Thursday, September 6, 2007

The Buddha Diaries Recommends

Thailand Gal

I just spent the morning steeped in the archives of Thailand Gal...and now my head is spinning!

Thailand Gal is a journey deep into the heart and mind of ThailandChani, a self-described Caucasian Thaiphile. Her love (and practice) of Thai culture - and her intention to relocate to Thailand once she can raise the funds - is the blog's most prominent recurring theme. But her reasons for this lifestyle choice take her posts far and wide...into nearly every conceivable area of her "unusual life."

Shucking brevity and bravado, Thailand Gal is a breathtakingly honest exploration into Western culture - the albatross around ThailandChani's neck, her "culture of birth (as opposed to culture of choice) which is dedicated to individual success at all costs, assertiveness that often comes across as rude or pushy, competition and focus almost exclusively on 'self-esteem'."

While many blogs attempt to address the ills of Western society, the majority of those do so by tearing down those who embody the opposing viewpoint, as though "winning the argument" might lead to a mass conversion of the wrong-headed. Others adhere strictly to faith-based perspectives.

ThailandChani, conversely, is that rare cultural dissident who dwells insistently on the horrific personal consequences of a broken culture. Many of her posts are heartbreakingly brave...and conscientiously stripped of self-righteousness. At the same time, she fiercely protects a firmly-held belief in the goodness of herself and of humanity - of each individual human.

Her posts rely on raw personal experiences as material for well-written and nuanced evaluations of cultural norms. The posts are under no illusion that changing our patterns of thought and behavior (ultimately destructive to ourselves and the community, she argues) will be easy. There are no villains and no heroes in the world of Thailand Gal...only truth-seekers and truth-obscurers.

For a good intro into what Thailand Gal is all about, read two of the first posts (here and here) from September, 2006. Happy reading!


thailandchani said...

Wow.. thank you. So much. :)



heartinsanfrancisco said...

I'm so happy to see this post as Thailand Gal is one of my absolute favorite blogs.

Chani is a perfect (and rare) combination of great intelligence and soul beauty, and while she would be the first to deny it, she is also a most talented teacher whose driving force is goodness for its own sake, and not for any potential reward.

Your analysis of her intentions and the way she carries them out seem right on the mark. Her blog has kept me enthralled for a very long time because she invariably causes me to think about issues, large and small, that I may have overlooked or avoided.

She is also a marvelous writer whose use of words is often thrilling. Truth-seekers are always welcome to join the conversation, while truth-obscurers (!) usually leave in frustration because she refuses to engage at the level of name-calling.

I look forward to seeing you there soon.

PeterAtLarge said...

This is a great find, Cardozo! Thank you. I trust that Thailand Girl is already blogrolled, and I look forward to getting to know her better. I have not read very far yet, and I wonder if she has discovered the workof my teacher, Thanissaro Bhikkhu, whose training is as a Thai Forest monk? More of this on my return to L.A. Thanks again for the introduction. This is exactly the work we should be doing.

thailandchani said...

Thank you, Hearts, for your kind comments. Now it's my job to live up to them. :)

Peter, I am familiar with Forest Wisdom and Ajahn Chah. It is largely what I use to support my practice since a Thai wat is far away.

I will definitely read Thanissaro Bikkhu through your link. :)