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Why Some Thai Criminals Become Monks After Committing Crimes in Thailand



Why Some Thai Criminals Become Monks After Committing Crimes in Thailand

(CTN News) – In Thailand, a unique phenomenon exists where individuals who have committed crimes turn to monastic life to seek redemption and transform their lives.

This practice has drawn both intrigue and curiosity from around the world. In this article, we will explore why some people in Thailand become monks after committing crimes, delving into the underlying reasons, cultural influences, and the role of monastic rehabilitation centers in this process.

Understanding Buddhism in Thailand


Buddhism holds significant importance in Thai society, shaping the lives and values of its people. With most of the population adhering to Theravada Buddhism, the religion emphasizes personal spiritual development and the pursuit of enlightenment. Monks are revered in Thai culture and seen as spiritual guides and role models.

The Concept of Monastic Rehabilitation

Monastic rehabilitation is a unique approach combining Buddhism with Thailand’s criminal justice system. It offers an alternative path for individuals who have committed crimes to turn their lives around and seek inner transformation through monastic discipline and teachings. This concept aligns with the Buddhist belief in the potential for personal growth and change.

Reasons behind Criminals Turning to Monkhood

Seeking Redemption

One of the primary reasons why individuals turn to monkhood after committing crimes is the desire for redemption. They hope to find solace and forgiveness for their past actions by becoming monks. The strict monastic discipline and daily rituals provide a structured environment for self-reflection and spiritual growth.

Escaping the Cycle of Violence

For some individuals, engaging in criminal activities may have resulted from a turbulent environment or association with violent influences. By becoming monks, they can distance themselves from negative influences and break free from the cycle of violence. Monastic life offers a peaceful and disciplined environment that encourages self-improvement.

Influences of Thai Culture and Tradition

Thai culture places a strong emphasis on the concept of “sanuk,” which translates to “fun” or “enjoyment.” This cultural influence can sometimes lead individuals to engage in reckless behavior or criminal activities. Turning to monkhood after committing crimes is seen as a way to restore balance, reconnect with cultural values, and seek a more virtuous path.

The Role of Monastic Rehabilitation Centers

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Monastic rehabilitation centers are crucial in facilitating the transformation process for individuals seeking to become monks after committing crimes. These centers provide a supportive environment where individuals can learn and practice Buddhist teachings, meditate, and receive guidance from experienced monks.

The centers also offer vocational training, enabling former offenders to acquire new skills and reintegrate into society upon release from the monastic life. This comprehensive approach addresses both the spiritual and practical aspects of rehabilitation.

Challenges and Criticisms of the Monkhood Rehabilitation System

While the monastic rehabilitation system in Thailand has its merits, it also faces challenges and criticisms. Some argue that the system may not be effective in addressing the root causes of criminal behavior or providing long-term solutions.

There are concerns about individuals using monkhood as a temporary escape from legal consequences rather than genuinely seeking transformation. Additionally, critics argue that monastic rehabilitation centers’ lack of standardized regulations and oversight can lead to potential abuses or exploitation.

Another challenge is the difficulty of reintegrating individuals into society after their time as monks. The transition from a monastic lifestyle back to the complexities of the outside world can be overwhelming for some individuals. Rebuilding social connections, finding employment, and overcoming the stigma associated with their criminal past pose significant obstacles.

Despite these challenges, it is important to acknowledge that the monastic rehabilitation system has also shown positive outcomes. Many individuals who have gone through this process have successfully transformed their lives, finding inner peace and leading productive, law-abiding lives.

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