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 Home > About Thailand > Religions

Religions in Thailand

Religion plays a very important role in Thai life
Present-day spiritual society is composed of dissimilar ingredients: thousands of Theravada monasteries and over a quarter of a million monks; a ubiquitous belief in spirits and ghosts; a corresponing interest in astrology, palmistry and the occult; Brahman rites and ceremonies, confined mainly to the royal court; and Mahayana Buddhism, Confucianism and ancestorworship associated with the substantial Chinese population. Religious minorities of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians complete a rich variety of thought, philosophy, dogma, ritual, belief, superstition, worship and endeavour that is fashioned into a tolerant society with Buddhism as the dominant spiritual factor.

Based on the Latest census taken on December 31, 1992, Thailand 57,788,965 population is distributed by religious beliefs as follows:

Buddhists 93.47%
Muslims 3.96%
Christians 0.52%
Hindus, Sikhs 0.01%
Unidentified 2.04%


His Majesty the King of Thailand, according to the constitution and tradition, is a Buddhist and the upholder of religions professed by local communities. He, therefore, is the centre of unity and concord of all Thai people.

Following in His Majesty’s footsteps, every Thai government has bestowed upon the people freedom to profess any religion. It has accorded them appropriate support to their faiths in spite of the fact that Buddhism is the national religion of Thailand, as the great majority of the Thai people are Buddhists.

Among several rights and liberties of the Thai people provided by every successive constitution, religious right and liberty have always been included. Section 25 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (1978) may be quoted here as follows:

“Every person enjoys full liberty to profess any religion, any religious denomination or religious tenet, and to exercise a form of worship in accordance with his belief, provided that it is not contrary to his civic duties or public order or good morals.”

“In exercising the liberty referred to in the first paragraph, every person shall be protected from any act by the State, which is derogatory to his rights or detrimental to his due benefits on the ground of professing a religion, or a religious denomination or religious tenet, or exercising a form of worship in accordance with his belief which is different from that of others.”

In addition, the Penal Code of Thailand has 3 sections provided in order to prevent any action likely to insult any sacred religious object of place or any disturbance caused at any religious assembly or unlawful dressing or using symbols in imitation of a monk or a clergyman as follows:

“Section 206. Whoever commits any act, by any means whatever, to an object or a place of religious reverence of any community in a manner likely to insult the religion shall be punished with imprisonment from one to seven years or a fine from two thousand to fourteen thousand baht, or both.”

“Section 207. Whoever causes any disturbance at an assembly lawfully engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding two thousand baht, or both.”

“Section 208. Whoever dresses or uses a symbol showing that he is a Buddhist monk or novice, ascetic or clergyman of any religion unlawfully in order to make another person believe that he is such person shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding one year or a fine not exceeding two thousand baht, or both.”
There is no discrimination on religious grounds as to accepting or assigning any person to any government or state enterprise position. This includes the case of candidates for parliamentary or municipal seats all over the country.

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