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The History Of Buddhist Moral Practices Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 5420 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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I conducted 50 interviews was representative of Thai Buddhist in Kedah, 25 were male and 15 were female and 10 monks, they ranged in age from 23 years old to 77 years old. They have been practicing and learning Buddhists for a long time every occasion, but as will be seen in the deepest understanding of Buddhism, which is based on the wisdom and practices of everyday life. Consistent with the needs of the individual.

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All interviewees are Thai Buddhist Theravada that have residences in Kedah, they are all from middle class backgrounds and most have some form of higher education, usually a university degree. They have varied careers from being students, retired people, people involved in businesses, polices, customs officer, teachers and ship abbot of the monastery in the area of Kedah Darul Aman.

Section 2 Refers to the questions or areas that were investigated in the interviews and explained a personal belief and practices of Buddhist in Kedah by experiences which I had during the process. The analysis of the interviews for this thesis needs to be conducted in the framework of basic Buddhist concepts, Buddhist moral practices, wisdom and compassion all including to sustainable development in practices. Conversion is not a simple process and needs to be examined in a holistic way. Actually Buddhism is the religion of the priest not related to the family. A deeper understanding of the main events, it is natural and difficult for householder.

5.2 Stage 1: Basic Buddhist concepts

Respondent 1.1: The first questions pertain to the context of the Buddhist principle. This is vitally important as conversion in the comprehension influences, both what is the core and belief that help direct the Buddhist Goal. Thus particular importance for this thesis is the religious background of the interviewees. The interviewees come is more complex than initially assumed and may be roughly divided.

The first category: Could be called the main teachings of the Buddha about twenty eight answers focused on the Buddha center on the Four Noble Truths just as the rim and spokes of a wheel center on the hub. They are called 'Four' because there are four of them. They are called 'Noble' because they ennoble one who understands them and they are called 'Truths' because, corresponding with reality, they are true. The Four Noble Truths are:

Dukkha - All worldly life is unsatisfactory, disjointed, containing suffering.

Samudaya - There is a cause of suffering, which is attachments or desire (Thanha) rooted in ignorance.

Nirodha - There is an end of suffering, which is Nibbana.

Magga - There is a path that leads out of suffering, knows as the Noble Eightfold Path.

The second sequence: Twelve answers involved the Five Buddhist Precepts as the main Buddhist Teaching Concept providing by:

No killing and respect for life

No stealing and respect for others' property

No sexual misconduct and respect for our pure nature

No lying and respect for honesty

No intoxicants path taker and respect for a clear mind

The third sequence: On the Karma law in term of "action" or "doing"; whatever one does, says, or thinks is a Karma. In Buddhism, the term karma is used specifically for those actions which spring from the intention of an unenlightened being. These bring about a fruit or result, either within the present life, or in the context of a future rebirth. Other Indian religions have different views on karma. Karma is the engine which drives the wheel of the cycle of uncontrolled rebirth for each being. In the early texts it is not, however, the only causal mechanism influencing the lives of sentient beings.

Respondent 1.2: The second questions explain the Buddha taught about the middle way (balances) between human and consumption; The Buddha gave his Noble Eightfold Path an alternative name, Majjhima Patipada, which means 'the Middle Way'. This is a very important name because it suggests to us that it is not enough to just follow the Path, but that we have to follow it in a particular way. People can become very rigid about religious rules and practices and end up becoming real fanatics. In Buddhism the rules have to be followed and the practice done in a balanced and reasonable way that avoids extremism and excess. The ancient Romans used to say 'Moderation in all things' and Buddhists would agree with this completely.

The first category: Explained all about forty answers focused on the Middle Path which means the Noble Eightfold path that the lord Buddha teaching us to use on intellect to determine and practice the rules in a balanced and seasonable way so as to avoid extremism and excess. We must practice in moderation way.

The second sequence: Explained all about minority an act of consumption is natural to all mortal creatures. It is an innate instinct of all living beings to stay alive. They are food, clothing, shelter, and medicine. Buddhism teaches us the manner in which to consume these elements. To a monks who has newly been initiated into the Sangha, the knowledge of such matter is fundamental to the learning to the learning and practicing of the Buddhist precepts. It teaches him to use his intellect to examine carefully the objects being consumed and their end results. He is trained to be vigilant over the five sensual organs. Once fully understood how these senses interact on the mind, he is made to learn have command over them so they do not veer from the desired path.

