REALIZING SELF-SUFFICIENCY ECONOMY THROUGH THE EIGHTFOLD PATH: A SHARED RESPONSIBILITY BETWEEN THE THAI ROYAL GOVERNMENT AND THE BUDDHIST FAITH
Keywords:self-sufficiency economy, moderation, Buddhism, Eightfold path, Royal Government, Thailand
It can be noticed that the practice of Buddhism in Thailand goes beyond the four walls of a Buddhist temple simply because members are expected to incorporate their faith into their way of life. Such being the case, this article examines how the Eightfold Path of the Buddhist tradition is being integrated into various aspects of Thai life especially when His Royal Highness King Bhumibol Aduljadej initiated in 1997 the philosophy of Self-Sufficiency Economy and inspired His people to fulfill it. The said model puts a high premium on living and behaving for the people by considering moderation, rationality, immunity (prudence), and the use of knowledge guided by moral precepts from the family level as components necessary for surviving crises and achieving sustainability amidst social, political, economic, and environmental concerns due to the impact of globalization. This article substantiates how the Self-Sufficiency Economy has been realized in different areas of Thai society by presenting holistic efforts or concrete cases that indicate the Eightfold Path among Thais using aesthetic appreciation theory. Thus, this paper describes how the Thai Royal Government and Buddhism fulfill their shared responsibility in maintaining balanced economic forces, environmental preservation, cultural and spiritual values, and good governance.
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