Buddhism is the most common religion in the area of Thailand where we live. Temples abound and small shrine house adorn each home. Taxi drivers have little shrines in the vehicles. Down the road from me is a beautiful golden Buddha at the Ban Nam Khem Tsunami Memorial.
Today I am visiting Khao Lak, a tourist area that is beautiful and filled with gorgeous jungle and amazing beaches.
I was surprised to see while visiting Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park to see a sign asking for western tourists to respect Buddhism and especially figures of Buddha. They requested that people take off their shoes and wear proper fully covered clothing (no tank tops or short skirts dresses or shorts above the knees) when visiting temples, that images of Buddha are used for praying and are placed waist high or above, to bow or wai out of respect. These all seem quite reasonable and well known to me, but I was shocked by another request: to not take home decorations or Buddha. I know lots of people back home who have pictures or statues of Buddha and had no ideas Buddhists saw this as disrespectful. So, I thought a blog was in order to spread the word.
Please be culturally sensitive and don’t support tourist shops that sell Buddha heads and don’t display Buddha as decoration.