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The Supreme Patriarch of Thailand or Sangharaja (Thai: สังฆราช; RTGSSangkharat) is the head of the order of Buddhist monks in Thailand. His full title is Somdet Phra Saṅgharāja Sakalamahāsaṅghapariṇāyaka (Thai: สมเด็จพระสังฆราช สกลมหาสังฆปริณายก; RTGSSomdet Phra Sangkharat Sakonlamahasangkhaparinayok; 'the Supreme Patriarch, the Head of all Members of the Sangha').

Supreme Patriarch of the Rattanakosin Kingdom
สกลมหาสังฆปริณายกแห่งกรุงรัตนโกสินทร์
Umbrella of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand.svg
Insignia of the Supreme Patriarch
Phra Maha Amborn Ambaro in 1965 (2).jpg
Incumbent
Ariyavongsagatanana IX

since 12 February 2017
StyleHis Holiness
Member ofSangha Supreme Council
AppointerKing of Thailand
and countersigned by the Prime Minister
Term lengthLifetime
Formation2325 BE (1782/83 CE)
First holderAriyavongsanana (Sri)

Ancient historyEdit

As early as the Sukhothai period (thirteenth to sixteenth centuries CE), there were city-dwelling and forest-dwelling orders, and there was more than one Supreme Patriarch appointed.[1] In modern times, however, only one position is responsible for all fraternities and orders. From 1992 to 2016, the Supreme Patriarch was chosen from the most senior member of the Supreme Sangha Council and officially endorsed by the King.[2][3] As of December 2016, the Supreme Patriarch was formally appointed by the King of Thailand and countersigned by the Prime Minister, with consultation of the Sangha Supreme Council, an administrative body of the Thai Sangha.[4] The Supreme Patriarch has legal authority to oversee both of Thailand's Theravada fraternities, the Maha Nikaya and the Dhammayuttika Nikaya, as well as the small minority of Mahayana Buddhists in the country. He is also the President of the Sangha Supreme Council.

Developments since the 2000sEdit

There has been recent discussion about reforming the Thai Sangha's leadership structure, including a 2002 proposal which would have moved many of the Sangha Council's and the Supreme Patriarch's powers to a new executive council.[5][6] However, in 2015, it seemed the junta was not pushing for new Sangha legislation after all, after the proposals led to many organized protests and heated debate.[7]

The Supreme Patriarch was Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana, who had served in this position since 1989. After suffering from increasingly serious health problems, died on 24 October 2013, aged a hundred years.[8] In 2003, because of questions about the Supreme Patriarch's ability to fulfill his duties, the government of Thailand had appointed a special committee to act in his stead. In early 2004, Somdet Kiaw Upaseṇo was appointed acting Supreme Patriarch, an office that he held until his death in 2013.

After the death of Somdet Kiaw, Somdet Chuang Varapuñño of Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen became the next acting Supreme Patriarch. Despite a nomination from the Supreme Sangha Council, his official appointment as Supreme Patriarch was stalled due a refusal of the Thai secular government to forward his nomination to the King. In December 2016, the junta passed an amendment to the Sangha Act changing the rules for appointment of the Supreme Patriarch to bypass the Supreme Sangha Council and allow the King of Thailand to appoint the Supreme Patriarch directly, with the Thai Prime Minister countersigning.[4][9][3] While proponents considered the amendment a good way for politicians to solve the problems the Sangha had not been able to solve, opponents described the amendment as "sneaky" (Thai: ลักไก่). Chao Khun Prasarn Candasaro, vice-rector of the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and assistant-abbot of Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit, stated the amendment showed a grave lack of respect for the Sangha Council's authority, because the council had not been involved in the amendment at all. He argued that the Monastic Act had always given the final decision to the King anyway, and pointed out that all conflicts about the appointment were caused by the junta's National Reform Council, not by the Sangha itself.[10][11] Finally, on 7 February 2017, Somdet Amborn Ambaro was appointed by King Rama X to serve as the next Supreme Patriarch out of five names given to him by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-Cha.[12] The appointment ceremony was held on February 12 at Wat Phra Kaew, Grand Palace.[13]