Respondent 1.3: Under appreciate the true nature of consumption one must constantly cultivate and develop the mind. The development falls into the following stages:

Physical development by (Dhana-bhavana): Dana means giving charity. There are two types of Dana, namely: Cetana Dana and Vatthu Dana.

The only category: Explained all answers focused on two Offerings of good robes, monasteries etc. are classified as Vatthu (material) Dana, while the goodwill and not to harmless in these charitable acts is called Cetana Dana (good volition). Indeed it is a noble Cetana (Volition) that produces beneficial results here and in the next existences, not the material things that are offered. This mental attitude which is projected onto the offertories determines the good results in future existences. If the offertories are good and noble, so also in the this Cetana.

Moral development by (Sila-bhavana): It is generally stated, "Morality is more virtuous than generosity." One might be easily convinced, yet there is a deep significance underlying the statement. To comprehend this requires serious reasoning. In this world, to protect and safeguard others from woe and suffering is a noble deed. To enhance the welfare and prosperity of others is also another noble deed. Dana helps others to be prosperous. Síla (Morality) protects others from woe and suffering.

The only category: Explained Sila -bhavana is the restrains practices that one undergo. It the effect is a un-removable self. This preferredness the virtue and this become a habit. If enable one to have a clear vision and thought that is in line with the middle path and moral development helps to protect other from suffering one helps others by doing good deeds to enhance welfare and properly for others.

Heart or emotion development/concentration (Citta-bhavana): Means development or cultivation of mind. It is a form of mano kamma (work of the mind) which purifies your mind. When you earnestly wish for the welfare of all beings and emanate loving-kindness on them, it is practice of Matta-bhavana (knidness). First you cultivate Mattha in your mind and then try it so that your whole self becomes suffused with Mattha.

The only category: Explained the cultivation of mind purifies our mind. Emotion of sympathy or compassion that linked within human, hoping to develop urge to eliminate others suffering. Actually between monks and lay Buddhists had difference idea by monk attitude that "The Buddha taught of three kind of wisdom. Suttamaya Panya, knowledge from what you heard, Cithtamaya panya, wisdom you're your formula, environment, surrounding and Bhavanamaya panya, wisdom you got from being from practising Buddhist or Vipassna meditation.

Respondent 1.4: The Notion of Non-Self According to the Dharma, the Law of Nature, the world is in state of flux and ever changing. It is composed of three major characteristics

Impermanence and transience (Aniccata): Everything is limited to a certain duration and, consequently, liable to disappear.

The summary extent: The notion of impermanence (Anicca) is less obvious. Nevertheless, it is also often described in religious and philosophical systems.

State of suffering or being oppressed (Dukkhata): Everything is unsatisfactory. There is nothing that can be relied upon, there is nothing that can bring true happiness.

The summary extent: The immersed into one moment of pleasure, each of us is aware that existence is filled with sufferings, worries, dissatisfactions of all kinds, and that these never stop. This characteristic (Dukkha) which is obvious, is described in all schools of thought, in all religious systems.

Soullessness or non-self (Anattata): Everything is deprived of a self. There is no self-inherent entity, nothing that can be controlled.

The summary extent: As to the characteristic of absence of a self (anatta), this is a completely new concept about which only Buddha talks. It is by far the subtlest and most essential point of all knowledge. It is the foundation of any understanding of the Dharma.

Respondent 1.5: The wanting and craving lead to physical suffering, the process of forbearance toward greed, craving and use the Dharma: A life time of wanting and craving for this and that and especially the craving to continue to exist creates a powerful energy that causes the individual to be reborn. When we are reborn, we have a body and as we said before, the body is susceptible to injury and disease; it can be exhausted by work; it ages and eventually dies. Thus, craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn. The Buddha says is that "when our desire, our craving, our constant discontent with what we have and our continual longing for more and more does cause us suffering, then we should stop doing it". He asked us to make a difference between what we need and what we want and to strive for our needs and modify our wants. He taught us that our needs can be fulfilled but that our wants are endless - a bottomless pit. There are needs that are essential, fundamental and that can be obtained and we should work towards this. Desires beyond this should be gradually lessened. After all, what is the purpose of life? To get or to be content and happy.

