Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 6

Search results for: Sangha

6 Role of Monks in Civil Society and Democracy in Thailand

Authors: Chuenaarom Chantimachaiamorn


This study is an analysis of the roles of the Thai monks i.e. the Sangha in the development of the civil society, democracy and politics in Thailand. This study may be significant for determining the relation of Buddhism and its Sangha to the Thai society and polity. This study is based upon the documentary research from the sources of Pali Scripture, historical documents, and other publications and related matter, including with the interviews concerning political thought and role of high senior monk, scholarly monks and Dhamma-espousing monk who are well known and accepted by people in general for their political role in contemporary Thai society.

Keywords: Buddhism, role, monk, Sangha, civil society, politics

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5 Between Buddha and Tsar: Kalmyk Buddhist Sangha in Late Russian Empire

Authors: Elzyata Kuberlinova


This study explores how the Kalmyk Buddhist sangha responded to the Russian empire’s administrative integration and how the Buddhist clerical institutions were shaped in the process of interaction with representatives of the predominantly Orthodox state. The eighteenth-nineteenth century Russian imperial regime adhered to a religion-centred framework to govern its diverse subjects. Within this framework, any form of religious authority was considered a useful tool in the imperial quest for legibility. As such, rather than imposing religious homogeneity, the Russian administration engineered a framework of religious toleration and integrated the non-Orthodox clerical institutions in the empire’s administration. In its attempt to govern the large body of Kalmyk Buddhist sangha, the Russian government had to incorporate the sangha into the imperial institutional establishment. To this end, the Russian government founded the Lamaist Spiritual Governing Board in 1834, which became a part of the civil administration, where the Kalmyk Buddhist affairs were managed under the supervision of the Russian secular authorities. In 1847 the Lamaist Spiritual Board was abolished and Buddhist religious authority was transferred to the Lama of the Kalmyk people. From 1847 until the end of the empire in 1917 the Lama was the manager and intermediary figure between the Russian authorities and the Kalmyks where religious affairs were concerned. Substantial evidence collected in archives in Elista, Astrakhan, Stavropol and St.Petersburg show that despite being on the government’s payroll, first the Lamaist Spiritual Governing Board and later on the Lama did not always serve the interests of the state, and did not always comply with the Russian authorities’ orders. Although being incorporated into the state administrative system the Lama often found ways to manoeuvre the web of the Russian imperial bureaucracy in order to achieve his own goals. The Lama often used ‘every-day forms of resistance’ such as feigned misinterpretation, evasion, false compliance, feigned ignorance, and sabotage in order to resist without directly confronting or challenging the state orders.

Keywords: Buddhist Sangha, intermediary, Kalmyks, Lama, legibility, resistance, reform, Russian empire

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4 Religion and Social Mobility: A Historical Study of Neovaishnavism of Srimanta Shankardeva

Authors: Satyajit Kalita


Assam from an early period has gone through various religious transformations and has witnessed its impact in different period. One of such epoch is the epoch of Srimanta Shankardeva. Srimanta Shankareva is regarded, as the greatest religious preacher and social reformer in the history of Assam. It was Shankardeva, who brought the faith of vaisnavite movement that prevailed in other parts of India. Before and during his time, the people of Assam were followers of Sakta worship, the worshipping of different gods and goddesses. People worshiped idols and offered sacrifices. Srimanta Shankardeva under the faith neo-vaishnavism and propagated the Eka-Saran-Naam-Dharm, through which spread the splendor of one and only Lord Vishnu or Krishna and abolished offering sacrifices. With the help of Eka-Saran-Naam-Dharma, Srimanta Shankardeva tries to vanish the superstitious beliefs and irrational practices of Assamese society. The NeoVaishnavite faith developed a democratic outlook which permeates the entire teachings and practices in Assamese people. His contributions not only made the foundations of Assamese literature, culture, and social structure but also established the super structures the upon. It is understood that all contributions of Srimanta Shankardeva bear his marks distinctively. Religion is said to be biggest and the most influential aspect in bringing about change in the society. In Assam, with the essence of neo-vaishnavism by Shankardeva and the emergence of the Eka-Saran-Naam-Dharma came into a huge Change to the region. The movement of religion brought about a social mobility to all sections of society. This paper is a mere initiative to look into the organizational structure of Srimanta Shankardeva Sangha and its maintenance of the ideology and principles without failure. It is aimed to examine the assimilation of different groups and communities of people under the fold of Srimanta Shankardeva Sangha.

