Thailand brings 'monk stalls' to malls

In between buying handbags or browsing the jewellery counters, shoppers in Thailand will soon also be able to get their daily dose of dharma under a plan to install monks in major department stores.

    The government wants to encourage religious participation

    Under the "meet the monk in a quiet corner" project, the Ministry of Culture plans to rent out space in stores throughout the country where shoppers can have a quiet chat with monks in a bid to bring people closer to religion, officials said.

    "People nowadays have no time to go to temples, only shopping malls. They can get closer to the religion if we provide the opportunity," the Culture Minister, Uraiwan Thienthong, was quoted as saying by the local media.

    Shoppers will be encouraged to participate in religious activities, and films or religious-themed comics will be available to attract younger participants.

    "We could campaign for religion in places where ... teenagers gather," said Minister for Social Development Wattana Muangsuk on Saturday.

    Outspoken monk Phra Phayom Kalayano of Nonthaburi's Wat Suan Kaew, on the outskirts of Bangkok, seconded the plan, saying he would encourage monks to go every day to attend to the masses at the malls.



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