The summary extent from monks: The monk's attitude on craving for this and that and especially the craving to continue to exist create a powerful energy that causes the individual to be reborn. When we are reborn, we have a body and, as we said before, the body is susceptible to injury and disease; it can be exhausted by work; it ages and eventually dies. Thus, craving leads to physical suffering because it causes us to be reborn.

The summary extent from lay Buddhists: The lay Buddhist stated on practicing Dana to cut the stinginess, practice Sila to cut the unreasonable desire and practice, Bhavana to have a clear and mindful mind in order to differentiate what is right or wrong action, speech and thinking etc.

5.3 Stage 2: Buddhist Moral Practices

Respondent 2.1: Other religions derive their ideas of right and wrong from the commandments of their god or gods. Buddhists don't believe in a god, Buddhist know what is right and wrong from wisdom by controlling speech or actions that are rooted in greed, hatred and delusion and thus lead us away from Nirvana are bad and any thoughts, speech or actions that are rooted in giving, love and wisdom and thus help clear the way to Nirvana are good. To know what is right and wrong in god-centered religions, all that is needed is to do as you are told. In a human-centered religion like Buddhism, to know what is right and wrong, you have to develop a deep self-awareness and self- understanding. Ethics based on understanding are always stronger than those that are a response to a command. So to know what is right and wrong, the Buddhist looks at three things: the intention (Cetana) behind the act, the effect the act will have upon oneself and the effect it will have upon others. If the intention is good (rooted in generosity, love and wisdom), if it helps myself (helps me to be more giving, more loving and wiser) and help others (helps them to be more giving, more loving and wiser), then my deeds and actions are wholesome, good and moral.

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The first category from lay Buddhist: Explained all about Buddhism is not a moral, intellectual decision, but a decision they made intuitively with our body and mind. So what we do depends not only on our mind but also on our body. This is quite clear if we think, for instance, if we feel ill or we have a headache, we find it difficult to act. For example if we're very angry, we may act in a very unbalanced way. Or if we're very much in love, we may act in an unbalanced way. So not only our mind, but our body as well. So, if we want to do right, we need to look after our physical state, not only our mental state. we can get a balanced state. In the balanced state we cannot do wrong.' That's very difficult to believe, but that's what in our mind we can always separate right and wrong from motivation.

The second category from monks: All monks don't believe in this way same lay Buddhist belief, because they believe in man. They believe that each human being is precious and important, that all have the potential to develop into a Buddha a perfected human being. They believe that human beings can outgrow ignorance and irrationality and see things as they really are. They believe that hatred, anger, spite and jealousy can be replaced by love, patience, generosity and kindness. Also they believe that all this is within the grasp of each person if they make the effort, guided and supported by fellow Buddhists and inspired by the example of the Buddha.

Respondent 2.2: Does Buddhism have a code of morality? Yes, it does. The Five Precepts are the basis of Buddhist morality. The First Precept is to avoid killing or harming living beings, the second is to avoid stealing, the third is to avoid sexual misconduct, the fourth is to avoid lying, and the fifth is to avoid alcohol and other intoxicating drugs.

The first category from lay Buddhist: Lay Buddhists accepted that Yes it does. The five precepts are the basis of Buddhist morality.

1.The first precept is to avoid killing or harming living beings.

2.The second is to avoid stealing.

3.The third is to avoid sexual misconduct.

4.The fourth is to avoid lying and

5.The fifth is to avoid alcohol and other intoxicating drugs.

The second category from monks: Actually all monks accepted in this subject, so they explained that "yes the objective is to be non-harmful in oneself, when one put it into practices. This in turn leads to a character that is non- harmful to all lives with coves and effort. Buddhism contains an excellent moral code, including one for the Sangha and another for the laity, and its moral teaching excels beyond other ethical systems. The base of Buddhism is morality, and wisdom is its apex. Of the Four Noble Truths that form the foundation of Buddhism, the fourth (the Noble Eightfold Path) forms the basis of Buddhist ethics. The common basic moral principle of conduct which sets guidelines for daily life for all Buddhists are the Five Precepts. They are no killing, no stealing, no sexual misconduct, no dishonesty, and no intoxicants. Through the Five Precepts, people are more conscious of their behaviour. If everyone can live by upholding them, all will live in harmony and enjoy a peaceful life..

