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Dvaravati The Earliest History of Buddhism in Thailand (6th-12th Centuries)

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Item Code: UAI115
Author: Natpiya Saradum
Publisher: Eastern Book Linkers
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788178543703
Pages: 269 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 10.00 X 7.50 inch
Weight 710 gm
Book Description
About The Book

The book proposes to present a historical account of Buddhism in the earliest period of Thailand. It is significant in regard to the roots of Thai Theravada Buddhism in the contemporary day.

The analysis of the account of the earliest Buddhism in Thailand in this book is regarding the interpretation of the epigraphy, sculptures and architecture of the Dväravati period.

Scholars have represented the periodical times of the Dväravati from different viewpoints between the 5th and 12th centuries. However, around the 5th century, it seems that little ancient evidence of the Dväravati tradition can be found. Around the 7th century, the Dväravati appeared in Chinese records as a kingdom that had a trade relationship with China. Thus, it is plausible that the Dväravati had been established for many decades before appearing in the Chinese records. In addition, there are some early Indian Buddha statues to evidence the coming of Indian tradition to central Thailand around the 4th-6th centuries. Therefore, around the 6th century, the Dväravati could have started to create their Buddhist sculptures and architecture. Furthermore, evidence of the late Dväravati tradition can be found around the 12th century from the Haripunjaya period. Therefore, I focus the research of the Dväravatī studies during the 6th -12th centuries.

About the Author

I got the inspiration to go further with academic Buddhist studies when I was a teacher of novices (samanera) at the Triam Phutthasart Kaokeaw Sadet, Prachin Buri. Fortunately, I was awarded a scholarship by the Dhammachai International Research Institute (DIRI) to complete a master's degree and PhD in Buddhist studies from the University of Sydney, Australia, and Gautam Buddha University, India, respectively.

I conducted my PhD research on the early history of Buddhism in Thailand. I found that there were several, different Buddhist influences in the region of Thailand. However, the main influence was the Buddhism that came from India. Furthermore, my field survey of certain regions of Thailand and Cambodia revealed that, in later periods, the Buddhist arts and cultures of the two countries tended to present their local styles. This book will show you how the development of early Buddhism in Thailand. It is the influences of Thai Buddhism in the contemporary day.


The Dväravati kingdom is not generally known as Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, the other two ancient kingdoms of Thailand. When it is introduced in public, there are often questions about what it is or which early period of Thailand it refers to. This is probably because there is no province or location in present-day Thailand called Dväravati, thus people are not familiar with this term. In contrast, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya are also commonly known as the names of provinces of Thailand in the contemporary day Ancient buildings can be found in these two provinces that remind people about their history. Furthermore, when talking about the modern Theravada Buddhism in Thailand, many Thai people recognize that it is the lineage of the Sri Lankan Buddhism that came to Thailand since the Sukhothai period. Thus, the name Dväravati is not only rarely known but a mystery for most people.

As scholars see it, there are various aspects about the Dvaravati. Even though it is accepted as the earliest period of Thailand that can be found from evident remains, its state, people, location, political entity and Buddhist sects are discussed from different viewpoints Probably, the discoveries of more evidence make information and analyses change all the time. Additionally, new evidence causes scholars to claim different. hypotheses. Furthermore, scholars' experiences in a particular academic field could also make differences to the results of any analysis. Therefore, Dväravati seems to produce no determining answer for its historical accounts. It is always interesting to revise the content for a more accurate account and represent it widely through the eyes of general people. In addition, to represent various hypotheses of the Dväravati must be beneficial for the further study of other scholars.

However, this book will present the Buddhist history in Thailand of the Dväravati period, which is the earliest period of Buddhism in Thailand that can be found remaining evidence. The development of Thai Theravada Buddhism in the contemporary day could have been started at least since that time. The Buddhist account of the Dväravati period here is analyzed from the its evidence of epigraphy, sculptures and architecture These analyses could help to find out which Buddhist sect was the main establishment in the earliest period of Thailand, how Buddhist propagation at that time was, what kind of Buddhist discourses has been practiced and how its sculptures and architecture were influenced There are various studies on the Dväravati history Around 247-252 CE central Thailand was one state of the Fu-nan kingdom and was called Tun-sun. The name Tun-sun', in the ancient Mon language, means "five states. The kingdom itself was a part of Suvarnabhumi and around the 2 to the mid-5 centuries, Chinese cultures were spread throughout the people of this land. Around the 7th century Dväravati became the great kingdom near the Gulf of Thailand Regarding Xuanzang's pilgrim record, the Chinese monks came to the Srikshetra kingdom and from this kingdom to the north-east there was the Kamalanka (Kia-mo-lang-kia) country. Further to the north-east, there were the Dváravati kingdom and Isänapura country. The kingdom has occupied several parts of the region that constitutes the Thailand of the contemporary day, they were Suphanburi, Nakhon Pathom, Lopburi, and Ratchaburi provinces of central Thailand The further regions are Chonburi province in the east, Kanjanaburi province in the west, Lampoon province in the north and some provinces in the Northeast (Isan). Dväravati might have flourished in the North of Isan during the 9th -11th centuries. This kingdom has extended through to the south at Yarang, Pattani province. In the north, Dväravati has extended to Lam Phun around the 11 century. The centre of the Dväravati was around the regions of U-thong, Nakhorn Pathom and Lopburi Particularly, Nakhorn Pathom was the largest region of this period. The big pagoda, Phra Pathom Chedi, and most of the Dväravati remains were discovered there. The ancient city at Nakhon Pathom could have been the centre of the period. Si Mahosot of Prachinburi province was also one of the larger cities of the Dväravati. Dväravati has appeared in the Indo-Chinese history of the 7th century because of its mention by Xuanzang in his Buddhist journey record. Dväravati might be a country that can be dated to around the 7th -11th centuries, but that there is no evidence regarding its capital city. Probably, Dväravati period could be dated around the 7th -12th centuries. Many Sanskrit and Mon inscriptions of this kingdom have been discovered. According to the evidence of the linguistic, epigraphic and historical backgrounds, Dväravati was a Mon kingdom and a Buddhist land. Those Mons originally immigrated from the lower part of Burma. However, there is no evidence to suggest any king of this land. Even though the Dväravati Buddhist arts and inscriptions are dated around the 7th century, Indian Buddhism was firstly expanded to the Dväravati around the 4th 5th centuries. According to most Pali epigraphic remains, Theravada Buddhism was the main belief while Mahayana and Brahmanism were the lesser influences. The flourishing times of Buddhism in this kingdom could be around the 5th 7th centuries and 9th 10th centuries. The foundations of the Dväravati tradition were in Indian culture.

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