Interview questions and answers
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Interview on Animist Belief in ThailandPimploy Thirati
Name: Buppa Thirati Age: 54 Occupation: Former EGAT employee (early retired)Relationship to the interviewer: MotherLanguage in which interview was conducted: Thai and EnglishDate of interview: 19th March 2010 Place of interview: My house1. How would you summarize Buddhism in a few sentences?
I would say Buddhism teaches everyone to take the middle path and that all the pain and suffering comes only from within ones self.
2. How do you practice your beliefs?
I occasionally pray in front of a Buddha amulet and meditate for a while to free my mind. Most people believe that in order to get good deeds and good karma, they have to go to the temples everyday and donate as much as they can to the monks but in reality, if people donate more than they have, how is that beneficial to them? I think the best thing we can do is very simple; we can just pray for those suffering spirits that are not free from their bad karma. By meditating and wish for other unfortunate souls, we will gain more good deeds. Of course helping others physically is important too but you may gain nothing if youre just doing that just to gain some good deeds.
3. How often do you visit the temple or the spirit house? What do you do there?
I really wish I could visit the temple more often but there are other things in life that I have to take care of such as work and family. Now that Im retired, I have more time to go to the temple. I used to spend one week at a temple in the forest last year; it was an amazing experience. We wore white cloths and meditate alone in a quiet peaceful environment.
4. Do you have an amulet? What does it represents and what is significant about this particular amulet?
I have many amulets; most of them were given to me as a gift. Well, I dont wear one around my neck; my necklace is actually a picture of my parents. I have one in my hand bag which I carry around with me all the time. This one was given to me from my father and it is of a famous monk. The amulet is there as a reminder for me to think of all the Buddhist teachings that I know and sometimes I believe it is a spiritual protection.
5. Do you believe in ghosts? What are your thoughts on ghosts and spirits?
I do believe in spirits; I think they exist and are present among us but we cannot see them. They are those souls that are still wandering around because they dont have a place or a body to go yet. I think our lifetime is like a voyage. Our soul lives in a body or a boat that doesnt belong to us and eventually will be broken down. Some may reach the other side or the nirvana but some may be lost in the sea and struggle to go to the other side. I used to be very scared of ghosts when I was little but once I know they are just like everyone of us but less fortunate, I dont feel like I should be afraid of them.
6. Have u ever experience any unexplained phenomenon?
Personally I have never experienced ghosts or spirits.
7. What are the differences between your religion and other religions?
I cant say that Buddhism is the best religion; I believe that all religions teach people to do good to others. In Buddhism, there is no god or divine figure but just the Buddha who was once a normal human being. This makes the followers believe that every one of them will be able to reach nirvana and be enlightened. Our goal in life is not to go to heaven but rather to not exist and never will be born again.
8. Have you ever been to a Buddhism ceremony? Can you describe the experience?
Ive been to weddings, funerals and house blessing ceremonies. House blessing ceremony is probably a unique Buddhist tradition. On this day we invite monks to come to our house and give blessing, usually done for new houses. Later on we give food and money to the monks. This ceremony is done to caste away bad spirits by giving them good karma so that they would leave the family or help protect them. I do believe that spirits exist everywhere; even in this house that were living in and they help protect and look after us.