Respondent 2.3: Buddhist Five Precepts be liberating when one is forbidden to do certain things after taking the precepts, the Buddhist Five Precepts form a framework which allows us to take care of ourselves, as well as the society. It prevents us from creating problems for ourselves and others, and guides us in doing what is beneficial. It provides a path through which we learn to live in harmony, with honesty, strength and dignity, which will then bring happiness to ourselves and others, and ultimately lead us to liberation.

The first category from lay Buddhist: all Lay Buddhists stated on ourselves do not wish to be killed or harmed and take-care of ourselves, we must realize that all other beings also do not wish to be killed or harmed. Likewise as we do not wish to be victims of theft, adultery, lies and slander, we ourselves should avoid doing such acts to others. The Buddha also strongly advocates avoiding intoxicants and drugs. This is because once you have come under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, you are capable of committing any acts that you would not have done otherwise. Should you break the Precepts, the Buddhist way is to be fully aware that you have done so, try your best to make amends, and then resolve to try harder from then on. Morality is the foundation which everything else rests upon. It thus might be a good idea to memorize the Five Precepts so that you can be mindful of them at all times. And once the observing of the Five Precepts becomes an instinctive part of your behaviour, developing its positive aspects will come easily and naturally:

The practice of Harmlessness and Compassion.

The practice of Kindness and Generosity

The practice of Faithfulness and Responsibility

The practice of Truthfulness and Pleasant Speech

The practice of Self-control and Mindfulness.

The second category from monks: Monks believe in Buddhist process (Kamma) is an every path of perfecting we begin with reached the bank it is reasonable to do, Since all action has got Kamma effect (low of nature) One way to help us avoid evil and uphold our precepts is to guard our sensual doors and be mindful. Our six sense organs of eye, ear, nose, tongue, body (tactile base) and mind, cognize the six sense objects form, sound, smell, taste, touch and thoughts. On cognizing any sense object, a feeling is automatically generated. Up to this point we do not have control, but beyond this, how we react is entirely up to us. Here is where Kamma (intentional action) is generated because our will comes into play. Thus we have to be mindful so that we create good rather than evil Kamma for which we will regret later. For example, someone speaks some unpleasant words to us and immediately an unpleasant feeling arises. If we are mindful, we are aware that an angry feeling can lead to something harmful. So we either immediately abandon our anger, or if unable to, walk away. Vision is another sense door that easily leads to evil Kamma, e.g. the sight of a pretty girl can fan the flames of desire in a married man. If he is mindful he will remember his responsibilities and refrain from doing something which he may regret later. Thus, we should constantly be mindful of our feelings, and not get carried away.

Respondent 2.4: when Buddhist violate a precept the process to renew the good deeds are the fearless of violation is so great that they dare not take the precepts. Some think that they will take the precepts only when there is no possibility of violating them. The reality is that we may break the precepts. No one is perfect when he/she just begins to observe the precepts and even after some time of upholding the precepts, faults may occur. In fact, it is because we cannot keep the precepts perfectly that we need to take and keep them. They are a tool for us to develop our mindfulness and to prevent us from doing unwholesome actions. Hence, the precepts should be understood as a tool to train ourselves.

The first category from lay Buddhist: all Lay Buddhists believe that the precepts are not commandments, but are rules that Buddhists force upon themselves to observe. They are observed not because of fear of punishment but because we realize that such actions harm others as well as ourselves. For example, as we ourselves do not wish to be liked or harmed, we realize that all other beings also don't wish to killed or harm. Likewise as we do not wish to be victims of theft, adultery, lies and slander, we ourselves should avoid doing such acts to others. The Buddha also strongly advocated avoiding in toxicants and drugs. This is because once you have come under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs, you are capable of committing any acts that you would not have done otherwise. Should you break the precepts, the Buddhist way is to be fully aware that you have done. So, try your best to make amends, and then resolve to try harder from then on. Morality is the foundation which everything else rests upon. It thus might be a good idea to memorize the Five precepts so that you can be mindful of them at all times.

