Eighty four Thai military officers dressed in the traditional saffron robes of Buddhist monks attended an official ordination ceremony on earlier today on 13 July 2011 at the Benchamabopit temple, also known as Marble temple, in Bangkok, Thailand.
The military officers were ordinated into the Buddhist community over two days and had to take leave of absence from their jobs in the Army for three months during the Buddhist lent period.
In addition, July 16 will mark the first day of the annual three-month retreat of Buddhist monks where they practice meditation in temples and study dharma.
According to the very first of the five main tenets of Buddhism, these Thai Army officers can no longer be fully functional soldiers or only do clerical or non-combat duties:
Firstly, I will be mindful and reverential with all life, I will not be violent nor will I kill.
Secondly, I will respect the property of others, I will not steal.
Thirdly, I will be conscious and loving in my relationships, I will not give way to lust.
Fourthly, I will honor honesty and truth, I will not deceive.
Fifthly, I will exercise proper care of my body and mind, I will not be gluttonous nor abuse intoxicants.
How can these soldiers go back to active duty as soldiers and even be indirectly involved in a combative role from now on, after they have completed a monk’s indoctrination and fully embraced the Buddhist way of life?