Religion in Thailand
Buddhism originates from the teachings of Indian Prince Siddhartha Gautama 600 B.C., but it didn't appear in Thailand until 300 years later. Gautama searched for satisfaction in his life, but he could not find it in a life surrounded by wealth nor one of self-deprivation. He finally found a reprieve from his suffering in moderation, or "following the middle path" as it is called in Buddhism.
Buddhism, based on Guatama's philosophy, also speaks of the Four Noble Truths that accepts the presence of suffering in life and the Eight-fold path is believed to lead to an end to the suffering through adherence to the middle path. Buddhists are taught that living a life of discipline and good deeds will eventually lead to a state of ultimate peace called Nibbana. However, few disciples actually seek Nibanna; the goal of the majority of Buddhists is to attain a better life in the next rebirth where they might attain the proper discipline to pursue Nibanna.
Most Buddhists work toward a favorable reincarnation through acts of merit making in their daily lives. It is also common for boys to become novice monks, often believed to give their family especially the mother great merit. Few, however, have the discipline to submit themselves to a lifetime in monkhood, contemplating Buddha's ideas. In certain villages and rural ideas, spirit worship, a tradition taken from older religions, is practiced along with Buddhism.