A Brief Introduction to Thai Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism has been the predominant religion in Thailand since early recorded history. The inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (1292) mentions that a monk from the southern province of Nakorn Sri Dhammaraja — who had studied the Pali Buddhist Canon (or Tipitaka) from beginning to end — lived at the Forest Temple in the kingdom of Sukhothai and was the Supreme Patriarch (Pali sangharaja) of the monkhood. This statement is one of the earliest statements used by a king to “legitimize” his right to rule in accordance with Buddhist righteousness.

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