have to die from bullets which are fired unfairly, I am willing to die before laymen," another monk said.
Some high-ranking monks say using the stage at the rally doesn't conflict with the ban on political activity.
Phra Mahashow Tassaniyo, Vice Director for Office of Buddhism Promotion and Social Service, said: "Assuming political office is out of bounds. When monks come out and give their opinion, there is nothing to worry about because monks don't want to be prime minister.
"But this government is afraid that we will publicise their transgressions and that will only reinforce protesters' criticisms."
Soldiers and police have been stationed in many Bangkok temples close to the rally site, much to the dismay of monks and worshippers.
Some like Wat Bowornivet are black-listed and have armed soldiers outside, keeping watch.
For a politically fractured country like Thailand, what could be interpreted as open discontent from some of its spiritual leaders is not a good sign.
This is especially when Buddhism is a key pillar, along with nationhood and the monarchy, forming the very ideal of Thai unity.

Ref:Buddhist Channel

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Chronology of the Press in Burma

1836 – 1846 * During this period the first English-language newspaper was launched under British-ruled Tenasserim, southern  Burma . The first ethnic Karen-language and Burmese-language newspapers also appear in this period.     March 3, 1836 —The first English-language newspaper,  The Maulmain Chronicle , appears in the city of Moulmein in British-ruled Tenasserim. The paper, first published by a British official named E.A. Blundell, continued up until the 1950s. September 1842 —Tavoy’s  Hsa-tu-gaw  (the  Morning Star ), a monthly publication in the Karen-language of  Sgaw ,  is established by the Baptist mission. It is the first ethnic language newspaper. Circulation reached about three hundred until its publication ceased in 1849. January 1843 —The Baptist mission publishes a monthly newspaper, the Christian  Dhamma  Thadinsa  (the  Religious Herald ), in Moulmein. Supposedly the first Burmese-language newspaper, it continued up until the first year of the second Angl

Thai penis whitening trend raises eyebrows

Image copyright LELUXHOSPITAL Image caption Authorities warn the procedure could be quite painful A supposed trend of penis whitening has captivated Thailand in recent days and left it asking if the country's beauty industry is taking things too far. Skin whitening is nothing new in many Asian countries, where darker skin is often associated with outdoor labour, therefore, being poorer. But even so, when a clip of a clinic's latest intriguing procedure was posted online, it quickly went viral. Thailand's health ministry has since issued a warning over the procedure. The BBC Thai service spoke to one patient who had undergone the treatment, who told them: "I wanted to feel more confident in my swimming briefs". The 30-year-old said his first session of several was two months ago, and he had since seen a definite change in the shade. 'What for?' The original Facebook post from the clinic offering the treatment, which uses lasers to break do

Myanmar Villagers Tell of 150 Homes Burned in Deadly Army Air Attacks

Artillery fire and aerial bombardments by Myanmar forces killed three civilians and burned scores of houses in their communities in mid-March amid fighting between Myanmar forces and the rebel Arakan Army in war-ravaged Rakhine state, villagers recounted Monday at a press conference. Villagers from Kyauktaw township in western Myanmar's Rakhine state discuss the government military's attacks on their communities at press conference in Sittwe, March 30, 2020. They made the comments after traveling from in Kyauktaw township to the state capital Sittwe to give testimony on a series of attacks on civilian dwellings amid a government-imposed internet shutdown in nine townships in Rakhine and neighboring Chin state, cutting off vital information about the fighting. They villagers accused the Myanmar Army of conducting an aerial bombing on civilian communities that destroyed about 150 homes and a monastery in Pyaing Taing village, while government soldiers on the g