Main Article Content
Since the modernization of the world, Thai traditional medical knowledge has undergone vast changes that may compromise its authenticity. However, this paper identifies that a modern version of a traditional Thai rite called Wai Khru (ไหว้ครู), can be the key to preserve the legitimacy of the Thai traditional medical wisdom. The Wai Khru is a tradition of paying respect and honor to teachers in Thailand, and this research shows that it is a way to link individuals to teachers of many forms, physical and spiritual, allowing the preservation of the relationship in traditional wisdom lineage. Some Thai traditionalists assert that Wai Khru is the most important element in the traditional knowledge itself. Therefore, in order to investigate the meaning and the function of the Wai Khru in Thai traditional medicine, this paper will ask: what is traditional knowledge? Why is it transmitted through a specific manner? How does traditional knowledge differ from the knowledge of scientific or religious order? Why do Thai practitioners of traditional arts pay respect to those who have gone before? Lastly, what are the challenges and changes to traditional knowledge in modern times and its future? To answer these questions, this paper uses works by the perennial philosopher René Guénon, and field research into the Wai Khru ceremonies, as well as interviews with Thai traditional doctors, teachers and experts about the Wai Khru in Thai tradition, which explains why the Wai Khru rituals allow the preservation of the Thai traditional medicine wisdom in modern times.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
2. Guenón R. Introduction to the study of the Hindu doctrines. London: Burleigh Press; 1945. 352 p.
3. Lynd J. The first book of Etymology, designed to promote precision in the use, and facilitate the acquisition of a knowledge of the English language for Beginners. Philadelphia: E.C. & J Biddle; 1853. p. 183.
4. Guenón R. Perspectives on initiation. Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis; 2004. 320 p.
5. Schuon F. RenéGuénon: Some Observations.Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis; 2004. p. 1.
6. Sherrard P. The universal tradition. India International Centre Quarterly [Internet]. 1987 [cited 2017 Jun 12];14:[16 screens]. Available from: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23001414 .
7. Cassirer E. An essay on man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Human Culture. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1944. p. 82.
8. Guénon R. Studies in Hinduism. Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis; 2004. p. 90.
9. Supak Pinyosuoak. Thai traditional offerings given to teachers and the Wai Khru in Thai tradition. Personal communication: 18 Nov 2016.
10. Wong D. Sounding the Center – History and Aesthetics in Thai Buddhist performance. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 2001. p. 63.
11. Childers RC. A Dictionary of the Pali language. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services; 1993. p. 143-4.
12. Benfey T. A Sanskrit-English dictionary. New Delhi: Asian Educational Services; 1998. p.72
13. Online Etymology Dictionary. Etymology of the word professor [Internet]. [cited 2017 Apr 07]; Available from: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=professor.
14. Health & Development Foundation. The Manual for Wai Khru in Thai traditional medicine. 3rd ed. 6th printing. Bangkok: Usa Printing; 2014. 77 p. [in Thai]
15. Tawin Apainikom. The Wai Khru in Thai traditional medicine. Personal communication: 26 Mar 2016. [in Thai]
16. Komson Dinakara na Ayudhaya. The Wai Khru in Thai traditional medicine. Personal communication: 03 Oct 2016. [in Thai]
17. Chaithavuthi J, Muangsiri K. Ancient Thai massage: Healing with life force. 3rd ed. Bangkok: Amarin Printing and Publishing; 2012. p. 67-8.
18. Ministry of Public Health of Thailand (MOPH). Chapter 9 Chakri dynasty and Thai public health. [Internet]. [cited 2018 Jan 05]; Available from: http://wops.moph.go.th/ops/thp/images/stories/Report_pics/Thai_Report/Year_Reports/1997_98/ENG/chapter91.htm
19. University of Florida. Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology in the College of Medicine – Online Graduate Certificate Programs and Courses in Anatomy. [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 10]; Available from: http://anatomy.acb.med.ufl.edu.
20. University of Edinburgh. College of Medicine & Veterinary Medicine –Graduate School. [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 10]; Available from: http://www.ed.ac.uk/medicine-vet-medicine/postgraduate/online-distance-learning/online-distance-learning.
21. Assumption University of Thailand. Graduate School of E-learning. [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 10]; Available from: http://www.elearning.au.edu.
22. Thai Healing Massage Academy. Thai massage online certification and CEUs. [Internet]. [cited 2017 Jul 10]; Available from: https://thaihealingmassage.com/certification/.
23. The Protection and Promotion of Traditional Thai Medicine Wisdom Act; B.E. 2542 (1999). [Internet]. [cited 2015 Nov 12]; Available from: http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0294_3.pdf .