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Thailand has been a Buddhist country for over 700 years.

To the best of my memory, I haven't been through any religious ritual or ceremony to become a Buddhist. Generally, Thai children learn and absorb Buddhist teachings simply by observing their parents and people around them.

Most Thai children are familiar with offering food to Buddhist monks in the mornings, especially on their birthday. It teaches them about kindness and giving.

Another Buddhist practice that children learn at an early age is doing bedtime chant.

Bedtime Chant

The most common Buddhist practice in Thai families is chanting before going to bed. The chant that most parents teach their children is one that honors the Buddha. The chant begins with the following Pali words, “Namotasa bagavato...”

This is the most basic chant that honors the Buddha and his teachings. It also works as a reminder for Buddhists to do good and to refrain from evil.

I learned this bedtime chant from my parents when I was a child. Before I went to sleep, I would sit on the bed with my palms together, in front of the chest. Then, I would chant.

Some Buddhists have a separate prayer room where they do the chanting.

Buddhist Teachings For Children

Growing up with Buddhist parents has made me who I am today. I learned the basic Buddhist teachings that my parents applied in their daily lives.

Gratitude is one of the most important Buddhist teachings that children learn from an early age.


In Thai society, parents and teachers are highly respected. Not only did our parents give us life, they also spent a lot of time raising us.

The teachers work hand-in-hand with the parents. They help the parents teach knowledge and skills so that one day the children can take care of themselves and their families.

Thais also consider Buddhist monks as teachers, because they pass on the Buddha's teachings. So, we're taught to be grateful to our parents, teachers and monks.
Buddhist child is greeting his teacher in Thailand

A greeting gesture called wai is a way that children show gratitude to their parents and teachers.

As Buddhist children, we're encouraged to be grateful and to return favors whenever possible. One way of doing that is by being attentive and to do your best in school.

In addition, Buddhist children are taught to be helpful. When I was young, I always helped my mother with the cooking and other house chores.

The most beautiful thing you can do for your parents is to take care of them when they're not well or when they're too old to care for themselves.

Gratitude is so important in Buddhist culture that there are special days when we formally express our gratitude to our parents and teachers. These days include Father's day, Mother's day and Teacher's day.

Thai children even learn to be grateful to natural resources such as water. Loy kratong festival is an occasion where Thais show their gratitude to the Goddess of water.

This is how Thai children are introduced to Buddhism. Many thanks to Anuban Prachuap Khiri Khan School for letting me take the photo.

Suggested Reading:   Buddhist Alms Giving   Buddhist Temples

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