One of the reasons why people visit Thailand is her temples. I asked our driver-slash-tour guide-slash-friend, “Kon, how many temples… in Thailand?” He answered with big eyes, “Ahhhhh… Very many!” I was so surprised to know that each province or district or whatever you call it is required to have a temple. So he said there are thousands of temples in Thailand. Very similar to what we have here in the Philippines, I said, a Catholic Church in every town or chapel for a barangay and the church usually in front of a public plaza and next to a gym or a public market. Before we went to Thailand, I’ve heard people say, “you go to one temple, you’ve seen the rest.” It’s the reason why we decided not to spend so much time going to temples, considering the short period we’ll be there.
Hopefully, I’ll go back and spend time reading and knowing the history of each temple. I had one friend who had no camera. She told me that having none is actually better. She was really able to feel the place and savor the experience while we were busy clicking the experience and the feeling away.
I told our friend, “Kon, just take us to the most special temples.” He answered, “All the temples are special.” So I just sat still, speechless. He was right. Every temple built is special, not only because of its structure, intricacy, and grandiosity, but because of the culture rooted in it, the influence it brings, and the education offers. In facing their Buddha, they take off their shoes, they make sure they dress appropriately. They kneel and bow down and they don’t mind other people, they concentrate on their rituals and prayers. I guess that’s why we have so much respect for Buddhists too. Seeing how they worship made me reflect on my faith as well.
Philippine Churches are also tourist spots. I wonder what the foreigners think about our faith.