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Thammayutika Nikaya

Doctrines Thammayutika means "adherence to the dharma". The order sought to enforce a strict adherence to the teachings of monastic Discipline (vinaya). Thus, daily practices, preaching and rituals were reformed so that non-canonical accretions were r emoved. Monastic practices and dress were changed so that the bowl was held correctly, Pali was pronounced correctly and that both shoulders rather than just one was covered. This was done in imitation of the Mon practice, which was considered to represent a purer form of Buddhism than that of 19th century Thailand.
At the same time the order sought to promote a demythologised form of Buddhism and, in so doing, to demonstrate the rational and scientific character of Buddhism. This is exemplified by the order's rejection of traditional Theravadin cosmology because it could not be verified empirically.

History The Thammayutika Nikaya was established in Thailand in about 1833 in the context of the process of reform implemented by Mongkut (1804-68), the son of King Rama II, who became a monk shortly before his father's death and king of Thailand in 1851 . Mongkut wanted to reform Thai Buddhism and to remove the perceived impurities that had crept into the traditions. Mongkut's instrument for achieving this was the Thammayut Nikaya. This was not intended to be a distinct sect but a part of the Thai Sangha. Initially the Thammayut order had been confined to two monasteries. However, during Mongkut's reign (1851-1868) the order spread into Laos and Cambodia.
Mongkut's successor was his son Chulalongkorn (r.1868-1910). During Chulalongkorn's reign the Thammayutika acquired the status of a distinctinct sect but continued to work within the Sangha and sought to reform it. This was done in part through founding higher educational facilities for monks.
Chulalongkorn's brother, Prince Wachirayan, became a monk in 1879 when he was twenty years old. In 1893 Wachirayan became head of the Thammayutika order. Wachirayan defined the progressive nature of the order through writing a systematic theology which depicted a demythologised Buddhism. He also reformed monastic education and was instrumental in unifying the Thai Sangha and placing it under the control of a centralised authority.
The 20th century has seen the decline in power of the Thammayut and the growing influence of the Mahanikay Nikaya. In order to compensate for this the Thammayutika order has sought to preserve its power through allying itself with the government and the military.

Symbols Temples, pagodas, images of the Buddha.

Adherents The Thammayutika Nikaya controls 1,502 of the monasteries in Thailand (Harris 1992, 349).

Main Centre
 Wat Bovonniwet.