2014: Buddhist temple: A religious capital approach for preparing Thailand toward the aging society

Saowapa Pornsiripongse
Kwanchit Sasiwongsaroj
Patcharin Ketjamnong

Thailand is experiencing a rapid increase in older population. The phenomenon has attracted the attention of various sectors in order to develop suitable guidelines to accommodate this situation. The objective of this chapter is to propose an alternative for the care of older persons by analyzing the plausibility of using Buddhist temples, which are numerous and exist in almost every community, as care centers for the well-being of the elderly. The analysis was based on a social capital approach through the religious capital that temples retain, including Dharma, personnel, rituals, and property (financial capital, physical capital, human capital, cultural capital, and social capital). This was to determine how much potential temples have in caring for older people. The analysis also took into consideration state policies and operations concerning the elderly. It was found that temples have potential in caring for the well-being of older people without conflicting with religious discipline. However, they must be improved in terms of knowledge of monks, collaboration with their communities and temple networks, and temple environment. Operations on the care of the elderly should be varied in accordance with the contexts of the temples and their communities.

Pornsiripongse, S., Sasiwongsaroj, K., & Ketjamnong, P. (2014). Buddhist temple: A religious capital approach for preparing Thailand toward the aging society. In P. Liamputtong (Ed), Contemporary socio-cultural and political perspectives in Thailand, 65-82. Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-7244-1_4

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