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Thailand: spiritual state of the nation

By November 5, 2015
(Photo courtesy PIONEERS)

(Photo courtesy PIONEERS)

Thailand (Pioneers) — A palpable heaviness hits you when get off the plane in Thailand. A friend once told me that it’s much like the lead vest the dentist covers you with when he takes x-rays of your teeth.

At first you really feel the weight of it, but after a few minutes you forget it’s there. But when the dentist takes it off, you breathe more deeply and with more ease without that extra weight. Stepping into Thailand is like putting on a vest of spiritual oppression. You see it on the street and feel it in the air.

To be Thai is to be Buddhist. For them it seems impossible to separate one from the other. However, the religion they practice is more of a “folk Buddhism”–Buddhism mixed with Hinduism, ancestor worship, spirit worship, and animism. The most obvious evidence of their folk Buddhist practices is the spirit house.

A spirit house looks like a strangely ornate birdhouse or miniature temple replica. But the more you move about in Thailand, the more spirit houses you see. They are everywhere: in front of small personal businesses, outside of shopping malls, at the airport, in public parks, at apartment complexes, in the yards of every home. And there are spirit house shops that offer hundreds of models for you to buy in order to bless your own property.

Spirit houses are highly revered in Thailand, or more importantly, the spirits who live within them. Spirit houses are constructed to offer a beautiful and respectful place for the spirits to reside. Thai people believe the spirits have incredible influence on everything that happens in that place.

Health and happiness or sickness and trouble for the family living in that house. Wealth and success or loss and failure for that business. Each morning, property owners make offerings of food and drink to the spirits. They pray with incense while begging for favor and blessing from good spirits. Then they appease the bad spirits and ask for pardon from destruction. Sadly, this very practice binds the people to evil spirits and blinds them from the truth of Jesus Christ.

Who will go and share the Good News so they might have opportunity to become a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit above all others? Would you consider going? See opportunities to share God’s love with people in the Buddhist world by doing a search here.

5 Comments

  • Owen Oglala says:

    I puzzle at this “mission” mentality. I live in Thailand and see Westerners here who could be preaching “the Good News” in their own back yard. So, my question is: Why not stay home with your Good News? I don’t write this in anger or despisement. It’s a fair question.

    • Christians are preaching in their own backyard ,and because God so loved the world,as is shown in His Son ,who proclaimed seeing Him the world was shown His Father in Him . He left His Glory in Heaven to personally bring us His message of love and redemption. His Son gave us a great commission to go into all the world , sharing His message and His Love . Though the enemy ,father of lies , the devil,has come to destroy ,thru counterfeit religions,to turn mankind’s focus to gods of stone and wood things which God has made , instead of toward Him . Those who will seek Him , in Truth of Heart , He will reveal Himself ,even saying He will make His abode with us For God is Spirit . we have this opportunity because God made it possible thru His Son, so that thru Faith in Him , By adoption we call Him Father . For God ,our Father is a loving God ,Who even though we are sinners , loves us . This is what the devil is seeking to stop mankind from hearing , because thru the hearing of the Word , comes Faith .
      I pray You seek Him , in Your heart call out to Him in truth , we cannot earn,or sacrifice,or attain . the Gift of His Love ,it is freely given.
      how do I know that His Love and presence is this personal, when I called , He answered . As only He will in a way that you will know ,that it is He who created you, that He loves you , and He who seeks to gather us to Himself . We Love Him because He first Loved us ,

  • Jacky Lawn says:

    Thailand has been in “this state” for a long time. I visited Hatyai and a church one time. An elder of the church said most foreign missionaries rather go to or concentrate at big cities other region are neglected. I think, the local will do a better job in making disciples of their own Thai people.
    Yes, i agree .. why not stay home with your Good News and give it away to those migrants coming to you?!

  • Bob says:

    Hundreds of millions of people live in the fear and bondage of the spirit world. Vast resources coming from people in poverty are spent on offerings, shrines and temples. Local people who have been liberated by Jesus Christ are the best ones to share the stories of deliverance. And they are. But in most of these places the Christians only make up less than 1% of the population. Most of us have bibles we don’t read, churches we don’t attend and neighbors we never share Christ with. Everyone deserves to hear the Gospel at least once. Wouldn’t you agree? Why do we deserve to have a spiritual buffet of Bible apps, radio, TV, movies, bibles of every sort when people are dying without ever hearing about Christ, owning a bible or meeting a Christian?

  • alvin says:

    A deep spiritual Buddhism is rooted in Thai society. The Buddhist canon (Tripitaka) consist of profound teachings with detail guides of meditation cultivation. It is non dogmatic and no blind faith in the teachings. A path to free from suffering that break the cycle of life and death. Deep spiritual contemplation are found in this early Buddhism tradition in Thailand. Instead, many former Western Christians came to Thailand to accept Buddhism in spiritual cultivation and learning.

    Buddhism is a peaceful spiritual tradition, thus spirit houses which were not part of Buddhism were not banned or encouraged, as it was part of the custom of the people before Buddhism is a state religion.

    Your opinion and understanding of Buddhist spiritual is narrow and wrong. Suggest you to try simple loving kindness meditation which is universal to taste the teachings before forming your opinion. The teachings are about experience, emotion, thought, feeling, perception and bliss. Ultimately beyond time and space and illumination.

    May you be well and happy

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