May 1, 2018

Phra Pandit: Symbolism & Ceremony at Thai Funerals [Season 3, Episode 6]

Phra Pandit: Symbolism & Ceremony at Thai Funerals [Season 3, Episode 6]

Join Greg and frequent guest and Buddhist monk Phra Pandit for an engaging discussion of the mysteries of Thai funerals, what they mean and don’t mean, how they differ from funerals in the West, and why they are a far lighter topic than one might expect

You may remember a month ago Greg and Ed invited our wonderful listeners to write in with details on how long they have been living in Thailand. Listen in to hear the boys discuss the results - or if you’re more disposed to pretty colors, check out the neat-o pie chart on the website.  

Greg then begins a conversation about Thai funerals with frequent podcast guest Phra Pandit, a British-born Buddhist monk here in Thailand. Greg notes that Thai funerals seem to be less serious and emotional than funerals back home, and Phra Pandit points out that Thai funerals are typically stretched out over several days, somewhat muting the emotional intensity of the event. Pandit also stresses that many of the rituals seen at Thai funerals are not set in stone, and there is considerable variety in the specifics of each funeral - like throwing coins (really), knocking on coffins (really), and man-handling a corpse into a more convenient position for funeral rites (yikes...really).

Greg also gets schooled on why reincarnation in Buddhism is not thought of as a good thing, because one never knows in what situation one might be reborn, and any merit that can be done at the funeral in honor of the deceased might tip the karma balance in your favor.

Finally, Pandit gives us a few somewhat humorous (but also pretty gruesome) behind-the-scenes rituals and, uh...manual chores that one must do to make sure a funeral goes off as planned.

For Love, Loathe, or Leave, Ed challenges Greg to say anything good about inappropriately loud music at Thai markets and malls, but Greg admits he hates it - though not enough to flee the Land of Smiles.  

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