Thai Culture. พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย H. B. H. Pbince Wan Waithayakon   

WAN WAITHAYAKON, PRINCE. THAI CULTURE. JSS. VOL.35 (pt.2) 1944. p.135-145.


THAI   CULTURE.

by

H. B. H. PBINCE WAN WAITHAYAKON

               I   should   like,  first   of  all,  sincerely   to   thank   the  members   of    the

Society   for  the  high   honour  they  have  bestowed  upon  me in electing me  to

the   responsible    position  of   President.  H.  H.    the    former    President    very

kindly   suggested   that   I    should,  on   this   occasion,    give  a  lecture    in  the

nature  of  an   inaugural   address.  It  so  happens   that   the   National   Institute

of   Culture  has  asked  this  Society  as  well   as   other     associations     to    co-

operate  in  the   promotion   of    culture   in    this   country   ;   and   I   have   been

designate  by   your   Council  to  speak   on    the    subject.    As    a    preliminary

remark,  I should  like  to   make   it   clear   that   although  I  am    a    member   of

the   Council   of   the  National  Institute   of  Culture,  I    am   not  now   speaking

in  that  capacity  ;  and   the    views   I   am  going  to  express   are   entirely   my

own personal views.

              Culture  is  a  word  which  is  very  much in  vogue  nowadays.  Take  up
a   daily  newspaper, whether   in   the   vernacular   or   in  a  foreign   language,
and  you  will   find   something   about   culture,  I  pick    up  a    number   of    the
Bangkok   Chronicle  at   random  and,   in   its  issue  of   February 19,  find Sven
Hedin  speaking   about   " the    Continent   which   is   the   home  and citadel of
Western    Culture "  .The    third    principle    in   the   Joint   Declaration    of   the
Assembly   of    Greater   East-Asiatic   Nations   reads   as    follows   :    " 3.   The
countries  of   Greater   East  Asia   by   respecting  one  another's   traditions and
developing  the  creative   faculties    of   each  race,   will   enhance    the  culture
and civilisation of Greater East Asia".
               But   what   exactly   is   culture? And  what   is   civilisation?    In  addition
to   the  Pact  of   Alliance  covering   political,   military  and  economic    fields   of

collaboration   between  Thailand   and  Japan,  a  Cultural  Agreement   between

 


 

*Lecture delivered before the Thailand Research Society on Sunday 27th.
February B. E. 2487 (1944),

 

                                                           (136)

 

the    two   countries    was   concluded    on  October   28,    1942.   This   certainly
attests  to    the    importance   of   cultural    co  -  operation,   but  no  definition  of
culture    is    given   ;  and   if   the  various  provisions   are   examined,  the  term
"culture"  in   that  Agreement   would    appear    to  refer   to   activities  in  educa-
tion,  intellectual,  spiritual   and   physical,   in    fine  arts   and   in   publicity,  the
underlying  idea  being  to  promote  still  closer  mutual  understanding  between

the  two nations. Culture  here  may  be   said  to  be  a  complement   of  politios 

and economics.
Now    let   us   cast   a    glance    over  what    has    been     done    in   Thailand,
in   the  field   of  culture,  in  recent  years.   I    shall    start    by   giving   you   the
facts.  In   so   doing,    I   shall  deal   with   only   those    activities    which   come
within   the   scope  of   the  National Institute  of   Culture  ,  leaving   aside  other
cultural   activities,   such  as  the  Youth   Movement    and   other  social  servi

 ce
activities  ,  which  can  be easily  understood  to  come  under  State  action  and
control.

               Ever   since   his  assumption  of  office  as  Premier ,  Field  -  Marshal P.
Phibun-Songkram  has  attached    the   greatest importance to the development
of  culture  among   the   Thai   people.    He   started   by  making  appeals to the
pablic   through  broadcasting  and   through   the  press.  His desire is to inspire
arid  instil  into   the   people    the    spirit   of  action,  which  is  characteristically
his,    namely,  the  spirit   of   united    patriotic  action  looking  to  the greatness
and prosperity of Thailand.
               He  soon felt  the  need,  however, of a more  systematic  and concerted
action  with  a  view    to     securing    more   effective and  uniform results. In his
broadcast  address  to   the  nation   on   the  National Day of June 24, 1939,  he
said  that  education  and    patriotism    alone   were   not  complete qualities  in
themselves :  they   had   to  be   complemented    by   national traditions,  which
the   Government   would    notify   to  the  public  from   time  to  time,  under the
name  of   Rathaniyom,    for   their   own  observance  as  well  as  for the obser-
vance   of   generations    to    come.     Rathaniyom     has    been   literally    but
unmeaningly   translated  as    State   conventions.   A   free    translatio

 n  would
be      "  unwritten   law  of  the  State ",  but  my  own  rendering  would be  State
custom  and  convention,   adapting   the  phrase  from   the custom and conven-
tion of the unwritten constitution of Great Britain.
               His  Excellency went  on to explain   that  State custom and  convention
is   similar to  the   moral   code    of  etiquette  of  civilised  people, with a further
special   sanction  of   the   force   of    public   action derived from public opinion.

