MORAL ETHOS AND WISDOM ON THE DUTY OF BUDDHIST PRECEPTORS IN THE LOWER NORTHEAST OF THAILAND
The purposes of this study are to: 1) study the background of preceptors in the lower northeastern region of Thailand; 2) study the current problems and conditions of preceptors in the lower northeastern region of Thailand and 3) study the moral ethos and wisdom on the duties of Buddhist preceptors in the lower northeastern region of Thailand. Data were collected from documents and field study. The study area covered three provinces: Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram and Surin. A sample group consisted of 102 individuals. It was found that preceptors, or Buddhist instructors, usually act upon their duties to take ordination, take care of co-residents, issue Monk ID Cards, assist the public in matters of social discipline and participate in the Sangha Association. It was found that current problems with ordinations are due to time restrictions. Only some candidates ordain following the customs, which reduces the level of dedication towards real practice. This in turn causes problems with preparation for ordination ceremonies and commitment to post-ordination duties. In some locations, these problems are caused by instruction that is inconsistent with the actual discipline practiced by Buddhist monks. This is largely due to the overburdening of some preceptors, who hold official roles and cannot take care of all co-residents in addition to their official duties. This investigation found that preceptors instructed following Buddhist principles. The roles of preceptors include guidance, leading of chant practice, instructing the candidate in the etiquette of ordination, and preparing new monks for the qualification test. During the ordination, the role of preceptors is to warn and punish the new monk properly, teach proper manners and provide study material and activities in subjects including Dhamma and Pali language. Moreover, preceptors should assist the public and give advice to other Buddhists.
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