Culture, at its core, is a set of beliefs, practices, rituals, and traditions shared by a group of individuals with at least one common identity, be it ethnicity, race, religion, or nationality. Culture is a conscious choice rather than an intuitive decision; even though the critical cultural determinants are known to us, it is hard to answer the question about who or what determines a culture. Is it we who decide what our culture should be? Or is it our culture that defines who we should be? Why do specific people adhere to a particular culture, or to what extent does the culture determine their actions? These are essential questions posed in front of anyone who tries to investigate the roots of a culture.
Culture can have different connotative and denotative meanings, no matter which one you prefer, there is one thing that is common in all, and that is us, the people. As humans, we tend to promote and propagate ideas that align with our thought processes. Culture, in this way, transcends the borders and resides within the hearts of men and women influenced by it, who later play a pivotal role in its propagation.
One example of such cultural amalgamation is the Indo-Thai culture, and both nations have been influencing each other for centuries. The cultural cross-pollination has made it possible for Indian temples to exist in Thailand and Thai monasteries that you can visit in India.
Buddhism is inevitably connected to Indo-Thai relations and is indispensable to both cultures. In 1957, Buddhist monks collaborated with the Indian and Thai Governments to establish the Thai temples and monasteries in Gaya to spread Buddhism among the masses. The Thai Buddhist temple and monastery in Gaya are among the many such monuments of religious significance and are famous for their exquisite cultural experience. Gaya, one of the Indian holy cities, professes Buddhist ideology and culture with all its purity.
Gaya is a holy city situated on the bank of the Falgu River in the northeast Indian state of Bihar. People from around the world visit this holy city for its enriching religious and cultural experience. This monastery is a fine example of Thai architecture and displays myriad colours representing the unique Thai –culture. The residing monks play a pivotal role in spreading Lord Buddha’s ideologies. The temple boasts an enormous bronze structure, and the walls adorn magnificent paintings of Buddha. Every year people participate in a silent retreat organized by the monastery, where people practice meditation and yoga in complete silence.
So next time you plan to go on a spiritual journey, visit this beautiful Thai- temple and monastery in Gaya. It is an idyllic place for those seeking inner peace and enlightenment.
Buddhism Pick Courtesy: AzaToth Assumed, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons