Lifestyle & Belief

In Thailand, Barack does Buddhism


US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listen to the dean of the Faculty of Buddhism, Chaokun Suthee Thammanuwat, during a tour at the Wat Pho Royal Monastery in Bangkok on November 18, 2012.



"I always believe in prayer. I believe in prayer when I go to church back home.

And if a Buddhist monk is wishing me well, I'm going to take whatever good vibes he can give me to try to deal with challenges back home."

So said Barack Obama at a Bangkok Q&A that followed an afternoon spin through Wat Pho, one of the Thai capital's most revered temples. Ditching their shoes per temple protocol, both Obama and Hillary Clinton strolled the grounds and chatted with a senior Thai monk. 

The president confirmed he'd suggested to the monk that he could use some prayers to up his chances of reversing America's fiscal woes. Apparently all he received were some "good vibes," a phrase that sounds oddly Jeff Spicoli-esque from the lips of a POTUS.

Prayers? Good vibes?

Even an 8-year-old Thai kid could have told Obama that the easiest way to gain karma points -- i.e. making merit or "tom bpun" in Thai -- entails walking outside, buying a bag of live fish and "freeing" them in the temple canal. In Thailand, that's the go-to karma point cheat code.

However, given the gravity of America's economic woes, perhaps Obama should consider freeing a few blue whales.