Upāsaka and Upāsikā
Upāsaka or Upāsikā are from the Sanskrit and Pāli words for "attendant". This is the title of followers of Buddhism who are not monks, nuns, or novice monastics in a Buddhist order, who undertake certain vows. In modern times they have a connotation of dedicated piety, best suggested by terms such as "lay devotee" or "devout lay follower"; the five vows to be held by upāsakas are referred to as the "Five Precepts": I will not take the life of a sentient being. In the Theravada tradition, on Uposatha days, devout lay practitioners may request the "Eight Precepts" from monastics, it was a widespread practice in China as well, is still practiced. The eight precepts is a list of precepts that are observed by lay devotees on observance days and festivals, they include general precepts such as refraining from killing, but more specific ones, such as abstaining from cosmetics. The precepts were based on pre-Buddhist brahmanical practices. Since the eight precepts are upheld on the Buddhist uposatha days, they are called the uposatha vows or one-day precepts in such context.
They are considered to support meditation practice, are observed when staying in monasteries and temples. In some periods and places, such as in 7th–10th-century China, the precepts were observed. In modern times, there have been revival movements and important political figures that have observed them continuously. In traditional Theravada communities, a non-Buddhist becomes a Buddhist lay disciple by repeating the ancient formulas for the Three Refuges and the Five Precepts in response to the formal administrations of a monk or by himself in himself or in front of a stupa or an image of the Buddha. Newborns of Buddhist parents are traditionally initiated by being brought on their first outing to a temple on a full-moon or festival day where they are presented to the Triple Gem. In both the Chinese Ch'an and Japanese Zen traditions, a ceremony of taking refuge in the Triple Gem as well as the receiving of the precepts is a type of lay ordination; the ordination procedures for receiving precepts in the Chinese tradition are laid out in the fourteenth chapter of the Sutra on Upasaka Precepts.
The disciple hoping to receive the precepts first pays respects to the six directions, which represent their parents, husband or wife, religious master and employees. Honoring the six directions is a "means fulfilling one's reciprocal responsibilities in each of these relationships". A person who has honored these relationships and paid his respects to the six directions must receive permission from his parents to accept the precepts. If they agree, he informs those under his employment; the disciple should get permission from his king, though for obvious reasons this last procedure is no longer observed. The disciple, having paid his respects to the six directions and having the relevant permissions, may now ask a monastic to help him receive the precepts; the monastic and disciple engage in a dialog, with the monastic asking questions and the disciple answering. The monastic asks the disciple if he has paid respects to the six directions and if he has the relevant permissions; the monk will ask a series of questions that ensure the practitioner has not committed grave offenses and is both physically and mentally fit to receive the precepts.
The monastic explains the benefits of the precepts as well as the negative consequences of breaking them, asks if the disciple is prepared to accept them and remain dedicated to the Triple Gem. Next, the monastic asks the disciple if to follow additional habits to prevent breaking the precepts, to discourage others from breaking them, to avoid excessive attachment to the five skandhas. If the practitioner is prepared, the monk asks the disciple to practice all the advice for six months while remaining under the monk's regular observation. If, after six months, the disciple has upheld the precepts well, he may ask the monastic for formal taking of the precepts; the disciple will take refuge in the Triple Gem, the monastic will ensure the disciple is prepared to take on all of the precepts. If the disciple commits to accepting all the precepts, recites them with the monk he has finished his lay ordination; the chapter closes with a description of consequences of breaking the precepts and the obligations that one must take on after receiving the precepts.
