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A local advocacy group in Lopburi, Thailand, is seeking ways to restore the sense of sacredness into its ancient temples, after dissatisfaction over the way ancient temples have become predominantly used for moneymaking entertainment and tourism activities.

Wat Phra Sri Mahathat, Lop Buri Province. Bangkok Post, 20110307

Cherishing the Sacred
Bangkok Post, 07 March 2011

”Wat Phra Sri Mahathat was one of the venues in Lop Buri previously used for light-and-sound shows,” said Wibul Chanyaem, vice-president of the Society for Preservation of Antiquity and Ancient Monuments. ”However, since we launched our campaign 11 years ago, the province no longer organises this type of entertainment here.”

The impetus for reviving the merit-making rite came entirely from the local community, Wibul said, pointing out that despite the lack of a temple fair or other typical attractions the event still manages to draw more than a thousand people every year.

Its success has also inspired the people of Thab Jampa, another Lop Buri neighbourhood, to start a similar campaign.

”The TAT office here fully supports the idea because they believe that it’s good for society,” Phuthorn remarked. ”More and more people are attending the ceremony to listen to the sermons. And they’re not all devout Buddhists either. This is what could be called tourism in pursuit of wisdom.”

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