Theravada Buddhism is the professed religion of more than 90% of all Thais, and casts strong influences on daily life.
Besides molding morality, providing social cohesion and offering spiritual support, Buddhism has provided incomparable artistic impetus. In common with medieval European cathedrals, Thailand's innumerable multi-roofed temple has inspired major artistic creations.
Another reason for Buddhism's strength is that there are few Thai Buddhist families in which at least on male member has not studied the Buddha's teaching in the temple. It has long been a custom for Buddhist males over the age of 20, at one time in their life, to be obtained for a period ranging from five days to three months. This usually occurs during the annual Rains Retreat, a three-months forego travel and remain within their temple.
Besides sustaining monastic communities, Thai temples have traditionally served other purposes - as the village hostelry, village news, employment and information agency, school, hospital, dispensary and community center - which give them vital roles in Thai society.
The Thais have always subscribed to the ideal of the religious freedom. Thus, sizable minorities of Muslims, Christian, Hindus, and Sikhs freely pursue their respective faiths.