thomas m wilson

Thai Forest Buddhism

November 22nd, 2016



The forests of Thailand have been retreat for, particularly since the 1980s.  Forest monks, who go to the forests to meditate, have seen their home get smaller and smaller.  In some cases this has prompted them to become defenders of the forest, for example performing tree ordination ceremonies, effectively ordaining a tree in saffron robes in order to make it sacred to the villagers and ensure its protection.  The Thai royal family endorsed tree ordinations in honour of the King’s fiftieth year of ascension to the throne. This royal patronage gave the forest’s and trees symbolic protection at the highest level. Sadly the king passed away recently.  Whether this will mean the Thai forest Buddhists have less legitimacy from the perspective of the state, I don’t know.