As Phra Tham, a forest monk from Southern Thailand, traveled by train from his monastery to his home town for his younger sister’s cremation, he is tormented by visions of Muslim passengers wanting to kill him and the site of his sister being blown apart by a terrorist bomb. He is on the verge of tears the entire trip. This early scene in Nonzee Nimibutr’s film, OK Baytong, is one of many in recent Thai films which depict Southeast Asian Buddhist monks exhibiting extreme emotional joy, anger, or distress. Other films depict monks laughing hysterically, lashing out violently, sobbing uncontrollably, or fearfully trembling. These films, a small selection described below, offer a revealing lens into the myriad ways in which monks are displayed in Thailand. They also demonstrate the value of narrative ethics in the study and teaching of Southeast Asian Buddhism.
"The Emotional Lives of Buddhist Monks in Modern Thai Film,"
Journal of Religion & Film: Vol. 14
, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/jrf/vol14/iss2/9