Monks lose relevance as Thailand grows richer

Thomas Fuller, New York Times: The monks of this northern Thai village no longer perform one of the defining rituals of Buddhism, the early-morning walk through the community to collect food. Instead, the temple’s abbot dials a local restaurant and has takeout delivered.

“Most of the time, I stay inside,” said the abbot, Phra Nipan Marawichayo, who is one of only two monks living in what was once a thriving temple. “Values have changed with time.”

The gilded roofs of Buddhist temples are as much a part of Thailand’s landscape as rice paddies and palm trees. The temples were once the heart of …

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