Traditionally, in India, upāsakas wore white robes, representing a level of renunciation between lay people and monastics. For this reason, some traditional texts make reference to "white-robed lay people"; this practice can still be found in contemporary Theravadin temples during the occasion when a non-Buddhist converts to Buddhism or when one is observing the Eight Precepts on an uposatha day. In the Chinese tradition, both upāsakas and upāsikās are permitted to wear robes for temple ceremonies and retreats, as well as home practice. Upāsakas and upāsikās wear long sleeved black robes called haiqing, symbolic of their refuge in the Triple Jewel. A brown kasaya called a manyi worn outside the black robes is symbolic of their upholding of the precepts. Unlike monastics, they are not permitted to regularly
Dhammayuttika Nikaya, or Thammayut is an order of Theravada Buddhist bhikkhus in Thailand and Burma, with significant branches in the Western world. Its name is derived from Pali dhamma + yutti + ka; the order began in Thailand as a reform movement led by a prince who would become King Mongkut of Siam and has come to play a significant political role in Thailand as well. Dhammayuttika Nikaya began in 1833 as a reform movement led by son of King Rama II of Siam, it remained a reform movement until passage of the Sangha Act of 1902, which formally recognized it as the lesser of Thailand's two Theravada denominations, the other being Maha Nikaya. Prince Mongkut was a bhikkhu for 27 years before becoming King of Thailand; the 20 year-old prince entered monastic life in 1824. Over the course of his early meditation training, Mongkut was frustrated that his teachers could not relate the meditation techniques they were teaching to the original teachings of the Buddha, he described what he saw as serious discrepancies between the vinaya and the actual practices of Thai bhikkhus.
Mongkut, concerned that the ordination lines in Thailand were broken by a lack of adherence to this monastic code, sought out a different lineage of bhikkhus with practice, more in line with the vinaya. There are several rules in the Theravada monastic code by which a bhikkhu is "defeated" - he is no longer a bhikkhu if he continues to wear robes and is treated as one; every ordination ceremony in Theravada Buddhism is performed by ten bhikkhus to guard against the possibility of the ordination being rendered invalid by having a "defeated bhikkhu" as preceptor. Despite this, Mongkut was concerned, he made every effort to commission a phalanx of bhikkhus in Thailand with the highest probability of an unbroken lineage traceable back to the Buddha. Mongkut found a lineage among the Mon people in Thailand who had a stronger practice, he began a reform movement that would become the Thammayut order. In founding the Thammayut order, Mongkut made an effort to remove all non-Buddhist, folk religious, superstitious elements which over the years had become part of Thai Buddhism.
Additionally, Thammayut bhikkhus are expected to eat only one meal a day and the meal was to be gathered during a traditional alms round. Since his brother Rama III complained about his involvement with an ethnic minority, a monastery was built for Prince Mongkut on the edge of the city of Bangkok. In 1836, Mongkut became the first abbot of the new Wat Bowonniwet Vihara, it would become the administrative center of the Thammayut order to the present day. Soon after, Mongkut had other bhikkhus who were close to him reordain in this lineage of Mon bhikkhus. Among these were Mongkut's son Vajirañāṇavarorasa and Somdet Phra Wannarat "Thap", a grade nine Pali scholar. According to anthropologist Jim Taylor, Vajirañāṇavarorasa's autobiography tells how "Thap had differences with the somewhat more "worldly" bhikkhus at Wat Bowornniwet, which led to dissension and the movement's eventual division into four primary competing factions." In the mid-19th century these branches became so estranged that each one developed its own style of chanting and translation of Pali texts, differed on issues related to the monastic code.
It wasn't until Vajirañāṇavarorasa took control of a new phase of sangha reforms in 1892 that the administrative Thammayut hierarchy would begin to form a cohesive vision. Pusso Saa was the sangharaja. Thanissaro, a Thai-ordained forest bhikkhu, notes though that in the early-20th century, Ajahn Mun's kammaṭṭhāna lineage formed a distinct camp within the Thammayut order, at odds with Vajirañāṇavarorasa's reforms. While the Dhammayuttika Nikaya started as a Buddhist reform movement in Thailand leading to the development of the Thai forest tradition, the order has played a significant political role in Thailand as well. Since its origins, the Dhammayuttika Nikaya has been the preferred choice of the Thai government and the monarchy. Having been started by a Thai prince, the order has always had close ties to the monarchy and has played a key role in ensuring public support for the palace. Journalist Paul Handley writes that:Although the doctrinal differences between the schools had become less significant, putting Thammayut on top ensured that the sangha remained allied with the palace.