 

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Actions  sanctioned   by   public  approval   create   a   force   of   public   opinion,
which  can  compel  observance  by  a   recalcitrant   minority   who  now escape
the  arm  of   the  law. The   public  may,   for   instance,   give   a   stern   warning
to  a  person  violating  the  State  custom   and   convention   or   they  may  with-
hold him from such violation or make him over to the authorities.
The   State  custom   and  convention   has    been    promulgated   in   the   form
of  notification  by  the  Presidency  of the   Council.  Twelve  such   notifications
have been issued, as follows :
               1. June  24,  1939,  concerning  the  designation  of the country, people
and nationality, namely, Thailand and Thai.
               2. July   3,  1939,  concerning  the  prevention of possible danger to the
nation,  enjoining  upon  the  Thai  people  not  to  lose  sight  of  national safe

 ty
and  national  interests,  not  to  reveal  secrets  detrimental  to  the  nation,  not
to  act  on  behalf  of  foreigners  without  considering  the  national  interests of
Thailand   and   not   clandestinely   to   sell   or   purchase   land  on  behalf  of
foreigners so as to be a danger to the nation.
               3. August  2,  1939,  concerning the designation of Thai persons, all of
whom are to be known as Thai.
               4. September  8, 1939, concerning respect to be shown to the national
flag, the National Song and the Royal Anthem.
               5. November  1,  1939,  enjoining  upon  Thai  people  to endeavour to
use commodities.produced or made in Thailand.
               6. December 10, 1939, concerning   the   new   wording of the National
Song.
               7. March 21,  1940,  appealing  to  the  Thai  people  to  join  in  the  na-
tional reconstruction by each having a definite occupation.
               8.    April 26, 1940,  concerning  the new wording of the Royal Anthem.
               9.    June 24, 1940, concerning the upholding of the Thai  language as
the duty of a good citizen.
               10.  January  15,  1941,   enjoining  upon   Thai  people  to  dress  suit-
ably.
               11. September  8,  1941,  concerning  the daily life  of  the Thai peop

 le,
who   are   to   distribute   their   time   properly   for  their  occupation,  their  per-

sonal affairs and their recreation and repose.
               12. January  28,  1942,  concerning  the  extending  of  a helping hand.
to the young, aged and infirm in public places and highways.

 

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      In  these  Notifications  of  the   State  custom  and  convention no legal
sanction has been provided for.
               In   promulgating   the   first   two   Notifications,   the   following   official
explanation was given :
               "The duties of   the Government,  however  multifarious   and   compre-
hensive  they  may  be,  may  be  summed  up  in  the  duty  of  building'  up the
stability and development of the nation.
               "Stability  is  most   important  and must  be provided for first, but deve-
lopment cannot be neglected.
               "Ever  since  Thailand  entered  into the new regime, the Government
have  successfully  endeavoured,  to  build  up stability in many ways,such as
by  revising  the  treaties  which  resulted  in  the  recovery  of political, judicial
and  economic  autonomy,  by  building  up  stronger  national defence forces,
by   strengthening   security   in   matters   of   finance,   agriculture,   the   safe-
guarding   of   public   tranquillity   and   public   health   and   by   many  other
activities which are factors of stability.
               "For  the  permanent  efficacy of the work already done and still to be
done,  the  Thai  people  must  cultivate  in themselves qualities into line with
the new regime.    The  Government  must  therefore  devote   their   attention
to  building  up  development  side  by  side with the stability whic

