Wat Tampa In English

What's Happening at Wat Tampa

WatTampaInEnglish is the unofficial web site for Wat Tampa (Wat Mongkolratanaram)

Dogs are welcome at the Sunday Market but please don't bring them onto the deck where the food is served.

The Sunday Market is held every Sunday, come rain or shine, from about 8:30am until 1:00 pm. Some booths may run out of food earlier. Come join us for great food & view in a family friendly setting!

Interested in meditation workshop? Open the Meditation menu and select 2017 Meditation Workshops for a list of dates. Signup forms are available in the Temple. You can also sign-up at the workshop.

Click here to learn more about the Buddha Learning Group. The discussion group meets every Sunday in the main Temple between 11:30am and 12:30pm. On the second Sunday of each month we have a more formal session on Buddhism.

Click here to see some interesting information about Wat Tampa!

Click here to learn more about Wat Tampa. Even frequent visitors may find something interesting on this page! Opens in a new window!

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The following is from "An Overview of Cultural History in Thailand" by Chamnong Tongpraset

 

Before Buddhism spread to the land now called "Thailand", the people in this area adhered to animism and later Brahmanism, particularly Saivaism which in those days spread all over what is now Cambodia,

According to the history, in {tooltip}273 B.E. / 270 B.C.{end-link}B.E (or B.C.E refers to Before the Common Era; B.C. stands for Before Christ; for reference Buddha was born about 583 B.C.E.{end-tooltip}, there came to the throne of India one of the greatest men in history, King Asoka, the first Emperor who ruled India for more than 40 years.In the early years of his reign, he invaded and conquered Kalinga, a country of brave people in southern India. The horrors of this conquest made him so remorseful over the suffering of the people that he gave up war completely. And it was at this time that King Asoka became converted to Buddhism. From this moment he adopted the policy of {tooltip}Dharmavijaya{end-link}Conquest by righteousness or conquest of men's hearts by the law of Duty or Piety{end-tooltip} in place of {tooltip}Sangamavijaya{end-link}Conquest by war{end-tooltip}, and spent the rest of his life promoting Dharma or the law of Piety through out his great empire. He was changed from Candasoka, or Asoka the Fierce, to Dharmasoka, or Asoka the Righteous, whose example all later great kings tried to follow {tooltip}1{end-link} Phra Rajavaramuni (Prayudh Payutto), Thai Buddhism in the Buddhist World, Bangkok: Mahachulalongkorn Alumni Association, B.E. 2527 / 1984 C.E. pp. 28-9{end-tooltip}.

In accordance with this policy of piety, King Asoka had his edicts inscribed on rocks and pillars which were scattered everywhere throughout his empire to carry the message to his people.In the 18th year of his reign, the Third Buddhist Council was held under his patronage at {tooltip}Pataliputra (modern Patna){end-link}The modern city of Patna is situated on the southern bank of the Ganges in the state of Bihar in eastern India. The city also straddles the rivers Kosi, Sone and Gandak and Punpun.{end-tooltip}, his capital, with the object of purging the {tooltip}Sangha{end-link}(lit. "group, assembly") is usually used in one of two ways: it refers either to the community of ordained monks or to the community of "noble ones" — persons who have attained at least stream-entry, the first stage of Awakening.{end-tooltip} of heretics and preserving the pure teachings of the Buddha.

 After the Council, nine missions of elders were sent to preach the Dharma in various states and foreign countries. Of these, the mission headed by the elder Mahinda, his son, carried the Message of Buddhism to Ceylon, and the other mission headed by elders Sona and Uttara were sent to Suvarnabhumiwhich some scholars identified with Nakhom Pathom province in Central Thailand {tooltip}2{end-link}Phra Rajavaramuni. Op. Cit., p29{end-tooltip}

Looking back on Thai history, it may be seen clearly the close relationship between Buddhism and the Thai nation.


