- Thai culture needs to be understood from the ethnic traditions of the various peoples who migrated to Thailand to form the Thai culture as we understand it today, the influences from India of religion and mythology, the origin myths of some of the minorities living in Thailand and animist traditions which continue today.
- From these traditions we have a Thai culture where belief systems are distinguishable from elsewhere and the themes of these are reflected in the performing arts of music and dance, in the art forms of woodwork, sculture, murals, pottery and bronze and significantly in architecture forms and decorations, both in the past and continuing in new buildings today.
- Most importantly Thai culture is significant in the behaviour, customs and beliefs of the Thai people today.
Thai Culture and Buddhist Traditions
- Thai culture is Buddhist. Accordingly the culture is one where individuals are taught to think for themselves and not be subjugated by religious authorities as is the case with Christain, Jewish or Muslim religions.
- The essence of this culture has two principal themes, first, one must understand the difference between reality and self delusion, and second, one must understand the nature of cause and effect, that is, to understand whatever one does now will have implications later, not only in the very short term, but the very long term.
- In Thai society Thai culture is such that people do not mix self delusion in their thoughts and conversation. This is seen as foolish. Good examples of self delusion include arrogance, superiority beliefs, social status etc. Some cultures do not make the distinction. The distinction is made in business matters as well as private relationships. Thai culture enables Thai people to better self distinguish their emotional desires with a cautious respect for reality.
- Thai culture also calls for detachment. In some societies if people want something they have to have it whatever, in fact they strive to become part of what they seek, be it a status symbol object like a motor car or a position of social recognition. They become in their minds what they seek to obtain, the delusion is over whelming. In Thai culture such desire and attachment for objects is regarded as weekness.
- To this we add the need for respect of others also a concept not really understood in western cultures. Examples of this respect are, not to shout at others, not to talk at some one, rather talk to them, not to impose on another with meaningless and convoluted talk [ thus wasting their time ], not to defame someone and respect their property in their own good name. For example, defamation is a crime in Thailand.
Thai Culture About Telling Lies
- Thai culture does not permit telling lies. Again words have different applications.
- In western society people tell ties all the time, not only in politics, but to children, friends and in business and government of the people for the people. In the west we dismiss these as '' white lies '', not important, or being polite to avoid the truth to confront someone. Not so in Thai culture, so travellers should understand a strict interpretation of the concept of a lie applies and when a Thai avoids telling you the truth then you know this is his or her way of refusing to lie.