Faith and Freedom: My Decision to Disrobe and Uphold My Beliefs
On 10 September 2014, my 18th birthday, just after the coup d’état, I was a high school student. As I considered the sources of societal problems, I saw the forced conscripted military service as one of them, violating the freedom and rights of Thai people. Thus, I published a statement that I would not serve in the military.
Since 10 July 2022, I have been ordained as a monk, studying and practicing Buddhism with a strong faith in the teachings of the Buddha. Without coercion to the service, I wish to continue studying and practicing Buddhism as much as I desire. However, I do not want to use the privilege of being a monk to escape military service or give the impression that I am running away using the temple as a shield, which would contradict my statement from almost 9 years ago.
Therefore, I have decided to disrobe and return to household life, willingly struggling in the legal process to uphold my beliefs and aim my Thai society toward a path of peace, non-violence, and no military conscription.
However, before disrobing, I have some unfinished tasks. I need to pass the Pali examination and will be retaking one subject on 15-16 April, which I devoted time to study for. After that, I ask for some preparation time before disrobing, which I plan to do before the end of April.
During this very short period, I want to maintain myself as a Buddhist monk and ask for the kindness of everyone to give me a chance for cultivating and giving me the peaceful serenity that suits a monk who follows the noble life.
Phra Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal
Context: As the scheduled date for his conscription approaches, Netiwit would like to reiterate his conscientious objection to military service. Despite the legal requirement for him to attend conscription on April 9th, Netiwit is aware of the potential legal consequences of his decision, including the risk of a prison sentence of up to 3 years. However, he remains committed to his stance and hopes that his actions will encourage dialogue and reflection on the issue of mandatory military service in Thailand. – Admin