Attachment And Compassion
First a verse from ‘Cat Foot Iron Claw’ by Peter Sinfield 1969.
Just lend your love to me once more
Don't ask me what I came back for
Just watch the moonlight cross the floor
And as your blood begins to roar
You'll feel your senses spin and soar
You will become my meteor
Divine and universal whore
This submission is based upon my own personal experiences of living in monogamous relationships with two Thai women, the most recent of which has just left me to return to work in a bar, having lived with me for nearly a year. We chose this house together, furnished it and moved in to what seemed like a normal husband and wife situation in setting up home together. She has recently left me, for the second, and last time. (Please see my submission ‘Lady Thai Pai’ 2nd Sept. 2005)
This deliberation does not differentiate between Thai ‘Good Girls’ and Thai ‘Bar Girls’, because in my personal experience there is little or no difference in respect to the need or desire for regular gratuity payments from a significant male. There also appears to be a remarkable similarity in how both groups view the purpose and use of gratuity payments received.
Sometimes a variation occurs in either group because some Thai ‘Bar Girls’ and some Thai ‘Good Girls’ continue to seek and receive gratuity from a second, or even a third farang, whether ‘living in’ a monogamous relationship or oceans apart from their most significant while receiving gratuity from him.
The Thai Woman
However comfortable you the farang may feel in the tender loving care of your Thai girlfriend, or wife, it is important that you understand and accept that there are profound differences genetically, culturally and emotionally between them and your former western wife or girlfriends.
Thai women are raised in a Buddhist society so most of them follow, however tenuously, the ‘Sassanar’ (Religion) of Buddhism. Their home environment, during their upbringing would have been close to the point of being suffocating, by western standards. Perhaps more importantly her experience of the preferential treatment toward the male members of her family will affect the way in which she will view all men. Yet throughout her childhood she would have accepted that her mother was the dominant force in her life and in all things affecting the family’s day to day financial management. This is a dichotomy for western men who have great difficulty in reconciling the preference shown to them and, other male members of the family, while not being recognized as dominant.
Although your Thai lady does not realize it she is conditioned by the tenets of Buddhism and, from her home life, the concept of caring, and the omnipresence of her nearest and dearest, together with an acceptance of extended family ties, which are hard for a westerner to understand. These three vital components of her early childhood have had a profound effect on the development of her character.
Thai women and their ‘sassanar’ religion / faith
Thailand’s flavour of Buddhism is unique, it is not purist. What I mean by this is that Buddhism in Thailand has modified over the centuries to become typically Thai, having absorbed nuances and modifications, arising from the religions and cultures of the original inhabitants of this diverse and multicultural land. From the Tenets of Buddhism, Thai women have learned to have ‘compassion’ for all other ‘sentient’ beings and to seek to avoid ‘Attachment’ to ‘sentient beings or to material things. For western men, especially Christians, attachment is a natural part of their psyche.
When a western man falls in love he becomes ‘attached’ to his woman. Whereas a Thai woman may say “Chan raak khun” (I love you) yet not feel ‘attached’ to you as you do her. In other words she loves you but she is not ‘in love with you’ in the same sense that your western wife may have been. Your Lady Thai partner knows all about ‘attachment’. To her it’ll likely be regarded as one of your failings, and money in the bank to her. You see it is as simple as this; ‘attachment’ is a distraction from the path to enlightenment. This is due to the fact that ‘attachment’ is a distraction from her daily worship and behavior. One could go as far as to say that there are vague similarities between a Thai woman's relationship with ‘Pra! Poot!-ta-jow’ (The Lord Buddha), and a Catholic Nun’s relationship, with The Lord Jesus Christ. She can not subsist if she is emotionally ‘attached’ to an earthly or heavenly being. A Thai lady’s relationship with Buddha is one of dependence, just as is her relationship with you. Therefore she is dependent unendingly to Buddha, not you).
Thai women understand and avoid attachment. They know that attachment makes them vulnerable and can cause them to suffer emotional pain would they become ‘attached’ to us. Simply put it means that they know that any unwelcome behavior that we might display could cause them pain, unwanted feelings of insecurity or jealousy. Many western men with Thai girlfriends or wives have told me that their partner is very jealous of them. They are mistaken. Once a Thai women has matured in the concept of the avoidance of ‘attachment’ her psyche replaces ‘attachment’ with anger. If your partner catches you holding hands with another Thai woman she will likely be angry, and yak-yak you, but she will not be jealous. Her anger is born of the knowledge that she is losing face and that the other woman may become a threat to her financial security with you.
