Buddhism Penetration History
In accordance with V. I. Kornev “Dictionary of Buddhism”
Representatives of various schools of Buddhism settled in the territory of modern Thailand long before its settlement by Thai peoples. A local Buddhist tradition connects the spread of Buddhism with the missionaries of King Ashoka . Archaeological excavations indicate the emergence of Buddhist communities here in the II century BC. e., when a huge stupa was created in Nakon Patom. From the 7th century , the migration of Thai peoples from the territory of South China begins. Khmer kings used the tai as mercenaries, giving them land in the valleys of the river. Menam. In the 11th – 12th centuries , large Thai military settlements emerged: Chiangsen, Savankalok, Pitsanulok, Sukhothai, etc., which later became the capitals of Thai states. By the will of fate, the Thai peoples were at the center of the historical events of Indochina, having come into contact with representatives of various Buddhist schools of Mahayana , Theravada , Sarvastivada , who settled in Sumatra, Java, Lanka, the Malay Peninsula, in the Pagan and Angkor empires, in the states of Pegu , Dvaravati , etc. In the XIII century , the first Thai states appeared, of which Sukhothai ( XIII - XIV centuries .) Became one of the largest religious centers in Southeast Asia.
The culture of Sukhothai was a synthesis of many cultures: through Pagan and Dvaravati, the tai adopted the Buddhist concepts of the Theravada sense; monographs borrowed iconography; Khmers have the art of architecture and the epic Ramayana. As a result of this synthesis in Sukhothai, a new school of Buddhist architecture and fine art was formed, which became dominant throughout Thailand. In 1350 , the Thai state of Ayutthaya ( Siam ) appeared, and with ser. In the 15th century , the cult of the deva-raja (“king-god”) was established in it - the Indo-Buddhist cult of Brahmanism , Shaivism , Vishnuism and Tantrism that developed in Cambodia. In practice, this meant transferring Indo-Buddhist cosmological and cosmographic representations into the sphere of administrative and estate relations, combining the power and strength of the “god king” with the eternal moral law - dharma. The royal decree of 1740 emphasized that “only the king is the highest on earth, he is like a god. He can make a big man submit to a small one, and vice versa. The king’s order is like a sky ax. If they hit trees or mountains, the latter will not survive and will be destroyed. ” In 1767 , Ayutthaya was captured and destroyed by the Burmese , and after the expulsion of the latter, the Bangkok Chakri dynasty came to power (from 1782 to the present), in which Theravada-style Buddhism became the state religion. Buddhist monasteries became the main institutions in rural areas, wealth accumulated in them, they were most often the only place where peasants could receive education, medical care, a shelter for the elderly. Therefore, the royal house paid much attention to issues of management, control and reorganization of the sangha nationwide.
Under Rama III (reigned 1824 - 1851 ), control of the sangha began to be carried out with the help of exams conducted once every 3 years. Rama IV (reigned in 1851 - 1868 ) divided the sangha into 2 sects: Maha-Nikaya and Thammayut-Nikaya ; the latter is characterized by strict observance of the monastic lifestyle. By the end of the 19th century, the concept of the “king-god” was replaced by the concept of an enlightened monarch - the protector and patron of the sangha. In 1902 , a decree was issued on the creation of the administrative system of the sangha, identical to the state system. In 1941, religious education was separated from the secular education system.
The Modern State of Buddhism
Currently, the management of the sangha is divided into the administration of the province, district and tambon. Tambon consists of 10-20 villages and includes at least 5 monasteries. About 50 thousand villages are brought together in 5100 tambons. The smallest administrative unit is a monastery, of which there are more than 32 thousand in the country. Responsibility for the monastery lies with the abbot, appointed by the Buddhist committee of the district or province. The provincial committee is responsible for the state of Buddhism in the province, its propaganda, organizes public works on the construction and repair of monastery buildings. Each monastery has a religious council, which includes senior monks, representatives of the village elite, including wealthy philanthropists. Under such a system, not only 400 thousand members of the sangha are religious activists, but also hundreds of thousands of respected citizens of the country. The leading role in training is played by the Buddhist universities of Mahamakut and Maha Chulalongkor, located in Bangkok . The headquarters of the international organization The World Brotherhood of Buddhists (WBB) is also located there. There are 2 large organizations in the country: the Thai Buddhists Association and the Young Buddhists Association, which include Buddhist organizations of the state, societies, and units, enterprises and institutions, educational institutions, military units. These associations and their many affiliates are engaged in the promotion of Buddhism through TV, radio, print, organize seminars, festivals, holidays, competitions, etc. In the late 1970s . new Buddhist societies appeared in universities and universities, aiming at the renewal of Buddhism. The new ideological direction of Buddhism has a historical perspective and, most likely, will become political.
Buddhist temples and monasteries
- Wat Benchamabopit (marble temple)
- Wat Sutat
- Wat Ratchanadda
- Wat Saket
- Wat Phra Kaew
- Wat Pho
- Wat Arun
- Wat Chalong
- Wat Phra Tong
- Wat Phra Nang Sang
- Wat Chedi Luang
- Wat Chedi Liem
- Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong
- Wat Phra Kaew
- Wat Phra Sing
- Wat Wien Kalong (Temple of the White Crow)
- Wat Luang Rat Telentam (The Great Temple of the Enlightened People)
- Wat Yan (Yanasangwararam Voramahavikhan; near Pattaya )