The second category from monks: In sensual of stated on Theravada Buddhists say that a violation of the first precepts involves five factors. It is important to understand that the violation of the precept arises in the mind, with the recognition of a living being and the willful thought of killing that being. Also, ordering someone else to do the actual killing does not mitigate responsibility for it. Further, a killing that is premeditated is a graver offense than a killing that is impulsive, such as in self-defense.

5.4 Stage 3: Wisdom and Compassion

Respondent 3.1: Some religions believe that compassion or love (the two are very similar) is the most important spiritual quality but they fail to give any attention to wisdom. The result is that you can end up being a good-hearted fool, a very kind person but with little or no understanding. Other systems of thought, like science, believe that wisdom can best be developed when all emotions, including compassion, are kept out of the way. The outcome of this is that science has tended to become preoccupied with results and has forgotten that science is to serve humans, not to control and dominate them. How, otherwise, could scientists have lent their skills to develop the nuclear bomb, germ warfare and the like? Buddhism teaches that to be a truly balanced and complete individual, you must develop both wisdom and compassion.

The first category from lay Buddhist: All lay Buddhists explained about Compassion or Love means you have a good heart, you are kind and helpful to your fellow being you respect all kind of lives you are mindful in your actions and speech. When wisdom awakens within you, you will see the truths, you will see things with each insight and understand for yourself. On the other hand Wisdom is the nature that knows reason and cause according to truth knowledge, right opinion and stay true to our self are pent of wisdom, compassion is love that is not contaminated it only has good will & sincerity to others thing.

The second category from monks: From monks very deepest realized in this case they explained that "Wisdom and compassion are inextricably linked. They are two sides of the same coin. They are a unit. Separating them is an artificial, intellectual act. When compassion is taken out of the equation, wisdom turns into worthless platitudes, which easily become destructive. Without compassion, wisdom degenerates into an escapist entanglement in concepts, theories and dogmas. Wisdom is more than just cleverness plus compassion. It differs in quality to a point where it may seem to have little to do with cleverness. Sometimes, the actions of wise people seem to go against common sense. In fact, wise people often act in ways which are considered foolish by clever people".

Respondent 3.2: According to Buddhism, is wisdom? The highest wisdom is seeing that in reality all phenomena are incomplete, impermanent, and not self. This understanding is totally freeing and leads to the great security and happiness which is called Nirvana.

The first category from lay Buddhist: Lay Buddhist stated the contentment on true wisdom is to directly see and understand for ourselves. At this level then, wisdom is to keep an open mind rather than being closed-minded; listening to other points of view rather than being bigoted; to carefully examine facts that contradict our beliefs, rather than burying our heads in the sand; to be objective rather than prejudiced; and to take time about forming opinions and beliefs rather than just accepting the first or most emotional thing that is offered to us. To always be ready to change our beliefs when facts that contradict them are presented to us, that is wisdom. A person who does this is certainly wise and is certain eventually to arrive at true understanding. The path of just believing what you are told is easy. The Buddhist path requires courage, patience, flexibility and intelligence.

The second category from monks: Monks look at all the model of the world in our heads. Whether we are aware of it or not, we have a set of ideas, concepts, images, analogies and metaphors that we use to make sense of the world and guide our actions. Our beliefs and ideas about the nature of reality have a major effect on the way we feel, and on the way we live our life. Our beliefs can liberate us, or they can keep us stuck, and even trap us in downward spirals of negativity. So we need to look at our beliefs and ideas about the world if we want to make spiritual progress, or even if we just want to live an emotionally healthy and productive life. For this reason examining and refining the way we think about the world is an important part of Buddhist practice - just as important as practicing ethics or meditation. Refining our ideas about reality is an important aspect of the third part of the threefold path - wisdom - and it is this that we will be focusing on in this part of the course.

Respondent 3.3: The point of Buddhism, if only a few can practice it? It is true that not everyone is ready for the truths of Buddhism yet. But if someone were not able to understand the teachings of the Buddha at present then they may be mature enough in the next life. However, there are many who, with just the right words or encouragement, are able to increase their understanding. And it is for this reason that Buddhists gently and quietly strive to share the insights of Buddhism with others. The Buddha taught us out of compassion and we should teach others out of compassion too.

