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Saṃgha Administration Act


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Thailand

Mongkut (1804—1868)

 

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A legal measure popularly known as the ‘Saṃgha Law’, drafted and enacted in Thailand in 1902 by Prince Wachirayān (Vajirañāṇavarorasa), a son of King Mongkut and brother of King Chulalongkorn. The law sought to integrate the Saṃgha throughout Thailand and provide a central administration and single ecclesiastical authority. It provided for a nationally organized system of education so that monastic teaching and procedures relating to ordination could be standardized. Abbots of monasteries were henceforth to be appointed by government officials, or the king. The implementation of the law took many years but was well under way by Prince Wachirayān's death in 1921. As a consequence of these reforms Thailand emerged from the colonial period with a strong and unified national Saṃgha. The model was emulated in Laos and Cambodia, although adapted to the colonial context of those countries.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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