In the absence of the distraction of ‘attachment’ she remains free, her own person, and has the comfort of knowing that if you become surplus to her requirements she can walk away without feeling pain. She will be able to wish you good luck as she waves you goodbye, the tears in her eyes are her compassion for another human being that is suffering, you! She knows that you are suffering, because she knows that we farang are cursed with the frailty of ‘attachment’. She will continue on her way, no pain in her heart knowing that our tears and pain may last for hours, or even weeks. Her tears will have dried within minutes of reaching the other side of your front door. To a Thai woman our ‘curse of attachment’ is one of the things that make foreigners inferior to Thais. On a positive note her lack of attachment will allow her to return into the relationship with a beaming smile and compassion for your ensuing insecurity in the coming weeks. It is a fact of life that all Thai Buddhists know that ‘attachment’ is just another word for co-dependence, which even in the west is considered by psychologists to be a human behavioural abnormality of the character.
This the second of the two most significant Buddhist behavioural characteristics has a positive affect on western men. However, it is only positive to us because we do not understand it and its affects on our partner’s behavior. There will be many occasions when your partner may sit on your lap or kneel at your feet in a moment of compassion for you. This moment of compassion can be positive or negative. When you are ill, or have had an accident, your partner’s compassion is positive, for both of you. Such a compassionate scene may be positive for her yet negative to you. Confused! I don’t blame you, it has taken me years to understand, that which I now commit in writing.
Your partner’s compassion for you is equal to that which she would feel for any human being. To her suffering is just that, Suffering is what life is really about. A Thai lady’s compassion, in itself is quite shallow because it is heavily diluted by the presence in Thailand, of much suffering, of which you are only part. The presence of suffering, as a part of normal human life, and its remedy, ‘compassion’, is not just a Buddhist thing. Jesus, Mohamed and Buddha all preached on the basis that; ‘life is about suffering’ and that ‘compassion’ is its moderator.
Temple visits, home shrines, a glass a candle and a photo.
I expect that your Thai darling has brought some Buddhist religious regalia into your home. No matter how small or insignificant it seems to you it is a vital part of her daily life. It may be just her gold tong, sporting a small Buddha image. It could even be a small, icon sized photo of a Pra or a Buddha image, tucked away in her gra-pow (purse or wallet). At night, before sleeps, she will often place the artifact on her pillow and pay homage to Buddha. She will do this when you have had a row, when she feels that you have let her down or when some other individual outside of your home has disappointed her in some way. It is important that you do not get paranoid about such rituals. Hopefully they will seldom be related to anything that you have done.
Other Thai Ladies will ‘go over the top’, depends much on how generous you have been with her gratuity. Some will buy pictures of the King, or other members of the Thai Royal Family. Others have bought a substantial Buddhist shrine, cast out of concrete, erected in the garden or on the balcony. She may adorn it with coloured lights, ceramic figures and incense burners. Do not touch it. If she has gone to this trouble, the shrine will be immensely important to her and the security of her home. Such a shrine, she believes can attract transient spirits and guardians to defend her and her beloved.
The countenance of an angel and wearing Nina Ricci panties
She is beautiful, caring, attentive, omnipresent and sexy. You are absolutely over the moon that such a creature would care for you. You are blissfully happy. This is the rest of your life. It may well be so. However, you are a human being, your body is transient, so is hers, and so is your relationship. Even if it turns out to be a relationship ‘till death do you part’, you cannot reside in ‘heaven’ with her beyond the portal of death. Your Lady Thai knows this. She knows that everything is transient. She has little concern for the life expectancy of a relationship; it’s time now that matters to her. That is why, sometimes when you hand over the month’s gratuity, she will go shopping and come home broke. If your partner was formally a bar girl, it can be a real problem because within days she will need to acquire some additional cash. If you don’t pay it, there is always a risk that she still knows someone that will, be it a money lender, a pawnbroker or even another farang.