A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Buddhism follows the trade routes to Myanmar & Thailand

Thailand’s and Burma’s introduction to Buddhism can be traced to the 5th century CE. Evidence of Theravada traditions have been found in the remains of the Pyu & Mon dynasties. Oral tradition dates it back to the time of Asoka in the 3rd century BCE, which is possible. During the reign of King Anawratha(1044-1077)there is evidence of strong Theravada influence. From the 8th to 15th centuries the Khmer kingdom centred on Angkor ruled much of Thailand and Cambodia. From the 8th century we can find inscriptional evidence of a Theravada Sangha having influence among the Khmer. By the 12th century there was a definite Mon influence evident in the Khmer sphere. The Thai kingdoms began to reassert themselves by the 13th century, starting around Sukhotai till the 15th century. Then centred on Ayudhya till the 18th century and finally around Bangkok. State support for the Theravada has been a steady constant. Thailand remained independent throughout the colonial period, unlike Burma and Cambodia. King Rama IV(1851-1868) instigated the establishment of the reformed Dhammayutika lineage of the Sangha. This resulted in the gradual decline of certain older esoteric practices and traditions from the Mahanikaya lineage, in Thailand and Cambodia.

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