View More View Less
  • 1 Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Economics Bangkok Thailand
Restricted access

This paper provides an overview of the Asoke People, the nature of their practices of Dhamma , and a detailed analysis with a case of the Sisa Asoke Community in Srisaket Province, Northeastern Thailand. It argues that in recent times as modern Thai society has become increasingly differentiated, the Asoke People have started to develop the community culture on the basis of an innovative interpretation of Dhamma. Attention is focused in particular on the practices of Precept or “ Sila ”, which led to the emergence of a new religious movement aiming at a reformation of traditional religious values. The Asoke group has established the “anti-mainstream communities”, here mean to reject the materialistic consumerism of Thai society generally and is thus a critique of modernity, all over the country. “Be diligent, take initiative, dare to be poor, and endure sarcasm” is a motto, which reveals the Puritan pride and reformist objectives of the Asoke and its communities. Importantly, this new Buddhist social movement also engenders a challenge to alternative development paradigm. The Asoke group like NGOs seeks an alternative paradigm for development by focusing on self-reliance, in contradiction to the capitalist or industrialised path. However, unlike other self-reliance movements, the Asoke group’s entry point is religion rather than economics. This, the author suggests, is helping to reshape and redefine conventional religious practices of Nirvana . In this regard, giving (or Dana ) is an important means of everyday practice of accumulating merit (Bun) in order to attain Nirvana at the end. This is the most crucial nostalgia of Thai Buddhists.

  • Apinya, F. (1993): Buddhist Reform Movements in Contemporary Thai Urban Context: Thammakai and Santi Asok . Bielefeld: Universität Bielefeld.

    Apinya F. , '', in Buddhist Reform Movements in Contemporary Thai Urban Context: Thammakai and Santi Asok , (1993 ) -.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Autcharee, Th. (1999): Pattern of Natural farming for Self-Reliance of Santi Asoke Group: A Case of Si Sa Asoke Community, Kantharalak District, Si Sa Ket Province . Thesis for the Degree of Master of Science (Agriculture), Chiangmai University (in Thai).

  • Bodhiraksa (1983): Theory of “Ariya Profit” . Bangkok: Dharma Santi Foundation Printing (in Thai).

    '', in Theory of “Ariya Profit” , (1983 ) -.

  • Buddhadasa, Bhikku (1986): Dhammic Socialism . Bangkok: Komolkeemthong Foundation Printing (in Thai).

    Buddhadasa B. , '', in Dhammic Socialism , (1986 ) -.

  • Foucault, M. (1986): Of Other Spaces. Diacritics , 16(1): 22–27.

    Foucault M. , 'Of Other Spaces ' (1986 ) 16 Diacritics : 22 -27.

  • Heikkila-Horn, M.-L. (1998): Buddhism with Open Eyes: Belief and Practice of Santi Asoke . Bangkok: Fah Apai.

    Heikkila-Horn M.-L. , '', in Buddhism with Open Eyes: Belief and Practice of Santi Asoke , (1998 ) -.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Kanoksak, K. (2006): From Dhammic Socialism to Buddhist Utopia: A Note. In: Bhiddaya Wongkul (ed.): Buddhadasa-Buddha Dham . Bangkok: Saitharn Publication, 155–177 (in Thai).

    Kanoksak K. , '', in Buddhadasa-Buddha Dham , (2006 ) -.

  • Kanoksak, K. (2007): The Economics of “Meritism”. In: Kanoksak, K. (ed.): The Economics of Dhammikkaraja . Bangkok: Faculty of Economics, Chulalongkorn University, 38–73 (in Thai).

    Kanoksak K. , '', in The Economics of Dhammikkaraja , (2007 ) -.

  • Kanoksak, K. (2008): An “Imagining” Community: A Case of Sisa Asoke Community, Srisaket Province”. In: Shigeharu Tanabe (ed.): Imagining Communities in Thailand: Ethnographic Approaches . Chiangmai: Silkworm Books (forthcoming).

    Kanoksak K. , '', in Imagining Communities in Thailand: Ethnographic Approaches , (2008 ) -.

  • Kittikorn, S. (2000): The Development of Self-Reliance Community: A Case Study of Sisa Asoke Community . Thesis for the Degree of Master of Economics, Chulalongkorn University (in Thai).

  • Kolm, S.-C. (2000): Introduction: The Economics of Reciprocity, Giving and Altruism. In: Kolm, S.-C. — Gerard-Varet, L.-A. — Mercier Ythier, J. (eds): The Economics of Reciprocity, Giving and Altruism . London: McMillan Press, 1–46.

    Kolm S.-C. , '', in The Economics of Reciprocity, Giving and Altruism , (2000 ) -.

  • Magnuson, J. C. (2007): Mindful Economics: Understanding American Capitalism, Its Consequences and Alternatives . Portland: Pilot Light Books.

    Magnuson J. C. , '', in Mindful Economics: Understanding American Capitalism, Its Consequences and Alternatives , (2007 ) -.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • The Network of Natural Farming of Thailand (2003): Saccadham jivit (Truth of Life) Project . Bangkok: Fah Apai (in Thai).

    '', in Saccadham jivit (Truth of Life) Project , (2003 ) -.

  • Phra Pracha, P. (ed.) (1983): The Merit of Monks and Rural Faith . Bangkok: Thai Inter-Religious Commission for Development (in Thai).

    '', in The Merit of Monks and Rural Faith , (1983 ) -.

  • Phra Rajvoramuni (P. A. Payutto) (1985): Dictionary of Buddhism . 4th ed. Bangkok: Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya.

    Rajvoramuni P. , '', in Dictionary of Buddhism , (1985 ) -.

  • Rindhamma, A. (1998): A Development of the Non-Formal Education Model for Organizing Self-Reliance Based on Asoke’s Concept . http://www.worldedreform.com/intercon2/rindhamma/

  • Schumacher, E. F. (1989): Buddhist Economics. In: Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered . New York: Harper Perennial, 56–66 (first printing in 1973).

    Schumacher E. F. , '', in Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered , (1989 ) -.

  • Sulak Sivaraksa (1990): “Building Trust through Economic and Social Development and Ecological Balance: A Buddhist Perspective”. In: Radical Conservatism: Buddhism in the Contemporary World: Articles in Honour of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa’s 84th Birthday Anniversary . Bangkok: Thai Inter-Religious Commission for Development and International Network of Engaged Buddhists, 179–198.

    Sivaraksa S. , '', in Radical Conservatism: Buddhism in the Contemporary World: Articles in Honour of Bhikkhu Buddhadasa’s 84th Birthday Anniversary , (1990 ) -.

    • Search Google Scholar
  • Tanabe, Sh. (2008): “Imagined and Imagining Communities in South East Asia: An Introduction”. In: Tanabe, Sh. (ed.): Imagining Communities in Thailand: Ethnographic Approaches . Chiangmai: Silkworm Books (forthcoming).

    Tanabe Sh. , '', in Imagining Communities in Thailand: Ethnographic Approaches , (2008 ) -.