Asoke Buddhist Education in Thailand


This paper looks into the Buddhist community-based education in the Asoke Buddhist villages in Thailand. The Asoke Buddhist movement has been running its own schools for the last thirty years. Thousands of young people have been trained in these samma sikkha schools. Many of the young people subsequently stay in the Asoke groups and may send their own children to the Asoke schools as well. Santi Asoke and the Asoke movement in general has been controversial since its emergence because of its harsh criticism of capitalism, consumerism and corruption in the mainstream Buddhist practices. Asoke movement administers several autonomous self-reliant villages in rural Thailand where it practices sustainable organic agriculture, sells vegetables, herbal shampoos and medicine in its own shops and has opened primary and secondary schools. The Asoke movement promotes E.F. Schumacher's ideas about 'Buddhist Economics', which often are translated into 'sufficiency economy' but are better known as bunniyom in the Asoke group. Bunniyom refers to the spiritual merit (bun) that can be earned by producing and selling commodities on a fair price rather than on profit. Hence Asoke bunniyom goes against the traditional capitalism thunniyom. These values of justice and ethics are inculcated to the Asoke students in the samma sikkha schools.

Author Information
Marja-Leena Heikkila-Horn, Mahidol University International College, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: ACERP2016

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon