Thailand is a weird combination of sexually repressive and free. On one hand, lady boys are common place and walking the streets. You will find an abundant amount of gay women whom they refer to as Toms. They even have a Miss Tom Competition. On the other hand, women usually are forced to wear skirts to work if they want to hold any public position. What gets weirder about the skirts, is in Thailand it is considered rude to sit with your legs crossed. They want you to sit with your legs spread open in a skirt. This is considered polite
Thailand is cool. Most Thais’ are laid back and chill. They give off the opposite high stung vibe of the Chinese who are very work oriented. In Thailand, it is okay to relax andcan have a lot of fun and they have beautiful a lot cleaner than China, meaning the air quality, not the people.
On the other hand, Thailand is a lot smaller and poorer than China. Unfortunately, this makes Thailand more dangerous. It is easier to be a victim of Crime in Thailand. Bangkok is really sin city and everything is about money. Evey-one tries to hustle you, rip you off and cheat you because it has more poverty. Even the cops are corrupt. You will see posters everywhere about the police not accepting bribes anymore. So far, you can buy a lot of police officers off with whiskey and cigarettes.
If you are American or from any country with a higher currency rate, be on the look out for the police, because they will try to hassle you to make money. Thailand has a very corrupt police force. However, Thai people tend to respect their King and their government and it is frowned upon if you speak badly on their King. In truth, unless you are a Thai native you will never understand their politics, so don’t speak about it or even try to judge it out of respect.
The common way to get around is a motor bike or a scooter. You have to be careful because taxi drivers might cheat you. It’s better to get your own bike, but be warned, people in Thailand drive crazy. They have no regard for life on the roads. They drive very fast past and they will run you over if you don’t move out of the way. If you hear someone honk, instead of slowing down, they just keep coming at you full speed and they honestly expect you to speed up or get out of the way before they hit you.
Seriously, driving in Thailand is dangerous. It is not for the faint of heart. Whether you get your own bike or depend on bike taxis, they are both highly dangerous. Thailand is probably one of the most dangerous countries to navigate. This doesn’t mean the adventurous isn’t worth it as it is home to some of the nicest people and most beautiful sites.
Thailand is a Buddhist country. They are about spirituality and respect. They are very polite to each other. They bow when greeting. Take their shoes off almost every time they come inside so they don’t track dirt. Basically, they are mindful and do not tolerate the rude behaviors that loud obnoxious Americans are accustomed to.
|• What is the First Noble Truth?The first truth is that life is suffering i.e., life includes pain, getting old, disease, and ultimately death. We also endure psychological suffering like loneliness frustration, fear, embarrassment, disappointment and anger. This is an irrefutable fact that cannot be denied. It is realistic rather than pessimistic because pessimism is expecting things to be bad. lnstead, Buddhism explains how suffering can be avoided and how we can be truly happy.
• What is the Second Noble Truth?
The second truth is that suffering is caused by craving and aversion. We will suffer if we expect other people to conform to our expectation, if we want others to like us, if we do not get something we want,etc. In other words, getting what you want does not guarantee happiness. Rather than constantly struggling to get what you want, try to modify your wanting. Wanting deprives us of contentment and happiness. A lifetime of wanting and craving and especially the craving to continue to exist, creates a powerful energy which causes the individual to be born. So craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.
• What is the Third Noble Truth?
The third truth is that suffering can be overcome and happiness can be attained; that true happiness and contentment are possible. lf we give up useless craving and learn to live each day at a time (not dwelling in the past or the imagined future) then we can become happy and free. We then have more time and energy to help others. This is Nirvana.
• What is the Fourth Noble Truth?
The fourth truth is that the Noble 8-fold Path is the path which leads to the end of suffering.
• What is the Noble 8-Fold Path?
In summary, the Noble 8-fold Path is being moral (through what we say, do and our livelihood), focussing the mind on being fully aware of our thoughts and actions, and developing wisdom by understanding the Four Noble Truths and by developing compassion for others.
• What are the 5 Precepts?
The moral code within Buddhism is the precepts, of which the main five are: not to take the life of anything living, not to take anything not freely given, to abstain from sexual misconduct and sensual overindulgence, to refrain from untrue speech, and to avoid intoxication, that is, losing mindfulness.
• What is Karma?
Karma is the law that every cause has an effect, i.e., our actions have results. This simple law explains a number of things: inequality in the world, why some are born handicapped and some gifted, why some live only a short life. Karma underlines the importance of all individuals being responsible for their past and present actions. How can we test the karmic effect of our actions? The answer is summed up by looking at (1) the intention behind the action, (2) effects of the action on oneself, and (3) the effects on others.
• What is Wisdom?
Buddhism teaches that wisdom should be developed with compassion. At one extreme, you could be a good hearted fool and at the other extreme, you could attain knowledge without any emotion. Buddhism uses the middle path to develop both. The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality, all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent and do not constitute a fixed entity. True wisdom is not simply believing what we are told but instead experiencing and understanding truth and reality. Wisdom requires an open, objective, unbigoted mind. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.
• What is Compassion?
Compassion includes qualities of sharing, readiness to give comfort, sympathy, concern, caring. In Buddhism, we can really understand others, when we can really understand ourselves, through wisdom.
• How do I Become a Buddhist?
Prepared by Brian White 1993, with thanks to Ven S. Dhammika.