Monks, and Buddhism in general, have a strong bond with society in Thailand and other neighboring countries in the region. However, a recent article in the New York Times suggests that as the region becomes more wealthy, monks will lose relevance in the increasingly fast-paced world.
It's hard to disagree with the notion, particularly when you see so few younger full time monks, and the ones that you do are often talking on cell phones, smoking cigarettes, and playing angry birds. The article from the NY Times mentions scandals that have come to light thanks to social media and sites such as Youtube. A quick Google search makes it easy to see for yourself.
Either way it goes, there is a lot of good that has, and continues to be done by the monk-hood This image was shot as 12600 monks gathered one morning on a single street in Chiang Mai to collect alms to give to flooding victims in the southern part of the country in late 2011.
Shot November 27, 2011