Dhammayuttika Nikaya

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Vajirañāṇo Bhikkhu (later King Mongkut of Siam), the founder of Dhammayuttika Nikaya

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

Founding in Thailand[edit]

The Dhammayuttika Nikaya, or simply Thammayut, began in 1833 as a reform movement led by Prince Mongkut, a son of King Rama II. Thammayut 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. 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 Pali Canon and the actual practices of Thai monks, 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 monks were expected to eat only one meal a day (not two) and the meal was to be gathered during a traditional alms round.

The Thammayut Nikaya has produced two particularly highly revered forest monks: Phra Ajahn Sao Kantasilo Mahathera (1861–1941) and Phra Ajahn 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: śarīra-dhātu) in various hues of translucency and opacity.

The previous Supreme Patriarch of Thailand, Somdet Phra Nyanasamvara Suvaddhana, was a member of the Thammayut Nikaya. He died on October 24'th 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, the Khmer King Norodom invited Preah Saukonn Pan, also referred to as Maha Pan, a Khmer monk educated in the order of Thailand's now King Mongkut, to establish a branch of the Dhammayuttika order in Cambodia.[3][4] Maha Pan became the first Supreme Patriarch of the Cambodian Dhammayuttika lineage, residing at Wat Botum Vaddey, a new temple erected by the king specifically for the Dhammayuttika monks.[3] The Dhammayuttika Nikaya in Cambodia benefited from royal patronage, but it 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 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 monks 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]

Dhammayuttika Nikaya Mahayin sect in Myanmar[edit]

It was established by Ven. Buddhavamsa whose layman name was MH Yin. As he was well known by his name as a layman, the group of his followers received the name of Mahayin (Great Yin) Sect. As Saydaw was a descendant and follower of Dhaammayuttika-nikaya Sect in Thailand, the group who joined him was named Dhammayuttika Nikaya Sect. He was a Thai citizen, and he studied Pariyatti-dhamma (Scriptural Learning) in Thailand. He passed the Pariyatti examinations annually held in Thailand. After he passed the various grades of examinations, he finally passed the highest examination, Master level, with outstanding grade. He received the title of "Maha" conferred by Head of Samgha, i.e., Samgharaja of Thailand. So he was named Mahayin Thera. In Thailand, Saydaw carried out the religious tasks distinctively by teaching the Pariatty-dhamma and preaching the doctrine and, as a result, he was conferred with the title of "Bratrasaranadhaja" by the king of Thailand. Since then, he was popularly known as Mahayin Saydaw. In 1864 A.D., he left Thailand for Myanmar to carry out the missionary work in Mon State. He settled in Katoe village, six miles away from Mawlamyaing Township. In 1866 A.D., he established the Mahayin Monastery, and then many student monks came from surrounding places such as Chaungzon, Mawlamyaing, Mudon Townships, etc., and approached him for learning the Paryatti-dhamma. As the number of student monks increased more and more, he decided to form the separate sect based on his former sect Dhammayuttika-nikaya in Thailand. He named his sect as Dhammayuttika-nikaya Sect. But it was well known by the name of "Mahayin Sect".[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. ^ Dr. Hla Myint - Historical Backgrounds and Different Doctrines of the Nine Sects of Samgha in Myanmar


  • 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 

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