Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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During the Chatchai Government in the 1980's, Thailand had witnessed unprecedented growth in the country's economy. In 1997, however, the economic prosperity that the Thai had enjoyed blasted like bubbles. This economic downturn had resulted in an unemployment of over 2 million people. While most people talked about side of this economic crisis, the author saw some glimmering bright side of the downturn. This was the time, the author argued, to heal the national illness by using culturally-based therapy: Buddhist meditation. This illness was of two kinds: (1) depression and anxiety from being "losers" in the turmoil; (2) materialism and consumerism which needed a long-term therapeutic measure. The author proposed an application of the two popular techniques of meditation taught in Thailand as medication for healing the Thai people. One technique was tranquility meditation practiced at the Chammamongkol Temple in Bangkok. At the center, the author participated in and observed the practice. At that place, the objective of the meditative exercise was to increase the power of the mind thereby leading to the attainment of the willpower point which would bring about some psychic powers such as clairvoyance, ability to cure some diseases, and knowledge of past lives. The normal practice of tranquility meditation, however, was to gain peacefulness to mind as the name suggested. On the other hand, the possessors of the psychic powers, if they were not bragging about these powers, could use these special abilities for the benefit of their fellow citizens such as disease curing. The other technique of meditation of which the author used the same participation-observation methodology to obtain the knowledge was insight meditation at the Young Buddhist Association of Thailand. Here the practitioner would focus on Sati or mindfulness in every moment of his or her body accompanied by the contemplation of the Buddhist percepts of anicca (impermanence), dukkha (suffering), and anatta (non-self) which was interpreted as there was nothing as certain as uncertainly. Nothing was permanent thereby being applicable to names, titles, wealth, fame, and privileges. One should therefore curb worldly desires as well as decrease egoism. Application of the two techniques of meditation if undertaken by the Thai practitioners could generate the fundamentals for peaceful and altruism oriented life. The author believed that under the current economic crisis Thailand has been experiencing, these two modes of meditation should be coalesced to create both curative and preventive immunity for the Thai community. It was curative because peacefulness and contemplation of the principle of impermanence of things from meditation exercise should alleviate the pain of those who suffered alleviate the pain of those who suffered from the crisis; it was preventive because meditative practice should be in the long run taught to the younger generations of the nation, namely, school pupils and university students in order to become future quality citizens and with positive desire (chanda) to produce to balance the consumption. Also, consumption of luxurious goods should be clarified to adolescent buyers that if signifies illusory egoism which should be prevented from happening by the intention to render oneself useful to others physically and spiritual to lesson self-importance. As an operational model, tranquility meditation should be made compulsory for primary and secondary school pupils whereas university students would have to learn both tranquility and insight meditation to derive wisdom for sustainable development of sound society.

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