By: Rob Caesar, Jane Dahle and Alexa Ferdig
By: Jane Dahle, Alexa Ferdig and Rob Caesar
Sunday May 8. 2011 Westminster College had the great honor of attending the yearly parade hosted by Kalasin to call upon the rain gods to bless their villages for water during the farming season. This was an incredible event to experience from two different standpoints that include the farmers and the royal family. Janie had the honor of playing the role of one of the four princesses while Alexa joined the majority of our May Term group in performing a traditional Thai dance while playing the role of a farmer. Both are of great importance in properly praying for rain and fertile lands for the amazing people of Kalasin. Describing this experience is hard to do but we will do our best to express the incredible atmosphere and significance of this parade to local people.
By: Jane Dahle and Rob Caesar
The development of Buddhism in Thailand has a long history. In order to go into detail about its history, it is necessary to divide it into three different key periods of time, all which have greatly influenced this religion and the spiritual founder Siddhartha Gautama. These three time periods that we will look at include: Theravada, from the Asoka period; the Mahayana period; and finally, the Theravada from Sri Lanka. Siddhartha Gautama’s life accounted for his life discoveries, monastic rules practiced, and path to enlightenment, which is followed by current Buddhists.
First, we will look into the period were Buddhism first started in Thailand during the Theravada from Asoka’s period. Buddhism was introduced and established by King Asoka in Patalilbutta City during the 3rd century B.C. King Asoka sent monks out of the country to follow and learn about Buddha’s teachings. While other monks were learning the ways of Buddha, two monks stayed behind in Thailand to teach people there. During this period, the first signs of Buddhism were seen in Thailand and became very prevalent.
Since the introduction of Buddhism in Thailand, it became noticeable that these beliefs also started to spread to other areas of Asia during the Mahayana period. King Kanitsaka the Great had the intention of spreading Buddha’s teachings farther than just his kingdoms. He began to send groups of monks throughout Central Asia in order to help spread the word. Once Mahayana’s Buddhism expanded into Thailand, it became widely accepted by the people. Mahayana’s Buddhism spread from the southern regions, to the north via the central areas of the country. This created a large multicultural society, with different dialects that still, today, inhabit the Thai language. The spread of the beliefs of Buddhism had officially begun in Thailand.