Temple, The Temple or Wat in Thailand, as I know.
Temple, the temple or Wat. Since ancient times, temples were built together with the establishment of the capital and the building of the Royal Grand Palace. The Temple plays a very important role for the community and the Kingdom.
The rulers always use religion to harmonize and mobilize the people to get together and stabilize the kingdom. Similarly to the Sukhothai period, the 6th King of Sukhothai attempted to harmonize and stabilize the Sukhothai Kingdom by focusing on religion.
In the war’s time, even the monks themselves used to act as spiritual leaders in order to lead and encourage the people to fight against the enemy.
Who built the temple? And what’s for?
As in Thailand, there are more than 30,000 Buddhist temples scattered throughout Thailand. Many of the temples are found in the provinces where they were the former capitals of Thailand, such as Sukhothai and Ayutthaya provinces, including the present capital, Bangkok.
According to history and legend, most temples were once built by wealthy and high-ranking officers, some of whom were close to the royal family.
It has become a tradition for the wealthy and high-ranking officials to construct temples for their loved ones, families, or even children to play on the temple grounds.
As in the old days, there were limited places for children to get together and play, so many temples were built for them to play, as the old saying goes: “Sang-Wat-Sang Wa Hai Luk-Larn Than Len” means that The temples were built for their children to use the temple grounds to play.
What are Kamawasri and Aranyawasri temples?
- Kamwasri (pronounced ka-ma-wa-si) means the temple where it is located in a village. It refers to temples in villages or in the city. The focus is to study the Dharma. The mission is to govern, spread the dharma, and supervise the construction of the main temple restoration, commonly known as Wat Ban or Wat Muang.
- Aranyawasi (pronunciation: A-ran-ya-wa-si) currently refers to a temple that is located in the forest, commonly known as the forest temple, whose daily activities focus heavily on introspection, i.e., training the mind and developing wisdom. focusing mainly on Dharma practice and propagation, not focusing on administrative tasks, studying the Scriptures, public utilities, or the construction of temple development.
What’s the difference between the royal and public temples?
- The Royal temple is ordered to be built by the King or the temple is under the King’s patronage.
- A public temple is one built by the general people, which means most of the temples in Thailand are public temples.
Former Temple’s Role in Thailand
Temple is also play an another role besides a religion center.
As a temporary shelter for the localIn the old days, there were no hostels or hotels. Travelers were unable to stay overnight unless they had friends or relatives in the area. They went to the temple and asked the abbot for permission to spend the night in the temple.
Nowadays, during a festival, people can also spend the night in the temple.The hospitality practiced in the temples is not limited to celebrations. The temple also offers refuge to people in need.Many rural residents send their children to school in Bangkok and also look for accommodation for their children in Wat.
But only boys are allowed to live with the monks. They help them with daily tasks such as washing or preparing food. The boys not only get accommodation, but also food, and are instructed in the Buddhist teachings.
As a Repository or MuseumThey keep valuable objects that are of particular artistic or historical importance, such as Buddha statues, documents, and palm leaves on which texts are written in Pali.
As a First SchoolThe first schools in Thailand were built in temples. Monks taught the boys from the area reading, writing, and arithmetic. During the reign of King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn), public schools were introduced in Thailand. But, many temples still house state schools today. Some of these schools are very famous.
Meeting place for the community.The wat offers many uses, especially in the villages. It usually has a large assembly hall (sala) and a sports field. The young people meet for sports like takrow or football. You can use the hall for gatherings of the villagers, e.g. for meetings of government officials and villagers or for vaccination campaigns. But it can also serve as a location for a market.
So those are some of the stories about temples in Thailand. To learn more about the specifics, please do not hesitate to contact us for temple and city tours.