The advice was offered yesterday by Phra Wichit Thammaphon, assistant to the abbot of Wat Saket, as his temple and the National Office of Buddhism were preparing various religious events to mark Macha Bucha day, which also falls tomorrow.
The message to young lovers is issued annually, but since the occasion falls on Macha Bucha day this year, the monk took the opportunity to add some Buddhist teachings to the Valentine’s warning.
Labelling it a “miraculous year” when the romantic mood meets the religious spirit, Phra Wichit Thammaphon said “teenagers need to adopt mindful love to avoid causing problems for their parents and society”.
By being ‘’mindful’’, the monk said young boys and girls should remember that an appropriate expression of intimacy does not necessarily end in sex.
He said many youngsters are going through a difficult stage when they are no longer children but are not old enough to make mature decisions.
A quick but careless decision can have unhappy consequences such as unwanted pregnancies and health issues, the monk said.
A 20-year-old man yesterday talked about the consequences of having unprotected sex with his girlfriend three years ago as part of the Valentine’s Day campaign “Don’t Let Love Be An Excuse for Sex”, launched by a network of social activists.
At that time, the man recalled, his girlfriend became pregnant and he turned to the drug trade to earn money to raise their child.
He was later arrested and detained at Kanchanaphisek male juvenile remand home for three years.
Not wanting other teenagers to follow his path, he warned that, “To father a child requires careful thought. Teenagers must be mindful; they cannot think only of having fun out of curiosity.”
But a recent survey of 1,300 male teenagers suggests the advice may fall on deaf ears.
Asked to comment on sex and Valentine’s Day, about one third of them (31.7%) said the day marked a good opportunity to express love by having sex, said Thiraphat Khahawong, coordinator of a youth network aiming to discourage alcohol consumption.
The survey also showed that 20.6% of the respondents would pressure their partner into having sex by claiming a refusal would be a sign that they weren’t in love.
When asked about their plans for tomorrow, 27.3% of respondents said they had a date with their girlfriends, while 24.6% plan to buy chocolates and roses as gifts.
Only 18.2% of the teenagers said they would go to temples to join candle lighting ceremonies at night.
Despite these figures, Sumontha Pluemsungnoen, who is campaigning for healthy sex life, said adults should not rush to the conclusion that most teenagers only think of sex.
There are still plenty of youngsters who know how to express love appropriately, the activist said.