This favoritism by Thai elites for the Dhammayuttika order is most apparent in the proportion of monastic titles given to senior bhikkhus. While taking up only about six percent of the bhikkhus in Thailand, over half of Thailand's monastic titles and privileges have gone to Dhammayuttika bhikkhus, nine of the past thirteen Supreme Patriarchs of Thailand have belonged to the Dhammayuttika order; the preference by the Thai government and palace for Dhammayuttika has led to the persecution of some high ranking Maha Nikaya bhikkhus who were seen as a threat to the Dhammayuttika hierarchy or the Thai government. The most famous case was the case of Phra Phimontham, a high ranking Maha Nikaya bhikkhu known for his pro-democracy views and opposition to Dhammayuttika elitism, to become the next Supreme Patriarch of Thailand at the time. In 1962, Phra Phimontham was imprisoned and defrocked by Thailand's military junta and d
Amaravati Buddhist Monastery
Amaravati is a Theravada Buddhist monastery at the eastern end of the Chiltern Hills in South East England. Established in 1984 by Ajahn Sumedho as an extension of Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, the monastery has its roots in the Thai Forest Tradition, it takes inspiration from the teachings of the late Ajahn Chah. Its chief priorities are the training and support of a resident monastic community, the facilitation for monastic and lay people alike of the practice of the Buddha's teachings; the resident community consists of monks and male and female postulants who live in accordance with strict traditional codes of celibacy, together with a volunteer support staff and visitors. According to the monastery website, regarding the male monastic community, "Usually, there are between 15 and 25 bhikkhus and samaneras in residence, living a contemplative, mendicant life according to the Vinaya and Dhamma; the community consists of anagārikas, or white-robed postulants on the eight precepts, who after a year or two may be given samanera ordination."
The monastery's order of siladhara, or ten-precept nuns, dates from 1983. Amaravati formally opened in 1985, the site having been purchased from Buckinghamshire County Council by the English Sangha Trust the year before, its configuration of several large huts of Canadian cedar, built in extensive grounds for military purposes during World War II, had been a residential school. A purpose-built temple was opened on 4 July 1999 by Princess Galyani Vadhana, sister of the King of Thailand; the monastery's founder and abbot for most of its existence has been Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Chah's foremost disciple in the West. In Autumn 2010 he handed over to the English monk Ajahn Amaro, who for the preceding 15 years had been co-abbot of Abhayagiri Monastery in Redwood Valley, California. Amaravati has sister monasteries in England – in Devon and West Sussex – as well as monasteries in New Zealand, Italy and North America, which were founded by Ajahn Sumedho; these exist among other Western branches of Ajahn Chah's community, in addition to those in Thailand.
A new vihara in Portugal, called Sumedharama, has been founded north west near Ericeira. Amaravati's retreat centre provides meditation courses for lay people from April to December. A meditation workshop for lay visitors happens each Saturday from 2-4pm, there are family and other practice and teaching events happening at the monastery regularly. In accordance with the principle of dāna established by the Buddha, the monastery and the retreat centre are run on donations. Amaravati is near the Hertfordshire village of Great Gaddesden; the nearest towns are Hemel Berkhamsted. The mediaeval convent of St Margaret's, abolished by Henry VIII during the Dissolution of the Monasteries, was for centuries just 400 yards along the lane. Amaravati in the ancient Buddhist language of Pali means "deathless realm." The monastery includes a retreat centre offering lay retreats most of the year. Buddhism in the West Buddhism in the United Kingdom Buddhism in Europe Aruna Ratanagiri Chithurst Buddhist Monastery, UK Wat Pah Pong, Thailand Wat Pah Nanachat, Thailand Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, USA Bodhinyana Monastery, Australia Official website Amaravati at Google Maps Forest Sangha website On-line Pali Language Course Hartridge Buddhist Monastery, Devon Forest Sangha Newsletter Amaravati Buddhist Monastery Retreat Centre
Religion in Thailand
There is no official state religion in the Thai constitution, which guarantees religious freedom for all Thai citizens, though the king is required by law to be a Theravada Buddhist. The main religion practised in Thailand is Buddhism, but there is a strong undercurrent of Hinduism with a class of brahmins having sacerdotal functions; the large Thai Chinese population practises Chinese folk religions, including Taoism. The Chinese religious movement Yiguandao spread to Thailand in the 1970s and it has grown so much in recent decades to come into conflict with Buddhism. Many other people among the Isan ethnic group, practise Tai folk religions. A significant Muslim population constituted by Thai Malays, is present in the southern regions. According to official census data over 90% of Thais follow Buddhism. However, the religious life of the country is more complex than how it is portrayed by such statistics. Of the large Thai Chinese population, most of those who follow Buddhism have been integrated into the dominant Theravada tradition, with only a negligible minority having retained Chinese Buddhism.
