BANGKOK - Teenagers in Thailand have been encouraged to stay mindful when expressing their "love" for each other on Valentine's Day.
The advice was offered on Wednesday by monk Phra Wichit Thammaphon, as his temple and the National Office of Buddhism were preparing various religious events to mark Macha Bucha day, which also falls on Feb 14, Bangkok Post reported.
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.
Describing it as 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 lead to unhappy consequences such as unwanted pregnancies and health issues, the monk said.
But a recent survey of 1,300 male teenagers suggests the advice may fall on deaf ears, Bangkok Post said.
Asked to comment on sex and Valentine's Day, about one third of them (31.7 per cent) 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 per cent of the respondents would pressure their partner into having sex by claiming a refusal would be a sign that they were not in love.
When asked about their plans for Feb 14, 27.3 per cent of respondents said they had a date with their girlfriends, while 24.6 per cent plan to buy chocolates and roses as gifts.
Only 18.2 per cent of the teenagers said they would go to temples to take part in candle lighting ceremonies at night.