24 May 2022
Sorcery and religious rites that are deeply imbedded in Thai society have been in the spotlight as mainstream media outlets have joined hands with vigilantes to expose monastic malpractice and cults. Calls for professionalism that have long been overshadowed by competition for audiences have been sounded again.
16 Jun 2020
Mural paintings of Mae Sitang Buathong, Prawit Wongsuwan and Prayut Chan-o-cha have become a controversy after the National Office of Buddhism and Tewan Liptapallop, Minister attached to the Prime Minister’s Office, declared that the paintings are inappropriate and should be erased. Tewan also ordered the National Office of Buddhism to uncover any paintings with hidden political messages in temples across the country.
20 May 2020
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Thai monks are returning the favor to the communities around their temples by setting up food donation spots, a concept which has also moved online. Mutita Chuachang investigates.
5 Mar 2019
A distraction from Thai politics last week has been the incident at Wat Sing School. The intrusion into the school outraged many and ignites a debate about how Buddhism should be practised.
12 Jul 2017
The easiest Buddhist critical-thinking skill-set to recollect is found in the Visuddhimagga, a fifth-century treatise which borrows from the Abhidhamma. This expresses a coherent framework and structurally examines sila (moral regulations), samadhi (calming meditation) and panna (wisdom), through a fourfold-scheme to determine the characteristics, function, manifestation and proximate cause of the threefold-training.
16 Mar 2017
While the junta thinks that Thai Buddhism will be purified by arresting the former abbot of Wat Dhammakaya, experts point out a lack of secularism and political tolerance is a real threat to the dominant religion. On 10 March 2016, Chiang Mai Univeristy’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology hosted a seminar “Dhammakaya Crisis, Social Crisis?” The panel discussed the ongoing harassment of Wat Dhammakaya and tried to propose a proper solution for society.
21 Feb 2017
The appointment of a new supreme patriarch is an opportunity to better politics and Buddhism in Thailand. In what could be described as one of his earliest exercises of power, King Rama X has appointed Phra Somdej Maha Muneewong as Thailand’s newest Sangha Raja. After three years of vacancy, Thai Buddhists and the nation’s order of monks have got their long awaited Supreme Patriarch. But despite much celebration and fanfare, will the new Sangha Raja rescue Thai Buddhism? And what does the whole appointment process say about contemporary Thailand and its broken politics?
7 Feb 2017
Exercising his royal power under a recently amended law, His Majesty the King Tuesday named a new leader of Thai Buddhist authorities, ending years of vacancy on the ecclesiastic throne. Phra Maha Muneewong, the 89-year-old abbot of Wat Rajabopit, was named the 20th Supreme Patriarch by King Vajiralongkorn, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters after his weekly cabinet meeting. Muneewong replaced the previous patriarch who died in 2013 at 100, and the issue of his succession has been hotly debated ever since.
7 Feb 2017
After being barred from paying their respects to the late King at the Grand Palace, Bhikkhunis — female Buddhist monks in Thailand — have urged the junta leader to amend laws discriminating against female monks.
13 Dec 2016
Soldiers and police officers have stormed into a press conference on the crisis of Thai Buddhism to force its organisers to cancel the event.
2 Dec 2016
Within Thailand’s overwhelmingly Buddhist population, the Dhammakaya version of Buddhism has amassed a huge following but also created enormous controversy, Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang writes.