Otherwise, a large part of the Thai Chinese have retained the practice of ethnic Chinese religion, including Taoism and Chinese salvationist religions. Despite being practised these religions have no official recognition, their followers are counted as Theravada Buddhists in statistical studies. Many Thai and Isan practise their ethnic Tai folk religion. Muslims are the second largest religious group in Thailand at 4% to 5% of the population. Thailand's southernmost provinces — Pattani, Yala and part of Songkhla and Chumphon — have large populations of Muslims, consisting of both ethnic Thai and Malay. Christians Catholics, represent just over 1% of the population. A small but influential community of Sikhs in Thailand and some Hindus live in the country's cities and are engaged in retail commerce. There is a small Jewish community in Thailand, dating back to the 17th century. According to the 2015 census, 67,328,562 Thailand residents in the different regions of the country belonged to the following religious groups: Buddhism in Thailand is of the Theravada school.
Over 90% of Thailand's population adheres to such school, though Thai Buddhism is practised alongside Chinese indigenous religions by the large Thai Chinese population, alongside Hinduism by the Thais. Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterised by tall golden stupas, the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries Cambodia and Laos, which share a cultural and historical heritage with Thailand. Many within the large Thai Chinese population practise various Chinese religions, including the worship of local gods, Chinese ancestral worship, Taoism and Chinese salvationist religions. One of the latter, spread to Thailand since the 1970s, it has grown so popular to come into conflict with Buddhism. Despite the large number of followers and temples these religions have no state recognition, their temples are not counted as places of worship, their followers are counted as "Theravada Buddhists" in released religious figures. Chinese temples are called sanchao in Thai language.
The Chinese folk religion of Thailand has developed local features, including the worship of local gods. Major Chinese festivals such as Nian and Qingming, are celebrated in Bangkok and other parts of Thailand where there are large Chinese populations; the Chinese in the city of Phuket practise a nine-day vegetarian festival between September and October. During the festive season, devotees will abstain from meat and mortification of the flesh by Chinese mediums is commonly seen; the rites and rituals are devoted to the veneration of Tua Pek Kong. Such traditions were developed during the 19th century in Phuket by the local Chinese with influences from Thai culture. Many Thais and Isan practise distinctive indigenous religions characterised by worship of local gods and ancestors, they are similar to the Chinese folk religion. Several thousand Hindus of Indian origin live in Thailand in the larger cities. Besides this group of "traditional Hindus", Thailand in its earliest days was under the rule of the Khmer Empire, which had strong Hindu roots, the influence among Thais remains today.
The popular Ramakien epic is based on the Hindu Ramayana. The former capital of Ayutthaya was named for the Indian birthplace of the Hindu god Rama. There is a class of brahmins. Brahmin rituals are still common, including the use of holy strings for blessing and pouring of lustral water from conch shells. Hindu deities are worshipped by many Thais despite their official Buddhism, statues and shrines of Brahma, Indra, Vishnu and other Hindu gods are a common sight. Another relic of Hinduism is Garuda, now a symbol of the monarchy. According to the 2015 census, Thailand has 4.29 % of the total population. 2,227,613 of these Muslims are concentrated in the southern region of the country, where they represent up to 24.33% of the population. Christianity was introduced by European missionaries as early as the 1550s, when Portuguese mercenaries and their chaplain arrived in Ayutthaya, it has played a significant role in the modernisation of Thailand, notably in social and educ
Buddhism in Thailand
Buddhism in Thailand is of the Theravada school, followed by 94.6 percent of the population. Buddhism in Thailand has become integrated with folk religion as well as Chinese religions from the large Thai Chinese population. Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterized by tall golden stupas, the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries Cambodia and Laos, with which Thailand shares cultural and historical heritage. Buddhism is believed to have come to what is now Thailand as early as 250 BCE, in the time of Indian Emperor Ashoka. Since Buddhism has played a significant role in Thai culture and society. Buddhism and the Thai monarchy has been intertwined, with Thai kings seen as the main patrons of Buddhism in Thailand. Although politics and religion were separated for most of Thai history, Buddhism's connection to the Thai state would increase in the middle of the 19th century following the reforms of King Mongkut, that would lead to the development of a royally backed sect of Buddhism and increased centralization of the Thai Sangha under the state, with state control over Buddhism increasing further after the 2014 coup d'etat.
