Dhammayuttika Nikaya

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Vajirañāṇo Bhikkhu, later King Mongkut of the Rattanakosin Kingdom, founder of the Dhammayuttika Nikaya

The Dhammayuttika Nikaya or Thammayut Nikaya (Thai: ธรรมยุติกนิกาย, ธรรมยุต; Khmer: ធម្មយុត្តិក និកាយ) is an order of Theravada bhikkhus or Buddhist monks in Thailand and Cambodia. Its name is derived from the Pali dhamma ("teachings of the Buddha") + yutti (in accordance with) + ka (group).

Thai Forest Tradition (Dhutanga Kammatthana)
Thai Squiggle.png

Kammatthana Meditation

Forest Austerities

Founding in Thailand[edit]

The Dhammayuttika Nikaya or Thammayut began in 1833 as a reform movement led by Prince Mongkut, 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.[1]

Prince Mongkut was a bhikkhu (ordination name: Vajirañāṇo) for 27 years (1824–1851) before becoming the King of Siam (1851–1868). In 1836 he became the first abbot of Wat Bowonniwet Vihara. After the then 20-year-old prince entered monastic life in 1824, he noticed what he saw as serious discrepancies between the rules given in the Pāli Canon and the actual practices of Thai bhikkhus and sought to upgrade monastic discipline to make it more orthodox. Mongkut also made an effort to remove all non-Buddhist, folk religious, and superstitious elements which over the years had become part of Thai Buddhism.[2] Thammayut bhikkhus are expected to eat only one meal a day (not two) and the meal was to be gathered during a traditional alms round.

The Dhammayuttika Nikaya has produced two particularly highly revered forest monks: Ajahn Sao Kantasīlo (1861–1941) and Mun Bhuridatta (1870–1949). After their cremations, the bone fragments were distributed to various people and Thai provinces and have since, according to their followers, transformed into crystal-like relics (Pali: sarīradhātu) in various hues of translucency and opacity.

The previous Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana, was a member of the Dhammayuttika Nikaya. He died on October 24th 2013.

The next Supreme Patriarch of Thailand has yet to be determined.

Dhammayuttika Nikaya in Cambodia[edit]

Samdech Preah Sanghareach Bour Kry, the current Supreme Patriarch of the Dhammayuttika order of Cambodia.

In 1855, King Norodom of Cambodia invited Preah Saukonn Pan, also referred to as Maha Pan, a Khmer bhikkhu educated in the Dhammayuttika Nikaya, to establish a branch of the Dhammayuttika order in Cambodia.[3][4] Maha Pan became the first Sangharaja of the Dhammayuttika lineage, residing at Wat Botum, a new temple erected by the king specifically for Dhammayuttika monks.[3] The Cambodian order benefited from royal patronage but was also sometimes regarded with suspicion due to its ties to the Thai monarchy.[3]

The Dhammayuttika order in Cambodia suffered greatly under the Khmer Rouge, being particularly targeted because of its perceived ties to monarchy and a foreign nation, in addition to the Khmer Rouge's general repression of the Buddhist hierarchy in Cambodia.[5] Between 1981 and 1991, the Dhammayuttika Nikaya was combined with the Cambodian Mohanikay in a unified sangha system established under Vietnamese domination.[6] In 1991, King Norodom Sihanouk returned from exile and appointed the first new Dhammayuttika Sangharaja in ten years, effectively ending the policy of official unification.[6] The Dhammayuttika continues to exist in Cambodia, though its monks constitute a very small minority. On issues such as the role of bhikkhu in HIV/AIDS treatment and education, the current Sangharaja, Bour Kry has adopted a more liberal position than the Mohanikay head Tep Vong, but is less radical than that of certain Engaged Buddhist elements of the Mohanikay order.[7]

Dhammayutti Mahayin Gaing in Burma[edit]

The Dhammayutti Mahayin Gaing (Pali: gaṇa "group, association") has its origins as "a late nineteenth-century Mon reform tradition [that] traces its lineage to the Thai Thammayut order."[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Buddhism in Contemporary Thailand, Prof. Phra Thepsophon, Rector of Mahachulalongkorn Buddhist University. Speech at the International Conference on Buddhasasana in Theravada Buddhist countries: Issue and The Way Forward in Colombo, Sri Lanka, January 15, 2003, Buddhism in Thailand, Dhammathai - Buddhist Information Network
  2. ^ Ratanakosin Period, Buddhism in Thailand, Dhammathai - Buddhist Information Network
  3. ^ a b c (Harris 2001, p. 83)
  4. ^ (Keyes 1994)
  5. ^ (Harris 2001, p. 84)
  6. ^ a b (Harris 2001, p. 75)
  7. ^ (Harris 2001, p. 87)
  8. ^ Buswell, Robert E Jr., ed. (2013). Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 309. ISBN 978-0691157863. 


  • Harris, Ian (August 2001), "Sangha Groupings in Cambodia", Buddhist Studies Review (UK Association for Buddhist Studies) 18 (I): 65–72 
  • Keyes, Charles F. (1994), "Communist Revolution and the Buddhist Past in Cambodia", Asian Visions of Authority: Religion and the Modern States of East and Southeast Asia, Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai`i Press, pp. 43–73 

External links[edit]