The Thai nation settled firmly in present-day Thailand more than 700 years ago, and also it adopted the present form of Buddhism since then. Buddhism has been the state religion of Thailand. Under the constitution, the King as a symbol of the nation, although a protector of all religions, must be a Buddhist. Around 95 percent of the Thai population is Buddhist. Buddhism has a deep influence in all kinds of Thai culture such as Thai arts, tradition, architecture, sculpture, painting, drama, learning, and the character of the people.In has modeled their manner of thinking and acting. In short, it has become an integral part of Thai life.{tooltip}3{end-link}Ibid. p. 11.{end-tooltip}

Around B.E. 1800/{tooltip}1257 C.E{end-link}1257 A.D.{end-tooltip}, King Ramkhamheang the Great of Sukhothai brought Buddhist monks from Nakhom Si Thammarat in the south to propagate Ceylonese Buddhist in Sukhothai, the capital of Thailand in the north. Since then the Ceylonese Buddhism spread all over the country. Every Thai king is a devout Buddhist and great patron of Buddhism. In the reign of King Taksin the Great of Thonburi, after his liberation of the country from the yoke of Burma in B.E. 2310/{tooltip}1767 C.E.{end-link}1767 A.D.{end-tooltip}, he gave the country for Buddha-Puja or Buddhist adoration. And King Phraphutthayotfa or King Rama 1 of {tooltip}Cakri{end-link}Most texts spell the dynasty name as Chakri{end-tooltip} Dynasty of Krung Thep (Bangkok) had also an intention to be a Great Patron of Buddhism.

King Ramkhamheang of Sukhothai withhis court and all of his magnates, practiced the religion of Buddha with devotion. King Mahadharmaraja Lithai, Ramkhamheang's grandson, who reigned in Sukhothai during B.E. 1860-1890/1317-1347 C.E., was a devout Buddhist scholar and he composed a large treatise on Buddhist cosmology called "Traibhumikatha" or Traiphum Phra Ruang" this was the first literature book written in the Thai language{tooltip}4{end-link}Hall, D.G.E. A History of South-East Asia, New York: St. Martin's Press Inc., 1955, p. 150.{end-tooltip}

During Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods, there were a number of Thai monks who travelled to Ceylon to study Pali Buddhism. Those who were ordained and graduated in Ceylon were revered and honoured by the kings, as well as the Thai people, as great scholars or learned monks. Many of them were well versed in the Palilanguage and wrote a great deal of books on Buddhism as well as the history of Buddhism and Thai history. Many of the books were written in a native script both in the Pali language as well as in the native one of their time.


In former days, the education of Thai people was in the hands of the Buddhist monks. "Wat" (the temples) were the center of Thai education. There were no lay schools at all. When Thai men were young, they served as temple boys in the temples and were given instruction in reading, writing, and simple arithmetic as well as in Buddhism and morals. Every Thai man who is 20 years of age, is expected to be ordained as a monk for at least three months in the rainy season. Many of them were ordained as novices to study Dharama and the Pali language before becoming a monk. During their novicehood or monkhood, they must study Buddhism, both Vinaya and Dharma, to become good Buddhists. In studying Dharma in general as well as as Dharma of the leity for preparing themselves to be good lay Buddhist after leaving novicehood or monkhood. If they stay in novicehood or monkhood, they study higher Dharma and Pali language. Some of remain in monkhood for life. The Thai society respects one who was ordained as a monk even for a while. After leaving monkhood, they are call "thit" which words from the Pali word "Pandita" or learned man. In former days, the parents of women usually did not give their daughter to marry a man who was never ordained as a monk. An unordained man is usually called "Khon Dip" or an unripe man, and the ordained one is "Khon Suk" or the ripe one. In addition, it is believed than an ordained son may give much merit from his ordination to his parents bothstill alive and deceased. This is a good way of influencing Thai people with the Buddha-Dharma. Even Thai kings have been ex-novices or ex-monks. All kings of {tooltip}Cakri{end-link}Most texts spell the dynasty name as Chakri{end-tooltip} Dynasty were ordained as monks for a while. King Phrachomklao or King Rama IV was a monk for 27 years.

 Throughout traditional ordination which is still observer today, the Thai people are bound to the Order by ties of experience or close relationship with the monks who are their former sons, relatives, or friends. They live in the Buddhist environment in which they are linked with the religion by custom, by attending religious rites, ceremonies and temple festivals, or by benefiting, either directly or indirectly, from some activities and spiritual influence of the religious institution. Buddhism is their national heritage, the glory of their country which, they feel bound to preserve. Their cycle of life turns around activities directly or indirectly connected to Buddhism.{tooltip}5{end-link}Phra Rajavararamuni. Op. Cit., p. 13{end-tooltip}

To be continued ...

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