A Buddhist Way of Drug Rehabilitation in Thailand - Approaching Drug Addiction With Loving Kindness: An Interview With Phra Maha Narong Chaiyatha

Carina Pichler

Abstract


Narong Chaiyatha has worked at the Quality Development of Life Center for 12 years and is engaged in diverse social projects as a Buddhist monk. The Quality Development of Life Center is an alternative program of dealing with drug addiction in Thailand and was established in 1993. On the premises of a Buddhist temple, the participants live together with monks, practice meditation, join chanting and dhamma talks, and help cultivate the temple. The program is part of the implementation of restorative justice in the criminal justice system. Depending on the severity of the drug addiction and the social background of the person, the Department of Probation of the Ministry of Justice sends clients to the center to take part in the Buddhist rehabilitation program for two months. This interview is based on the experiences of Narong Chaiyatha at the Quality Development of Life Center in Thep Mongkol temple, Amnat Charoen, Thailand, and gives an overview of some of the central elements of the program, positive impacts for the community as well as challenges in its implementation. The interview was conducted at the same location on 28 January 2013.

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