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  1. #1
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    Zen Buddhism in Thailand?

    I was just wondering if there is Zen Buddhism in Thailand?

  2. #2
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    Re: Zen Buddhism in Thailand?

    There must be and not only because there are many Chinese in Thailand. In China, it is known as Ch'an Buddhism, which the Japanese later adopted and called Zen Buddhism. Bonsai trees are another example of a Chinese tradition copied by the Japanese.

    Anyway, the Chinese realised that it would be very difficult for many of their people to understand translated Buddhist scriptures from India. Most Chinese did not read, and did not have the time for studying the scriptures. The Chinese are very practical and sought a short cut to salvation. One of these short cuts is Ch'an Buddhism. The sound of one hand clapping is a good example of this. Or the Buddha holding a flower and his disciple immediately able to attain enlightenment.

    The other Chinese shortcut is known as the Pure Land School of Buddhism, in which the Buddha is a female. In Cantonese she is known as Kwan Yum, in Mandarin as Kuan Yin, and in Japanese as Kammon. The Pure Land is a faith-based religion close to Christianity, Islam and Judiasm. For example, some proponents of the Pure Land School indicate that if one just says the name of Kwan Yum ten times they will be re-born in the Pure Land.

    There is a historical debate about Buddhism in China. Was it the Buddhist conquest of China, or the Chinese conquest of Buddhism? The answer seems to be a little bit, or a lot, of both. Thus, you will find scrolls with Kwan Yum depicted but she has a Confucian message that one should honour their parents and grandparents and so on.

    In the last decade or so, the worship of Kwan Yum has become popular in Thailand, and you can see her image in many temples now. Before you never saw her image outside Chinese temples and shops. The Kwan Yum Sutra is often chanted at special ceremonies in Thailand.

    An interesting point is that the bodhisattva Kwan Yum, began as a male bodhisattva in India but was transformed into a female in China. Perhaps this met a need in China. In the event, many people view Kwan Yum as the Chinese Buddha. And remember the Chinese practice Mahayana Buddhism, not the Theravada Buddhism of Thailand, Laos, Burma, Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

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