Talking With Phra Pandit: What’s Up With Buddhist Novices? [Season 3, Episode 16]

2018-07-11T07:38:06+00:00

Have you ever seen those little kids walking around a temple dressed as monks? Well guess what – they ARE monks! Sort of. Mostly. Well, probably more than you are, anyway. Definitely more than we are.

On this episode, Greg talks to perennial BP favorite Phra Pandit – a real, actual monk – about Thai novices, which is what not-yet-monks are called in Thailand. Pandit explains the origin of the ‘novice’ concept and how children in Thailand are often placed in temples due to family or behavioral issues. Phra Pandit notes that the system is not perfect – the young boys are expected to follow the Buddhist precepts and cannot play football or computer games or have relationships with girls – but that the system somehow ‘works’ in that the lives of countless young boys seem to be improved over time and many adults look back fondly on their time as novices.

So what happens when the boys grow up and maybe decide they don’t want to be monks anymore? A lot of things, actually, and Phra Pandit explains some of the many roads these young men can take. Whatever happens, the novice system has proven its worth to Thai society over the decades by helping troubled kids learn discipline and how to adjust to being an adult.

And just to shake things up again, we play another round of Word Association, where Greg challenges Ed to come up with off-the-cuff replies to random Bangkok-based phrases he throws out.

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