This study was based on applied research drawing on both quantitative and qualitative methods. The study also investigated the current states of the communities using cross-sectional design. The main objectives of the study were to examine the people’s participation and the strategies for encouraging people’s participation in approach strategic Buddhism in globalization era of the communities located in the bordering zones of Thailand and Laos PDR. A series of questionnaires based on quantitative research method was used to collect the data from the samples which were chosen by stratified random sampling. After that the simple random sampling was used to recruit the participants which included: 798 family heads who are Buddhists, 39 monk teachers, 39 Buddhism religious personnel from Muang District, Phayao Province, and 876 participants from Laos PDR. The obtained data were analyzed by descriptive analyses and the hypothesis was tested by statistical formulae: frequency, percentage, mean, standard deviation, t-test, and F-test. The analysis of hypothesis testing was based on multistage regression. The qualitative research was conducted through indepth interviews with the key informants, participatory observations and field notes. The qualitative data were then analyzed by descriptive explanation and interpretation. The findings of the study are provided as follows.
The people’s participation in the approach strategic Buddhism consisted of 3 aspects: 1) on the teaching of Buddhism as a whole, both Thailand and Laos PDR appeared at a high level; 2) the welfare education of both Thailand and Laos PDR appeared at a medium level as a whole; and 3) the welfare public health of both Thailand and Laos PDR appeared at a medium level as a whole.
Various strategic recommendations are suggested to the related organizations and sectors which are responsible for Buddhism teaching to consider as the guidelines for providing the education on approach strategic Buddhism. The following activities are recommended: the people are suggested to participate in every teaching forms under the lead of the monk working team in order to develop the approach strategic Buddhism in 6 aspects: teaching strategy, welfare education strategy, new attitude changing strategy, organizational development and networking strategy, and Buddhism research development strategy.
Keywords: participation, approach strategic Buddhism, welfare education, welfare public health, globalization era.
Most of Thai citizens are Buddhists and Buddhism is the national religion. With this, the contribution of Buddhism teaching led by the monks has been initiated. The monks were the followers of the Buddha Lord since in the beginning of Buddhism establishment till the 3rd revision of Dhamma and Vinaya by King Asoke the Great, the King of India who had supported and initiated to support the envoy monks to teach Buddhism in various areas which included totally 9 routes (Karuna Kulasai cited in Preecha Changkhwuanyuen, 1998: 134-135).
The teaching of Buddhism was begun by a monk who contributed the religious teaching to the houses of priest and later on to the temples. On this aspect, Lionel Obadia (www.globa/buddhism.org. 2001) states that the monk teachers who contributed about Buddhism did not make the communities change their attitudes or accept the religion immediately, but Buddhism has gradually developed because the Buddhists have maintained its identity. The relationship between the monks and the community residents appeared dependable on each other which is known as symbiosis. The ways of life of the people from birth to death have depended on religious and ritual activities and ceremonies and the religion has also relied on the people’s supports and maintenance in order to make the religion exist in the society.
Since Thailand has launched the 10th National Economic and Social Developmental Plan and the country has entered into the globalization era in the 21st century (Copied Material of the Office of National Economic and Social Development Committee, 2011), the traditional dissemination of Buddhism had faced some problems which reflected the crises in different angles, for example, politics, economy, and especially in societal crisis. The societal groups have competed with one another at a high level. The societal people have worked harder and been more worried with high stress which caused the discrimination in the society and finally spread into family institution. These crises in the past were solved by the religion, but the religious institution itself at present is also facing the problem “religious crisis”. The religious crisis has limited the responsibilities of the religious institutions to only play the roles in the temples (Duan Khamdee, 2011:4) and this reflects the inefficiency of the Buddhism which fails to response to the new societal needs.
This problem has spread very quickly and caused the two country people lack ethics and morality and consequently there causes many problems in the society. Wibke Lobo (www.hansgeorberger.com: 2011) stated in the article titled “ The Middle Way Theravada Buddhism and its special nature in Laos” that the Theravada in Laos has mixed between Buddhism and folk beliefs, especially animism which reflect that the roles of the religion have gradually disappeared from the society without any trace of centralizing the spiritual leadership. This is supported by Phra Paisarn Wisalo (2003:473-487) stating that the globalization process has affected all nations in the borderless world and it also causes the challenging problems for the religion in 2 aspects: internal problems of Buddhism and external problems.
