Thai culture needs
to be understood from the ethnic traditions of the various peoples who
migrated to Thailand to form the Thai culture as we understand it today,
the influences from India of religion and mythology, the origin myths of
some of the minorities living in Thailand and animist traditions which
traditions we have a Thai culture where belief systems are
distinguishable from elsewhere and the themes of these are reflected in
the performing arts of music and dance, in the art forms of woodwork,
sculture, murals, pottery and bronze and significantly in architecture
forms and decorations, both in the past and continuing in new buildings
Thai culture is significant in the behaviour, customs and beliefs of the
Thai people today.
Thai culture is
Buddhist. Accordingly the culture is one where individuals are taught to
think for themselves and not be subjugated by religious authorities as
is the case with Christain, Jewish or Muslim religions.
The essence of this
culture has two principal themes, first, one must understand the
difference between reality and self delusion, and second, one
must understand the nature of cause and effect, that is,
to understand whatever one does now will have implications later, not
only in the very short term, but the very long term.
In Thai society
Thai culture is such that people do not mix self delusion in their
thoughts and conversation. This is seen as foolish. Good examples of
self delusion include arrogance, superiority beliefs, social status etc.
Some cultures do not make the distinction. The distinction is made in
business matters as well as private relationships. Thai culture enables
Thai people to better self distinguish their emotional desires with a
cautious respect for reality.
Thai culture also
calls for detachment. In some societies if people want something
they have to have it whatever, in fact they strive to become part of
what they seek, be it a status symbol object like a motor car or a
position of social recognition. They become in their minds what they
seek to obtain, the delusion is over whelming. In Thai culture such
desire and attachment for objects is regarded as weekness.
To this we add
the need for respect of others also a concept not really understood
in western cultures. Examples of this respect are, not to shout at
others, not to talk at some one, rather talk to them, not to impose on
another with meaningless and convoluted talk [ thus wasting their time
], not to defame someone and respect their property in their own good
name. For example, defamation is a crime in Thailand.