List of Supreme PatriarchsEdit

No. Portrait Name Birth name Dharma name Tenure from Tenure until Order Temple
1   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsanana I
(Sri)
Sri unknown 1782/83
2325 BE
1794/75
2337 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Rakhang Khositaram
2   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsanana II
(Suk)
Suk unknown 1794/75
2337 BE
1816/87
2359 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
3   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsanana III
(Mee)
Mee unknown 1816/87
2359 BE
1819/20
2362 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
4   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsanana IV
(Suk Nyanasamvara)
Suk unknown 1820/21
2363 BE
1822/23
2365 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
5   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsanana V
(Don)
Don unknown 1822/23
2365 BE
1842/43
2385 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Mahathat Yuwaratrangsarit
6   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsanana VI
(Nag)
Nag unknown 1843/44
2386 BE
1849/50
2392 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Ratchaburana
7   Somdet Phra
Maha Samana Chao
Kromma Phra Paramanuchitchinorot
(Prince Vasugri Suvaṇṇaraṃsi)
Prince Vasugri Suvaṇṇaraṃsi 1851/52
2394 BE
1853/54
2396 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm
8   Somdet Phra
Maha Samana Chao
Kromma Phraya Pavares Variyalongkorn
(Prince Rurk Paññāaggo)
Prince Rurk Paññāaggo 1853/54
2396 BE
1892/93
2435 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
9   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana II
(Sa Pussadevo)
Sa Pussadevo 1893/94
2436 BE
1899/1900
2442 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Ratchapradit Sathit Mahasimaram
10   Somdet Phra
Maha Samana Chao
Kromma Phraya Vajirananavarorasa
(Prince Manusyanagamanob Manussanāgo)
Prince Manusyanagamanob Manussanāgo 1910/11
2453 BE
1921/22
2464 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
11   Somdet Phra
Sangharaja Chao
Kromma Luang Jinavorn Sirivaddhana
(Prince Bhujong Jombunud Sirivaḍḍhano)
Prince Bhujong Jombunud Sirivaḍḍhano 1921/22
2464 BE
1937/38
2480 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram
12   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana III
(Phae Tissadevo)
Phae Phongpala Tissadevo 1938/39
2481 BE
1944
2487 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Suthat Thepphaararam
13   Somdet Phra
Sangharaja Chao
Kromma Luang Vajirananavongs
(Prince Chuen Navavongs Sucitto)
Mom Rajavongse Chuen Navavongs Sucitto 1945
2488 BE
1958
2501 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
14   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana IV
(Plod Kittisobhaṇo)
Plod Ketuthat Kittisobhaṇo 1960
2503 BE
1962
2505 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Benchamabophit Dusitvanaram
15   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana V
(Yoo Ñāṇodayo)
Yoo Changsopha (Sae-Chua) Ñāṇodayo 1963
2506 BE
1965
2508 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Saket
16   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana VI
(Chuan Uṭṭhāyī)
Chuan Sirisom Uṭṭhāyī 1965
2508 BE
1971
2514 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Makut Kasattriyaram
17   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana VII
(Pun Puṇṇasiri)
Pun Sukcharoen Puṇṇasiri 1972
2515 BE
1973
2516 BE
Maha Nikaya Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm
18   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana VIII
(Vasana Vāsano)
Vasana Nilprapha Vāsano 1973
2516 BE
1988
2531 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram
19   Somdet Phra
Nyanasamvara
(Charoen Suvaḍḍhano)
Charoen Khachawat Suvaḍḍhano 1989
2532 BE
2013
2556 BE
Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Bowonniwet Vihara
20   Somdet Phra
Ariyavongsagatanana IX
(Amborn Ambaro)
Amborn Prasatthaphong Ambaro 2017
2560 BE
Present Dhammayuttika Nikaya Wat Ratchabophit Sathit Maha Simaram

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Buswell, Robert E. Jr.; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2013). "Wat Mahathat". Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-15786-3.
  2. ^ "Can Thailand tolerate more than one form of Buddhism? - New Mandala". New Mandala. 1 December 2016. Archived from the original on 11 September 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Sangha Act set to pass". The Nation. 29 December 2016. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  4. ^ a b "NLA passes Sangha Act amendment bill". The Nation. 29 December 2016. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  5. ^ ยุบแล้ว กก.ปฏิรูปพุทธศาสนา สั่งปิดจ็อบ [Reform committee dissolved, task is finished]. Matichon (in Thai). 8 June 2015. pp. 8–9. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017 – via Matichon E-library.
  6. ^ ฉุนมติมหาเถรสมาคมอุ้มธรรมกาย พุทธะอิสระยกขบวนพรึบวัดปากน้ำ [Angered about decision SSC protecting Dhammakaya, Buddha Issara suddenly moves procession to Wat Paknam]. Matichon (in Thai). 23 February 2015. p. 12. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017 – via Matichon E-library.
  7. ^ มหาเถรสมาคมแจ้งให้พระหนุ่มเณรน้อยหยุดสวดมนต์ลานพระรูป [SSC tells young monks and novices not to chant at the Phutthamonthon park]. Pim Thai (in Thai). 31 March 2015. p. 7. Archived from the original on 4 February 2017 – via Matichon E-library.
  8. ^ Charuvastra, Teeranai (7 February 2017). "King Appoints New Supreme Patriarch in Surprise Announcement". Khao Sod English. Matichon Publishing. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
  9. ^ Constant, Max (29 December 2016). "Thai junta restores law allowing king to pick top monk". Anadolu Agency. Archived from the original on 30 December 2016. Retrieved 31 December 2016.
  10. ^ "{title}" สัมภาษณ์สด เจ้าคุณประสาร-ส.ศิวรักษ์ แก้พรบ.สงฆ์ [Live interview with Chao Khun Prasarn and S. Sivaraksa about amending the Monastic Act]. New TV (in Thai). 27 December 2016. Archived from the original on 10 February 2017. Retrieved 4 February 2017.
  11. ^ Dubus, Arnaud (2 January 2017). "La junte amende la loi monastique pour écarter Somdet Chuang de la direction de l'Eglise bouddhique" [The junta amends the monastic law to remove Somdet Chuang from the leadership of the Buddhist religion]. Eglises d'Asie (in French). Paris Foreign Missions Information Agency. Archived from the original on 19 March 2017. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  12. ^ PCL., Post Publishing. "Somdet Phra Maha Muniwong new Supreme Patriarch". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  13. ^ "Somdet Phra Maha Muneewong appointed new supreme patriarch". The Nation. 7 February 2017. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.

External linksEdit