 h they have
endeavoured to bring about,
               "But  the  building  up of stability is not the same with that of develop-
ment.  The  former  can  rely  on  law  as  a means oi enforcement, but for the
latter  it  is  not  conveaient  to  adopt  law  as  the  means.  The  Government
have therefore set up rules oi action called Rathauiyom.
              "Rathaniyom has similar characteristics to those of Phrarachanityom
(Royal custom and convention)  in  former  times ;  the  only difference is that
Phrarachaniyom  constituted  the  opinion  of  the  king  alone,  while Rathani-
yom  constitutes  the  opinion  of  the  State  formed  in  conformity with public
opinion as a national tradition.
               The Thai  people who hope for the stable development of the nation
should of one  accord respect and observe the Rathaniyom promulgated by
the Government in the Government Gazette."
               Moral codes of conduct apart from the rules of conduct laid down by
law   are,   in   the   West,   built   up  through  the  initiative  of  the  groups  of
parsons   concerned.  But  if  you  look  back  into  history,  you  will  find  that
they  were  set  up  through  the  initiative  of  the  high  priest,  the elders, the

 

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king,the great religious teachers or, in other words, by the leaders in the
communities   concerned.  Thailand   passed   from   patriarchal   kingship  to
absolute  monarchy  without  passing  through feudalism ; and as it has been
essentially   an   agricultural  country,  urban  life  has  been confined  mainly
to  the  capital.  Thus  codes  of  etiquette  have  emanated  mainly  from  the
Court.   Now   with  the  advent  of  the constitutional regime the Gove

 rnment
naturally have to take the lead formerly taken by the king himself.
               King  Ramkhamhaeng,  who  was  the  father of his people, not only
caused  religious  preaching  to  be undertaken by the monks, not only dealt
with   affairs   of  State  in  full  assembly,  but  himself  taught  the  people  in
moral  rules  of  conduct:  "Phokhun  Phra  Ramkhamhaeng  is  the  lord and
chief    of   all   the   Thai  and  is  the preceptor teaching all the Thai to know
truly  what  is  meritorious  and  what  is  righteous. '' It  is  so recorded in the
inscriptions of Sukhothai.
               There are many  curious notifications of King Mongkut laying down
rules   for   observance in   miscellaneous  matters  which  normally,  in  the
West,  would  not  be  the subject of legislation. I  take  examples at random.
There is  one   probibiting the use, in petitions and letters to the king,of pen
and  ink  or  pencil,   the  writing  with  which  is  faint and pale and not truly
black.  Coloured   European  pencils,  whether blue or red, and blue or red
ink  may  be  used;  and Thai black pencils may be used on Thai paper, as
heretofore. There  is   no  sanction  provided  for,  but  it  is  stated  that non-
compliance will be  displeasing to His Majesty,while compliance will bring
about  every  facility   and  convenience  in  securing  the  realisation of the
petitioner's  wishes.   There  is  another  one  enumerating  many excellent
kinds  of  Thai  musical   entertainments,  such  as  Lakhon theatrical perfor-
mance,   Fonram  dancing,  Piphat  instrumental  music,  Mahori  orchestra,
half-portion Sepha ballads,Sakawa repartee songs, Probkai songs marked
by hand-clapping,  Thai  harvest  and  other  songs.  Why   then  should  the
khaen bagpipe be so much in vogue, as to oust the traditional kinds

  of Thai
music  just  enumerated.  It  is  therefore  a  matter of concern to His Majesty
who  is  graciously  pleased  to  implore  all  those concerned to give up the
khaen  bagpipe  for  a  year  or  two  as  a try. If the khaen bagpipe entertain-
ment  is  still  persisted  in,  a  heavy tax will be imposed upon those respon-
sible   for   the  entertainment  ;  and  if  such  entertainment  takes  place  in
secret  a  twofold  or  threefold  tax  will  be  imposed  as  a  fine.  There is a

long notification pointing out that, according to ancient custom, gold is
either  kept  in  safe-keeping or is the object of  commercial  transactions or,

 

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if  it  is  used  as  an  ornament,  it  is  so  used  for  adults  only  and  not  for
children,  because  children  are  not  in a position to protect themselves or
their  gold  ornaments  from  thieves.  Gold  ornaments are a bait to thieves.
Children are therefore forbidden to wear gold ornaments weighing one and
one-eighth  Baht  upwards.  Persons making children wear gold ornaments
in  violation  of  the  notification  will  be fined and the amount of the fine will
be  spent  in  buying  sand  for  the  highways.  I  shall  just  quote one more
it  is  a  notification  to  the  effect  that Wat Rachapradit should be called by
its  proper  name  and  not  be  called Wat Rachabandit. Offenders shall be
fined two Tamlung or eight Baht for each offence
               From what has been said it will be seen that the procedure adopted
by the Government in building up social customs and conventions has been
that  of  appeal  to  the  public  in  the  first  instance  and then that of Rath

