“Consumerism is now the Thai religion,” said Phra Paisan Visalo, one of
the country’s most respected monks. “In the past, people went to temple
on every holy day. Now, they go to shopping malls.”
The meditative lifestyle of the monkhood offers little allure to the
iPhone generation. The number of monks and novices relative to the
population has fallen by more than half over the last three decades.
There are five monks and novices for every 1,000 people today, compared
with 11 in 1980, when governments began keeping nationwide records.
Although it is still relatively rare for temples to close, many
districts are so short on monks that abbots here in northern Thailand
recruit across the border from impoverished Myanmar, where monasteries
are overflowing with novices.
"I wanted to transform the subway from its dark, degrading and impersonal reality into images that open up our experience again to the color, sensuality, and vitality of the individual souls that ride it each day."Bruce Davidson