Thai Buddhism is distinguished for its emphasis on short term ordination for every Thai man and its close interconnection with the Thai state and Thai culture. The two official branches, or Nikayas, of Thai Buddhism are the royally backed Dhammayuttika Nikaya and the larger Maha Nikaya; some scholars believe that Buddhism must have been flowing into Thailand from India at the time of the Indian emperor Ashoka of the Maurya Empire and into the first millennium after Christ. During the 5th to 13th centuries, Southeast Asian empires were influenced directly from India and followed Mahayana Buddhism; the Chinese pilgrim Yijing noted in his travels that in these areas, all major sects of Indian Buddhism flourished. Srivijaya to the south and the Khmer Empire to the north competed for influence and their art expressed the rich Mahāyāna pantheon of bodhisattvas. From the 9th to the 13th centuries, the Mahāyāna and Hindu Khmer Empire dominated much of the Southeast Asian peninsula. Under the Khmer Empire, more than 900 temples were built in Cambodia and in neighboring Thailand.
After the decline of Buddhism in India, missions of Sinhalese monks converted the Mon people and the Pyu city-states from Ari Buddhism to Theravāda and over the next two centuries brought Theravāda Buddhism to the Bamar people, Thailand and Cambodia, where it supplanted previous forms of Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism was made the state religion only with the establishment of the Sukhothai Kingdom in the 13th century; the details of the history of Buddhism in Thailand from the 13th to the 19th century are obscure, in part because few historical records or religious texts survived the Burmese destruction of Ayutthaya, the capital city of the kingdom, in 1767. Ayutthaya was the center of Thai Tantric Theravada, which included the Yogāvacara tradition, has survived in the contemporary Dhammakaya Movement; the Tantric Buddhist Yogāvacara tradition was a mainstream Buddhist tradition in Cambodia and Thailand well into the modern era. An inscription from northern Thailand with tantric elements has been dated to the Sukhothai Kingdom of the 16th century.
Kate Crosby notes that this attestation makes the tantric tradition earlier than "any other living meditation tradition in the contemporary Theravada world," predating the popular "New Burmese Satipatthana Method", better known as Vipassana meditation. The anthropologist-historian S. J. Tambiah, has suggested a general pattern for that era, at least with respect to the relations between Buddhism and the sangha on the one hand and the king on the other hand. In Thailand, as in other Theravada Buddhist kingdoms, the king was in principle thought of as patron and protector of the religion and the sangha, while sasana and the sangha were considered in turn the treasures of the polity and the signs of its legitimacy. Religion and polity, remained separate domains, in ordinary times the organizational links between the sangha and the king were not close. Among the chief characteristics of Thai kingdoms and principalities in the centuries before 1800 were the tendency to expand and contract, problems of succession, the changing scope of the king's authority.
In effect, some Thai kings had greater power over larger territories, others less, invariably a king who sought to expand his power exercised greater control over the sangha. That control was coupled with greater patronage of the ecclesiastical hierarchy; when a king was weak, however and supervision of the sangha weakened, the sangha declined. This fluctuating pattern appears to have continued until the emergence of the Chakri Dynasty in the last quarter of the 18th century. By the 19th century, with the coming to power in 1851 of King Mongkut, a monk himself for twenty-seven years, the sangha, like the kingdom, became more centralized and hierarchical in nature and its links to the state more institutionalized; as a monk, Mongkut was a distinguished scholar of Pali Buddhist scripture. Moreover, at that time the immigration of numbers of monks from Burma was introducing the more rigorous discipline characteristic of the Mon sangha. Influenced by the Mon and guided by his own understanding of the Tipitaka, Mongkut began a reform movement that became the basis for the Dhammayuttika order of monks.