 ani-
yom   notifications  without  legal  sanction.  Legal  sanctions,  however,  are
known  to  have  been  provided for in some of the notifications of the Fourth
Reign  ;  and  indeed  the need was soon felt by the present Government for
some  legal  sanction.  On  October  15,  1940,  therefore,  the  National  Cul-
tural   Development   Act  B  E.  2483  was  promulgated.  It  is  stated  in  the
preamble  that it is expedient to set up legal provisions  for the development
of national   culture   as  a  factor  in  fostering  and   promoting  national  pro-
gress.  Culture  is  defined  in that Act as  characteristics showing flourishing
development,  good  order,  harmonious   progress  of the nation and public
good  morals.  It  is  the  duty  of  Thai  people  to  comply  with  the  national
culture  and  to  foster  and  promote  the   national  progress  by  preserving
what  is  good  in the traditional culture and  co-operating in improving such
culture  in  consonance  with  the  times.   Royal  Decrees  shall  be  promul-
gated   in   the  following  matters  :  1.   orderliness  in  dress,  manners and
etiquette  in  public  places  or  in  places   visible  to the public, 2. efficiency
and   etiquette   in   occupational   pursuits   and  3.  appreciation  of  things
Thai.  Account  is  to  be  taken  of  local  conditions   and  living con ditions
of  persons  in  the  various  localities.  A  fine  not    exceeding  twelve Baht
is stipulated as the penalty ; and the proceeds of  the fine shall

  be devoted
to local improvement.
               This Act has been replaced by the National Culture Act B. E. 2485
and     the   National   Culture   Act   (No. 2)  B.  E.  2486.  The matters to be
regulated  by  Royal  Decrees  are  now  1. urderliness in dress, behaviour
and  etiquette  in  public  places  or  in  places visible to the public, 2. order-
liness  in  personal  care  and  care of the home, 3. orderliness in personal

 

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behaviour  looking  to the honour of the nation and the Buddhist religion, 4.
efficiency  and  etiquette  in  occupational  pursuits,  5.  spiritual  and moral
development  of  the  people,  6. progress in literary and artistic works, and
7.   appreciation   of   things  Thai.    The  National  Institute  of  Culture  has
been  set  up,  with  the  status of a public body under the Presidency of the
Council.   Its  duties  are  1.  to research  into,  adapt, preserve and promote
the  existing  national  culture, 2.  to research into, adapt and determine the
culture  which  should  be  adopted  or  further  re-adjusted, 3. to diffuse the
national  culture  in  conformity  with  the times, 4. to control and find means
of instilling  the  national  culture  into  the spirit of the people, and 5. to give
opinion upon consultation or otherwise and to take action as desired by the
Government  in  matters  concerning  the  national  culture.    The Institute

  is
divided   into   five  bureaux  :   1.   Bureau  of  Spiritual  Culture,  2.   Bureau
of    Customary   Culture,  3.     Bureau   of   Artistic   Culture,   4,     Bureau of
Literary  Culture,  and  5.    Bureau  of  Women's  Culture.    The  Institute has
control   over   associations   and  organisations  with  cultural  objects.   The
penalty   for   violations  of  Royal  Decrees  has  been  raised  to  a  fine  not
exceeding  one  hundred  Baht or  imprisonment  not  exceeding  one month
or both.
              Royal Decrees have been issued regarding orderly conduct in public
places  or  in  places  visible  to the public, care of the home, upholding of the
national   honour,   respect   to   be   shown   to  the  national  flag,  conduct in
carrying out one's occupation and other matters.
               A perusal  of  the  various  Royal  Decrees, notifications and appeals
reveals   a  great  number  of  details  in  what  might  appear  to  be  small  or
insignificant   matters   ;   and  it  is  not  easy  to  have  a  clear  picture  of  the
trend   of   cultural   development   now   taking   place.   One   explanation  is
that   such   development   is   still   in   its   initial   sta ges  and  those  matters
are  regulated  first,  in  which  the  need  for  regulation becomes apparent to
the   competent   authorities   concerned.   Anot   her  explanation  is  that  the
domain   of   culture   is   so   wide  and  comprehensive.  Professor  Wissler's
universal   culture  pattern  is  as  follows  :  1. Speech — Languages,  writ

 ing
systems,   etc.   2.   Material   traits  —  a .  Food  habits,  b.  Shelter,  c.  Trans-
portation    and    travel,    d.    Dress,  e.   Utensils,   tools,   etc.,   f.   Weapons,
g.   Occupations  and  industries.   3.   Art-Carving,  painting,  drawing,  music,
etc.    4.    Mythology    and    Scientific  Knowledge.   5.  Religious practices—
a.   Ritualistic   forms,   b.   Treatment   of   the   sick,  c.  Treatment of the dead.
6.   Family    and  social   system—a.   The forms   of   marriage,      b. Methods