The research on “the student monks’ responsibilities toward moral and ethical development for the society at Mahawittayalai Makutrajakumarn University, the central campus in2004”provides that Thai society has become the society with ethical problems with corruption, burglary, persecution, and snatching others’ properties which have been increasing till these violations are hard to stop. All these problems are caused by the lack of good moral development from the religion. And the growth of spiritualism associated with the development of materialism have been proposed by the Committee for Mental Development Planning, The National Council on Social Welfare of Thailand (1986: 65-66) stated about the teaching of Buddhism interestingly that the teaching of Buddhism was not effective because the religious personnel lacked the knowledge and skills in efficient teaching, many of these religious personnel tended to compete with one another in producing sacred materials more than developing spiritual and intellect. With these, the use of availably limited resources does not contribute to the teaching, and therefore the roles of the temples and monks have been reduced tremendously. Even though Thailand has revised the textbook of Buddhism and assigned the monk teachers to teach in the schools, there are found some crises (Osamu Lzmi, 2008:179). These crises do not occur with only Thai people, but also impact the Laotians in terms of religious practices although the two countries have put much attempt to disseminate the knowledge of Buddhism to develop the people’s quality of life. Moreover, the religion also stipulates practical strategies on the four “Ps” by the Buddhist missionary monks which include: the purification of mind, teaching goals, teaching word dissemination, and endurance (Bhikkhu Bddharakkita, 2011: 30-31) to raise people’s mind quality. However, the more accelerating in teaching, the more problems
Anoot Apaphirom (2002:33-34) states about the societal people that the development of the country and goods production which aim at controlling the natural resources, seek for the highest interest, and make themselves more prosperous as do in the western countries, these damage their morals and ethics. These problems also initiate and demonstrate the crises of ethics and spiritual which cause health problems for the new generations as ever happened to the people before. The ways in which people seriously pay attention in superstition reflect that the teaching of Buddhism by the monks has not been successful.
Thailand is a Buddhism country and there are more than 30,000 temples with over 300,000 monks, 100,000 novices and 90 per cent of the populations devote to be Buddhists. Moreover, the constitution of Thailand also directs that the king must be Buddhist (Pravet Wasri, 1999: 7). However, when surveying a number of people who do the activities in the temples, there appears that 70 per cent of these have never practiced their religion in the temples, 60 per cent of them haven’t known or experienced themselves the temple activities. These may be caused by globalization process. From the research on “A stud of economic situation and community cultures along the quadrangle economic corridor among Thailand, Laos and China” by Prachan Rakpong (cited in research networking project by the northern tertiary educational institutions, 2000: Khor-8-10), it presented that the Laotians in the north (including people in Luang Phrabang) derive the information sent directly from Thailand and Vientien and it impacts the change of people’s ways of life related to ritual practices and traditional beliefs. This illustrates that globalization process also impacts the people’s participation in Buddhism activities both directly and indirectly. The additional question also emerged from this situation that “How is the people’s participation in strategic approach Buddhism? What are the patterns? and How many are the involved Buddhism activities?”. In this study, therefore, aims to examine whether the people’s participation in strategic approach Buddhism through the perception and reception of information, opinion sharing, involvement, cooperation, and people’s empowerment affect the strategic approach Buddhism among the communities located in the bordering zones between Thailand and Laos.
With the aforementioned situation, the policy for disseminating the strategic approach Buddhism was initiated in both Thailand and Laos PDR. The aims of this are to educate the people living in the Mekong River banks to understand in Buddhism in order to lead them to Dhamma till they can approach Pariyati (learning) and practice (action) in their daily life and raise the individual’s quality of life to more achieve in Dhamma practice in order to accept the reality of the world.
From the above backgrounds, the researcher is interested in examining the people’s participation in strategic approach Buddhism and the results of the study are applied for Buddhism teaching and religious knowledge dissemination for Buddhists and interested people.
Objectives of the study
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