Connect with us


Phuket Opinion: Spending a lifetime teaching simplicity

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Phra Visutthi Thamma-kanee, 64, is the head of Phuket’s monks and the abbot of Tah Rua Temple in Thalang. He has been in the monkhood since he was 17 years old. He took up the position of acting head of the island’s monks in 2006 and has been their leader since 2008.

Here, he talks about what men can gain from becoming monks during Khao Pansa, the three-month ordination period currently taking place.

PHUKET: I never thought I’d become a monk. My plan was to be ordained for two months to make merit for my parents. But I enjoyed learning and had the chance to study theology in depth. My master asked me to stay on for one more year, so I did. I had a lot to learn. Time passed, and I became a master myself, and then they said, “Why don’t you stay and teach with us? There are plenty of lay teachers out there. We need you here.” So I stayed, and taught monks, and this is what I’ll do for the rest of my life.

Khao Pansa is an opportunity for men to be ordained and study Buddhist principles. We Thai believe that becoming a monk is a chance to pay back our parents for everything they’ve done for us by making merit for them.

Nowadays, men have other obligations, like studying and working, so many of them prefer to be ordained for a shorter time, maybe 10-15 days. Each person has to choose the time that’s right for them, but it’s best if they can come for three months because it allows more time to learn and practice.

Monks live a simple life. We use three pieces of cloth to cover ourselves and protect us against heat, cold, nakedness and bugs.

We shave our heads and eyebrows so we won’t be concerned about how we look, and to make it easy to take care of ourselves. That doesn’t mean we let ourselves go – we just focus on being clean and neat.
Monks wake up early to be ready for morning prayers at 4 o’clock. I get up even earlier, at 2am, to pray by myself.

At 6am we go out to collect food offerings, and after that we come back to the temple to eat, pray, study, meditate and clean the grounds. We don’t eat after lunchtime, and at 5pm we pray again.

New monks need to adjust to doing things that they don’t normally do, like praying, eating less often and doing things on a schedule, but most get used to it quickly and don’t have a problem adapting. They wanted to come here and do these things, after all.

However, just like in any society, there are good and bad people in the monk community. Some novitiates are forced to come here by their parents. For some, our lifestyle is uncomfortable.

We don’t have big punishments for those who don’t follow our instructions. It’s up to them if they want to follow good or bad. We can’t force them. We just give them a warning and send them off after three months.

The way we see it, people are animals that can be trained. While the novitiates are with us, we try to help them develop themselves. Then, when they go back to their lives, they can use what they’ve learned to benefit themselves, their families and the country.

We teach physical, moral, emotional and intellectual development.

Physically, we must take care of ourselves. We use our bodies every day, all our lives. The healthier we are, the better.

Our moral lesson is: don’t make trouble for others or for yourself. If we all do this, we can make the world a more peaceful place.

As for emotions, we advise against extremes, both good and bad. They can be harmful to your well-being. If you can control your feelings and keep them in the middle, you will be carefree.

Intellectual development means knowing three things: what good is, what bad is and knowing how to avoid bad and do good.

If everyone practiced doing these four things, we’d live in a better world.


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Krabi13 hours ago

Krabi tourism businesses not thrilled about Thailand’s reopening

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Thammasat University negotiates multiple deals for vaccines

Bangkok15 hours ago

Bangkok prepares swab hubs, rules easing for city reopening

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Bangkok16 hours ago

Rescue workers cut stuck PVC pipe from man’s genitals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)17 hours ago

Covid-19 Saturday Update: 10,648 cases, 82 deaths, provincial data

Thailand19 hours ago

Nearly 70,000 foreigners register for vaccines on expatvac site

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok20 hours ago

Worker rescued from outside 26th floor after alleged rope cut

Tourism21 hours ago

38 countries reportedly on short list for no-quarantine reopening

Tourism21 hours ago

Tourism operators: Russians and others need clear entry rules

World22 hours ago

Australian suspected gas leak is actually familiar smell for Thais

Bangkok23 hours ago

Soi Dog Foundation provides food relief for animals in flood-hit central Thailand

Hot News1 day ago

Thai Twitter goes crazy as Russell Crowe tweets Sandbox visit

Crime2 days ago

Transgender woman arrested for selling live sex show on LINE

Crime2 days ago

Thai woman charged with trafficking women to Bahrain for sex

Thailand News Today2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Arrival quarantine waived for 5 countries, The new Thailand pass | Oct. 15

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11