 

                                                          (142) 

 

of   reckoning   kinship,   c.   Inheritance,   d.   Social   control,   e.   Sports  and
games.   7.   Property — a.  Real   and   personal,  b.  Standards  of value and
exchange ,    c.    Trade.   8.   Government   —   a.  Political  forms,  b.  Judicial
and legal procedures.   9. War.
               Nor has culture in the narrow sense of arts and letters been neglected.
An    University   of   Fine   Arts  has  been  set  up ;  and  a  literary  revival  has
been  set   in   motion.  Orthography   has  been  simplified  by  the  elimination
of  13  consonants  and   5  vowels,  which  are not necessary for Thai spelling,
while   the   remaining  alphabet   is   sufficient    for    indicating  Pal i- Sanskrit
derivations.   A    monthly   Literary  Review  has   been  published   ;   and   as
Editor I can say that it has met with a keen and wide interest.
               Enough  has  been  said on what is being done in the development of
culture   in   Thailand.    But   what   about   Thai   culture?    I    am   awa

 re  that
questions    have  been  asked  why   Thai  men  should  wear   trousers.   The
answer,   in   my   opinion,   is   that   the   function   of   culture  is   twofold: it is
calculated   to   bring   about,   among  the  people,    a mode of life, which can
meet   the   requirements  of  the  times,  while  at the same time upholding the
spirit   of   the   nation.   It   is   a   fact   that  modern  civilisation   in    the   form
of    the    Industrial   System   has   pervaded   the   world.   Each   nation ,   in
order   to   achieve  progress   or   even  merely   to survive, must so organize
the   life   of   its   people  as  to be able to make an adequate response to the
challenge  thus   put   forward   by   the   prevailing  world  economic  system.
Some  years   ago,   I   asked   a   Japanese  friend   of   mine  why  Japanese
men   had   taken   to   trousers.   He   replied  that he put on trousers in order
to   go   to   the   office,  because   he   felt  more business-like than if be wore
the   kimono,  which   he   preferred   to wear  at  home I have been struck by
his   remark   ;   and,   from   the psychological point of view, I think there is a
great  deal   to   be   said   for   it.   An  English  journalist  once  said  that the
Thai  played   at   work   and   worked  at   play. In order to meet the- require-
ments of the times, we must work at work and play at play.
               But  has  Thai  culture  a  particular stamp of its own ? The National
Institute   of   Culture  has  issued  a national-code of valour called Natio

 nal
Wiratham,   a   literal  translation   of   which   would be the epic ethics of the
nation,   or,   in   other  words,   the  heroic virtues of the nation. Wira means
a   strong  man;   a   man   of   courage,   a   warrior,   a man with fortitude or
enduring  effort  ;  and  Tham  means  righteousness, or, in other words, the
right  Way   of   life.  The  best  rendering  into  English  that   I can think of at
present is "Code of Valour".

 

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               The National Wiratham or Code of Valour is as follows :

 

Valour of the warrior.

 

               The Thai love nation above life.
               The Thai are eminent warriors.
               The Thai, as a nation, are good to friends and most terrible to enemies.

 

Valour of religion.

 

               The Thai, as a nation, worship Buddhism above life.
               The Thai, as a nation, are people whose word and thought c

 orrespond.
               The Thai, as a nation, love peace.
               The Thai, as a nation, are loyal and grateful.


Valour in economic activities.


               The Thai, as a nation, are diligent in agriculture, industry and
oommerce.
               The Thai, as a nation, cultivate foodstuffs for their own consumption.
               The Thai, as a nation, accumulate heritage for their descendants.
Valour in culture.
               The Thai, as a nation, like to live well.
               The Thai, as a nation, like to dress well.
               The Thai, as a nation, honour children, women and the aged.
               The Thai, as a nation, follow each other in what they say and follow
the leader.
               This national Code of Valour has been framed in the stress of war
and  I  do  not  think that in framing it the author has consciously before his
mind  the  inscriptions  of  Sukhothai pertaining to Ramkhamhaeng's

  reign.
Yet   a   perusal   of   such inscriptions will bring out many striking points of
resemblance.  I  myself  never  tire  of  reading  these inscriptions over and
over  again,  for  they  appear  to  me  to  give  a  very  true  picture  of Thai
culture  not  only  in  the  material  sense  but also in the spiritual sense of
expressing  the spirit of the Thai people.
             "In the lifetime of Phokhun Ramkhamhaeng this city of Sukhothai is
good.    In   the    water   there   are  fishes : in the field there is paddy.   The

 

                                                           (144)

 

ruler  does  not  levy  tolls  on  wayfarers  who, in company, lead their oxen
on  the  way  to  trade  and  ride  their  horses on the way to sell.   Whoever
wishes  to  trade  in  horses,  so  trades.   Whoever wishes to trade in silver
and  gold,  so  trades.   Whoever,  whether  a commoner, or one of royal or
princely birth, dies and passes away, the home of his household-guardian
ancestors,  his  domestic  elephants,  his  family,  his  granaries  of rice, his
dependents, his ancestral groves of areca-nut and betel are all handed on
to his children.   Should differences and disputes arise among commoners
or  those  of  royal ; or  princely  birth, it is only after a true investigation that
the  matter  is  uprightly decided for the subjects concerned, without siding
with    him    who   steals  or  showing  partiality for him who conceals.   On
seeing the rice of others he has no covetous desire : on seeing th

 e riches
of others he has no seething desire.   Whoever comes on elephant to see
him and brings his city to acknowledge allegiance, is aided and assisted :
if he lacks elephants, if he lacks silver and gold, these are given to him. to
help  him  raise  it  to  a  proper city.   If enemies or adversaries, fighters or
warriors  are  taken,  they  are  not killed or smitten.   At the gateway there
is  a  bell  hung  up.   If  a common man of the general public has a matter
of  grievance  whether  of  body or of mind, which he would like to submit
to  the  ruling  chief,  he  is  not  without  recourse  :  if  he  goes to ring the
bell  which  is  hung  up,  Phokhun Ramkhamhaeng, the ruler, upon hear-
ing   it,  will  call  him  up  for  an  upright;  investigation.  The  subjects  in
this   city   of  Sukhothai  therefore  delight  in  growing   groves  of  areca-
nut  and  betel  everywhere  throughout  the  city.  Cocoanut  groves also
abound    in    this   city;   jack-fruit    groves   also   abound   in   this   city ;
mango  trees  also  abound  in  this  city  ;  tamarind trees also abound in
this city. Whoever grows them has them as his own…………..The people
in   this  city  of  Sukhothai  are  devoted  to  charity , devout life and alms-
giving.  Phokhun  Ramkhamhaeng, the ruler of Sukhothai, and each and
all  of  his  Court,  both  man  and  women,  and  those of royal or princ

 ely
birth, as wall as man and women of the masses, have faith in the Buddhist
religion and observe devout life during the Buddhist Lent…………"   Then
follows a description of the general demonstration of joy on the occasion
of the Kathin ceremony at the end of tha Buddhist Lent and a description
of  the  magnificent  Buddha - images  as  well  as  the  high  standard  of
monastic  life   at Sukhothai.  Other descriptions follow of the prosperous
condition  of  the  country,ending with the mention of the setting up of the
Thai  alphabet  by  Phokhun  Ramkhamhaeng and the wide extent of his
kingdom.

 

                                                         (145)

 

               The pure form of Buddhism prevailing in the   Sukhothai period is
reflected  in  the  Buldha - images of that time, for they  show an unmistak-
able  expression  of  serene  equanimity ,  reflecting   the  spirit of the Thai
people  marked  by  cheerfulness  of temperament,  mildness of characte

 r,suavity  of  manners  and  adaptability  of  disposition.   Ramkhamhaeng's
successors concentrated on trie religious aspect of Thai  culture and neg-
lected  the  material  side.  Hence  the  deoline  and  fall of  the Sukhothai
dynasty.  The  present  regime  in  Thailand  is  laying the  foundations for
the development of Thai culture both in the material and spiritual spheres,
but what has become apparent to the public so far has been  the  material
side  of  the  development, while it will take some time before  the spiritual
side  can  make  itself manifest. While material culture is being developed
as  a necessity to meet the requirements of the times brought about by the
prevailing  world  economic  conditions  of  the Industrial System, the Thai
spirit looks back for inspiration to the golden age of Ramkhamhaeng ; and
I  am  confidently  hopeful  that  in due course of time the resplendent light
of  serene  equanimity  in the Thai spirit of Buddhism will again shine forth
in all its radiance. 

 

              
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