Survey shows a quarter of Buddhists never give alms

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BANGKOK, 14 July 2011  – A recent survey by Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) has found that some Buddhists have never prayed or given alms to Buddhist monks while the first and fifth provisions in the Five Buddhist precepts are the most difficult to keep. 

According to MCU Vice Rector for Public Relations and Propagation Venerable Phrakrupalad Suwaddhanajariyakhun (Brasan Janthasaro), the finding was gathered from research papers of MCU students conducted during 2006 to 2010 on roles and contributions of laymen and laywomen to Buddhism.

Based on the analysis concerning religious practices, 30.66% of Buddhists nationwide pray regularly while 54.26% pray sometimes or occasionally. However, 15.09% have never done such a thing in their lives.

As for alms giving, 45.26% of Buddhists nationwide do so only on Buddhist holidays or special religious occasions. 18.73% do so depending on available chances. Only 10.22% give alms to Buddhist monks regularly while 25.79% have never given alms.

Asked which of the 5 Buddhist precepts is the most difficult to keep, 31.39% indicated the first precept on refraining from taking lives of animals and humans, followed by the fifth one on refraining from alcoholic beverages at 28.47%.

The Phrakrupalad concluded that the finding reflects that life in the society has become more hectic and violent, as seen in the difficulty to keep the first moral precept on taking lives of others and the fifth precept on refraining from drinking alcohols.

The MCU vice rector also expressed concerns over the number of Buddhists who have never given alms or prayed in their lives although the ratio is not high. He then encouraged Buddhists to give alms to monks upon the Asalha Puja Day and the Buddhist Lent in order to enable the continuation of the religion.