The first category from lay Buddhist: To acceptance this way lay Buddhist explained that "It is true that not everyone is ready for Buddhism yet. But to say that therefore we should teach a religion that is false but easily understandable just so that everyone can practice it is ridiculous. Buddhism aims at the truth and if not everyone has the capacity to understand it yet, they perhaps will be ready for it in their next life. However, there are many who, with just the right words or encouragement, are able to increase their understanding. And it is for this reason that Buddhists gently and quietly strive to share the insights of Buddhism with others. The Buddha taught us out of compassion and we teach others out of compassion".

The second category from monks: In same way monks stated that "The Point of Buddhism is that we are responsible for achieving our own. Awakening and for freeing ourselves from suffering. Of course, we can help each other through guidance and kindness, but the ultimate responsibility lies with each person to free her or himself".

5.5 Stage 4: Sustainable Development in Practices (of Thai Buddhist in Kedah)

Respondent 4.1: The Buddha said about peace, justice, and freedom - is important to practices especially in the context of our much plagued modern world. The Concepts of peace is central to Buddhism. Especially, the Buddha is called the "Santiraja" 'king of peace. Leading a Buddhist way of life, is to maintain harmonious, untroubled good life, which consists of "Samacariya", which literally means, a harmonious life or a peaceful way of living with one's fellow beings. It is this doctrine, which gives 'inward peace' that allows externally to lead a harmonious or a righteous living' (Dhammacariya). This is what the Buddha, for the first time in human history, made known to the entire world, when he set up the 'kingdom of righteousness'(Dhamma cakkam) literally the rule of righteousness. The Buddha, with great compassion for the world, required his followers to practice the four boundless states (Appamanna) of loving kindness (Metta), of compassion (Karuna), of sympathetic joy (Mudita), and of equanimity (Upekkha). This practice of 'Metta' or universal love, begins by suffusing ones own mind with universal love (Metta) and then pervading it to one's family, then to the neighbors,then to the village, country and the four corners of the Universe.

The first category from lay Buddhist: Buddhism in Kedah as the other Buddhism believing, Only that the kedah's Buddhism's communities Socials are "muhibah" style and not separating and deviding from others religions, they all able to followed the others religions living style and think that others all relatives, because all human being are same and no any religions teaching to follow the bad ways, all religions to guide human being to do the good think. Practicing Buddhists do not worry about changing circumstances which are yet to come. They maintain awareness of their mental state here and now. It is by being mindful of our present mental state and thoughts as they arise that we really come "alive during those moments, otherwise, we are still dreaming of and living in the past or future. The future will look after itself if the present is well-lived. The strong emphasis on awareness and living in the present is also linked to reaping the results of our deed here and now in this very life. In Buddhism, we do not have to wait for our next life to experience good results. It is, therefore, not some kind of an escapist asceticism, but a down -to-earth realism.

The second category from monks: In the Malaysia Peninsula, as in India, Buddhism gradually lost its hold during the first half of the 2nd millennium AD. In many areas Buddhism was assimilated to Hinduism, forming a Hindu-oriented amalgam that in some places (for example in Baling and Alor Star) has persisted to the present. In most of Malaysia (and Indonesia), however, both Hinduism and Buddhism were share a lives with Islam, which remains the dominant religion in the area. Today, about 19% of the Malaysian population claim themselves to be Buddhists. A large denomination of the local Buddhists are however, of Chinese descent, followed by the Sinhalese, Thais and Burmese. There is not one tradition which can be said to be dominant, although the Mahayana school claims to have the largest following. This is followed by the Theravada and Vajrayana. Buddhists tend to be located in the main urban centres some place and villages, with the main concentration largely in Kedah. In the states of the northern regions bordering Thailand, Siamese influenced Wat Thai was the landscape.

An unique feature about Buddhism in Kedah is that the various schools tend to be aligned to a spoken language. Mahayana adherents tend to be Chinese speaking, while those in the Theravada tradition are mainly in Thai educated. Another interesting endemic development is that much of the Buddhist activities are organized and carried out by lay people. As there are only about 1,000 officially recognised monks and nuns in the whole country, the lay followers - many of whom are from the younger generation - have lacking the init


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