Bangkok and Thailand is filled with many temples, including some mosques and churches. It’s a religious and multi-religious society with a connected spirituality. Initially, I couldn’t put my finger on it; but I couldn’t find words to explain why I felt the people of Thailand and S.E. Asia were “nice”. “Nice” doesn’t accurately describe the people’s calm, kind and compassionate demeanor. After some reflection, I think I’ve got it. Their culture has been influenced through their Buddhist religion and spirituality that teaches and espouses values of kindness and compassion.
Notice this public map at the Skytrain station in a very busy district of Bangkok. Thousands of people pass by it everyday to seek direction. It says: “Eat, Pray, Shop.” The surprising thing is “Pray” is highlighted and “Eat” and “Shop” are grayed out. No need to hide their spirituality, but rather, it emphasizes it. I really like that. They are openly spiritual people and recognize the need to “Pray”. That’s something we can learn from.
Yes, here in the west we may be multicultural but it doesn’t mean we have to hide our spiritual or religious differences by wiping them away. To wipe away and hide our religious and spiritual heritages is to deplete ourselves of a blessing that it has nourished and enriched western society. I “pray” that we don’t do that and destroy God’s blessings that the Holy Spirit through Christ’s teachings have provided us (e.g.,, things like kindness, love and compassion and the fruits of the Spirit). The Apostle Paul reminded the Church in the Epistles to the Galatians 5:22-23 (Holy Bible) of these things I hope we continue to practice:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”