This week we talk with Bangkok-based Buddhist monk Phra Pandit about abortions, birth control, and how Buddhism defines evil. And you’ll likely think Evo an idiot for his dangerous flirtation with Thailand’s terrible traffic fatalities statistics, but what’s a farang to do?All of that and more on this episode of the Bangkok Podcast.
Understanding Thai Buddhism
Buddhism may not be the "official" religion of Thailand, but don't try telling that to the 98% of the population who consider themselves Buddhist. In this series of episodes, you'll discover Thailand's unique take on one of the world's largest religions.
Continuing with our Buddhism series, we welcome Phra Pandit, a Brit who has been a monk in Thailand for the past 20 years and is a noted lecturer on Buddhism, dhamma, and psychology.
Desire – or the lack of it – is one of the key themes that the Buddha taught his followers. But as we find out in this very interesting discussion with Phra Pandit, it’s not as easy as saying “I can do without those cool new pair of shoes.”
On this show we (well, Greg, as Evo is traveling) will talk with Pandit about what happens when a particular Buddhist temple becomes really important. So important, in fact, that the government wants to shut it down. In this case it’s the Dhammakaya temple, which has millions of devotees all over Thailand and is led by a rather controversial monk. As of the date of this post, police have been camped outside the temple for several weeks as deadline after deadline for the surrender of the head monk have come and gone and nothing’s happened. It’s kind of like the world’s most boring standoff…but something’s got to give eventually.
On our last show we invited the venerable Pandit Bhikku back to the studio and we switched things up a bit and let Pandit interview us. Phra Pandit asks us if we believe in God and if we, in fact, believe what we believe, which is one of the key introspective aspects of Buddhism. Needless to say, it gets a bit deep as Tony, Greg and Pandit debate the meaning of belief and the freedom to choose if you even want to believe in anything.
In our continuing Buddhism series, we are joined by a special guest, Bhikkuni Suvijjana, a female monk who is visiting Thailand from the US. Female monks are rare, but the tide is slowly turning, and Bhikkuni Suvijjana gives us an interesting look into how she sees Buddhism on a daily basis.
Bangkok Podcast talks to Marisa Cranfill, who is one of Thailand’s foremost experts on Thai spirit houses. She gives us the lowdown on what’s inside the little structures, why you’ll most commonly see red Fanta soda sitting on the mini ‘porch’, and what happens to all that food that people leave as offerings?
Our Buddhism series continues with Phra Pandit talking to us about how Buddhism views science. Is it as hostile as some other religions often see it, or is it more of a peaceful co-existence? Are there areas which conflict with The Buddha’s teachings, or does Buddhism take every new discovery in stride?
In our continuing Bangkok Podcast Buddhism series, we sit down with Robin Moore, who spent over a decade as a monk in both the UK and Thailand, but eventually left the monk hood and rejoined lay-life. He tells us about his interesting journey, from being drawn to Buddhism as a teenager to why his mother cried when he joined the monk hood – and cried again when he left.
In the wake of the terrible tragedy in Japan, we are extremely pleased to have with us on this show Phra Pandit. On this show, Greg and Tony ask Phra Pandit to give his views on how such a tragedy can affect people, and how religion – and Buddhism in particular – can either become the one things that helps people get through such a hard time or ceases to mean anything to them at all.
On this episode of Bangkok Podcast we talk to British born monk Phra Pandit about life in the orange robes. Buddhism plays a large part in Thai culture and the monks are a part of life here – wandering the streets early in the morning, shopping at markets, riding the skytrain – but for most foreigners, they remain somewhat mysterious and at a distance. Phra Pandit gives us a very unique and interesting insight into a side of life that most of us will never see, including details on his blog and Facebook group.