Under the reform, all practices having no authority other than custom were to be abandoned, canonical regulations were to be followed not mechanically but in spirit, acts intended to improve an individual's standing on the ro
A bhikkhunī or bhikṣuṇī is a ordained female monastic in Buddhism. Male monastics are called bhikkhus. Both bhikkhunis and bhikkhus live by a set of rules; until the lineages of female monastics only remained in Mahayana Buddhism and thus are prevalent in countries such as China, Korea and Vietnam but a few women have taken the full monastic vows in the Theravada and Vajrayana schools over the last decade. From conservative perspectives, none of the contemporary bhikkuni ordinations are valid. In Buddhism, women are as capable of reaching nirvana as men. According to Buddhist scriptures, the order of bhikkhunis was first created by the Buddha at the specific request of his aunt and foster-mother Mahapajapati Gotami, who became the first ordained bhikkhuni. A famous work of the early Buddhist schools is the Therigatha, a collection of poems by elder nuns about enlightenment, preserved in the Pāli Canon. Bhikkhunis are required to take extra vows, the Eight Garudhammas, are subordinate to and reliant upon the bhikkhu order.
In places where the bhikkhuni lineage was missing or has died out, due to hardship, alternative forms of renunciation have developed. In Tibetan Buddhism, women take the vows of śrāmaṇerīs; the tradition of the ordained monastic community began with the Buddha, who established an order of Bhikkhus. According to the scriptures after an initial reluctance, he established an order of Bhikkhunis. However, according to the scriptural account, not only did the Buddha lay down more rules of discipline for the bhikkhunis, he made it more difficult for them to be ordained, made them subordinate to monks; the bhikkhuni order was established five years after the bhikkhu order of monks at the request of a group of women whose spokesperson was Mahapajapati Gotami, the aunt who raised Gautama Buddha after his mother died. The historicity of this account has been questioned, sometimes to the extent of regarding nuns as a invention; the stories and deeds of a substantial number of the preeminent Bhikkhuni disciples of the Buddha as well as numerous distinguished bhikkhunis of early Buddhism are recorded in many places in the Pali Canon, most notably in the Therigatha and Theri Apadana as well as the Anguttara Nikaya and Bhikkhuni Samyutta.
Additionally the ancient bhikkhunis feature in the Sanskrit Avadana texts and the first Sri Lankan Buddhist historical chronicle, the Dipavamsa, itself speculated to be authored by the Sri Lankan Bhikkhuni Sangha. According to Peter Harvey, "The Buddha's apparent hesitation on this matter is reminiscent of his hesitation on whether to teach at all", something he only does after persuasion from various devas. Since the special rules for female monastics were given by the founder of Buddhism they have been upheld to this day. Buddhists nowadays are still concerned with that fact, as shows at an International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha held at the University of Hamburg, Germany, in 2007. In Buddhism, women can aspire to and practice for the highest level of spiritual attainment. Buddhism is unique among Indian religions in that the Buddha as founder of a spiritual tradition explicitly states in canonical literature that a woman is as capable of nirvana as men and can attain all four stages of enlightenment.
There is no equivalent in other traditions to the accounts found in the Therigatha or the Apadanas that speak of high levels of spiritual attainment by women. In a similar vein, major canonical Mahayana sutras such as the Lotus Sutra, chapter 12, records 6000 bhikkhuni arhantis receiving predictions of bodhisattvahood and future buddhahood by Gautama Buddha. Female monastics are required to follow special rules that male monastics do not, the Eight Garudhammas; the origin of the Eight Garudhammas, the special vows taken by female monastics, is unclear. The Buddha is quoted by Thannisaro Bhikkhu as saying, "Ananda, if Mahaprajapati Gotami accepts eight vows of respect, that will be her full ordination." Modern scholars have shown that this story abounds in textual problems, cannot be a factual account. According to the scriptural accounts, the reason the Buddha gave for his actions was that admission of women to the sangha would weaken it and shorten its lifetime to 500 years; this is the only prophecy involving time in the Canon.
