In today’s society, religion seems distant and irrelevant. While many may have already lost their faith in God, centuries old rituals and beliefs still thrive in many societies.

 

Chasing Karma is an extended photo essay that explores the rituals and belief of karma in modern day Thailand. Despite being a predominately Buddhist society, rituals and beliefs that have pre-Buddhist etiology are thriving in the country. The strong allegiance to the efficacy of merit-making and spirit worship would appear to contradict the Buddhist doctrines of working out one’s own salvation, without the encumbrance of theistic beliefs and folk superstitions. Yet, due to its Brahmanism influences, the latent conflict is much less than meets the eye.

 

Merit-making is one of the most common religious practices among Thai Buddhists in their pursue for karma. Such relentless pursuit and its focus on self gaining may seem inordinately selfish in a religion that is fundamentally based on reducing self-emphasis. However, in time of need, these rituals and beliefs have provided the faithful a channel to redeem their sin; comfort in the face of death and most importantly, it brings hope into their lives. 

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