In Young Chung noticed that society as recorded in the Vinaya always criticized the bhikkhunis more harshly using "shaven headed strumpets or whores", whereas the bhikkhus were called "shaven headed". This harsher treatment of bhikkhunis by society required greater protection. Within these social conditions, Gautama Buddha opened up new horizons for women by founding the bhikkhuni sangha; this social and spiritual advancement for women was ahead of the times and, drew many objections from men, including bhikkhus. He was well aware of the controversy that would be caused by the harassment of his female disciples."The Vinaya does not allow for any power-based relationship between the monks and nuns. Dhammananda Bhikkhuni wrote: Nuns at the time of the Buddha had equal rights and an equal share in everything. In one case, eight robes were offered to both sanghas at a place where there was only one nun and four monks; the Buddha divided the robes in half, giving four to the nun and four to the monks, because the robes were for both sanghas and had to be divi
Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand and known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country; the capital and largest city is a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar, its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship. Tai peoples migrated from southwestern China to mainland Southeast Asia from the 11th century. Various Indianised kingdoms such as the Mon, the Khmer Empire and Malay states ruled the region, competing with Thai states such as Ngoenyang, the Sukhothai Kingdom, Lan Na and the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which rivaled each other.
European contact began in 1511 with a Portuguese diplomatic mission to Ayutthaya, one of the great powers in the region. Ayutthaya reached its peak during cosmopolitan Narai's reign declining thereafter until being destroyed in 1767 in a war with Burma. Taksin reunified the fragmented territory and established the short-lived Thonburi Kingdom, he was succeeded in 1782 by Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, the first monarch of the Chakri dynasty and founder of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, which lasted into the early 20th century. Through the 18th and 19th centuries, Siam faced pressure from France and the United Kingdom, including forced concessions of territory, but it remained the only Southeast Asian country to avoid direct Western rule. Following a bloodless revolution in 1932, Siam became a constitutional monarchy and changed its official name to "Thailand". While it joined the Allies in World War I, Thailand was an Axis satellite in World War II. In the late 1950s, a military coup revived the monarchy's influential role in politics.
Thailand became a major ally of the United States and played a key anti-communist role in the region. Apart from a brief period of parliamentary democracy in the mid-1970s, Thailand has periodically alternated between democracy and military rule. In the 21st century, Thailand endured a political crisis that culminated in two coups and the establishment of its current and 20th constitution by the military junta. Thailand is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy under a military junta. Thailand is a founding member of Association of Southeast Asian Nations and remains a major ally of the US. Despite its comparatively sporadic changes in leadership, it is considered a regional power in Southeast Asia and a middle power in global affairs. With a high level of human development, the second largest economy in Southeast Asia, the 20th largest by PPP, Thailand is classified as a newly industrialized economy. Thailand the Kingdom of Thailand known as Siam, is a country at the centre of the Indochinese peninsula in Southeast Asia.
The country has always been called Mueang Thai by its citizens. By outsiders prior to 1949, it was known by the exonym Siam; the word Siam may have originated from Pali or Sanskrit श्याम or Mon ရာမည. The names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word; the word Śyâma is not its origin, but a learned and artificial distortion. Another theory is the name derives from Chinese: "Ayutthaya emerged as a dominant centre in the late fourteenth century; the Chinese called this region Xian, which the Portuguese converted into Siam." A further possibility is that Mon-speaking peoples migrating south called themselves'syem' as do the autochthonous Mon-Khmer-speaking inhabitants of the Malay Peninsula. The signature of King Mongkut reads SPPM Mongkut Rex Siamensium, giving the name "Siam" official status until 24 June 1939 when it was changed to Thailand. Thailand was renamed to Siam from 1946 to 1948. According to George Cœdès, the word Thai means "free man" in the Thai language, "differentiating the Thai from the natives encompassed in Thai society as serfs".
A famous Thai scholar argued that Thai means "people" or "human being", since his investigation shows that in some rural areas the word "Thai" was used instead of the usual Thai word "khon" for people. According to Michel Ferlus, the ethnonyms Thai/Tai would have evolved from the etymon *kri:'human being' through the following chain: *kəri: > *kəli: > *kədi:/*kədaj > *di:/*daj > *dajA > tʰajA2 or > tajA2. Michel Ferlus' work is based on some simple rules of phonetic change observable in the Sinosphere and studied for t