Keywords: Neo-Vaishnavism, Srimanta Shankardeva, Srimanta Shankardeva Shangha, Eka-Saran-Naam-Dharma

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3 Buddhism and Society: The History and Contribution of Buddhist Education in Taiwan

Authors: Meilee Shen


Buddhist monks and nuns have changed within the dynamic culture of Taiwan that they find themselves in. The diverse cultures, economic development, and advanced educational levels of the island are all part of this. Buddhist education has become an interesting aspect in the history of Taiwanese Buddhism. In recent years, Buddhists in Taiwan have made significant contributions to both academic and religious studies. This paper will focus on the following questions: What is Buddhist education? How does a Buddhist education change monastic role in Taiwanese Buddhism? Finally, how has Buddhist education benefited Taiwanese society? Research indicates that Buddhist education in Taiwan possesses four features: 1. Master teaching disciple: Buddhist masters teach monastic rules to monastic disciples only. 2. Monastic education: It is mainly focused on Buddhist doctrines and sangha rules. 3. From Buddhist education to secular education: Buddhist studies were introduced into secular educational environments that were the beginning for outsiders to study Buddhism. It also opened a door to recruit young college students to enter the monastery. 4. Academic Buddhist training: Buddhist monks and nuns have begun to study at secular colleges in various programs besides Buddhist studies. In recent years, Buddhist colleges and secular universities’ religious studies programs have begun to admit overseas students due to the low birth-rate in Taiwan. Therefore, the relationship between Buddhism and Taiwanese society is dynamic.

Keywords: Buddhist college and university in Taiwan, Buddhist education, institutionalization in Taiwanese Buddhism, monastic and secular education, Taiwanese Buddhist monks and nuns

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2 The Concept of Dharma under Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh Religions: A Comparative Analysis

Authors: Venkateswarlu Kappara


The term ‘Dharma’ is complex and ubiquitous. It has no equivalent word in English Initially applied to Aryans. In Rig Veda, it appears in a number of places with different meanings. The word Dharma comes from the roots word ‘dhr’ (Dhri-Dharayatetiiti Dharmaha). Principles of Dharma are all pervading. The closest synonyms for Dharma in English is ‘Righteousness.’ In a holy book Mahabharata, it is mentioned that Dharma destroys those who destroy it, Dharma Protects those who protect it. Also, Dharma might be shadowed, now and then by evil forces, but at the end, Dharma always triumphs. This line embodies the eternal victory of good over evil. In Mahabharata, Lord Krishna says Dharma upholds both, this worldly and other worldly affairs. Rig Veda says, ‘O Indra! Lead us on the path of Rta, on the right path over all evils.’ For Buddhists, Dharma most often means the body of teachings expounded by the Buddha. The Dharma is one of the three Jewels (Tri Ratnas) of Buddhism under which the followers take refuge. They are: the ‘Buddha’ meaning the minds perfection or enlightenment, the Dharma, meaning the teachings and the methods of the Buddha, and the Sangha meaning those awakened people who provide guidance and support followers. Buddha denies a separate permanent ‘I.’ Buddha Accepts Suffering (Dukka). Change / impermanence (Anicca) and not– self (Annatta) Dharma in the Buddhist scriptures has a variety of meanings including ‘phenomenon’ and ‘nature’ or ‘characteristic.’ For Sikhs, the word ‘Dharma’ means the ‘path’ of righteousness’ The Sikh scriptures attempt to answer the exposition of Dharma. The main Holy Scripture of the Sikh religion is called the Guru Granth Sahib. The faithful people are fully bound to do whatever the Dharma wants them to do. Such is the name of the Immaculate Lord. Only one who has faith comes to know such a state of mind. The righteous judge of Dharma, by the Hukam of God’s Command, sits and Administers true justice. From Dharma flow wealth and pleasure. The study indicates that in Sikh religion, the Dharma is the path of righteousness; In Buddhism, the mind’s perfection of enlightenment, and in Hinduism, it is non-violence, purity, truth, control of senses, not coveting the property of others. The comparative study implies that all religions dealt with Dharma for welfare of the mankind. The methodology adapted is theoretical, analytical and comparative. The present study indicates how far Indian philosophical systems influenced the present circumstances and how far the present system is not compatible with Ancient philosophical systems. A tentative generalization would be that the present system which is mostly influenced by the British Governance may not totally reflect the ancient norms. However, the mental make-up continues to be influenced by Ancient philosophical systems.

Keywords: Dharma, Dukka (suffering), Rakshati, righteous

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1 Epidemiological Data of Schistosoma haematobium Bilharzia in Rural and Urban Localities in the Republic of Congo

Authors: Jean Akiana, Digne Merveille Nganga Bouanga, Nardiouf Sjelin Nsana, Wilfrid Sapromet Ngoubili, Chyvanelle Ndous Akiridzo, Vishnou Reize Ampiri, Henri-Joseph Parra, Florence Fenollar, Didier Raoult, Oleg Mediannikov, Cheikh Sadhibou Sokhna


Schistosoma haematobium schistosomiasis is an endemic disease in which the level of human exposure, incidence, and fatality attributed to it remains, unfortunately, high worldwide. The erection of hydroelectric infrastructures constitute a major factor in the emergence of this disease. In the context of the Republic of the Congo, which considers industrialization and modernization as two essential pillars of development, building the hydroelectric dams of Liouesso (19 Mw) and the feasibility studies of the dams of Chollet (600MW) in the Sangha, of Sounda (1000MW) in Kouilou and Kouembali (150MW) on Lefini is necessary to increase the country's energy capacities. Likewise, the urbanization of former endemic localities should take into account the maintenance of contamination points. However, health impact studies on schistosomiasis epidemiology in general and urinary bilharzia, in particular, have never been carried out in these areas, neither before nor after the erection of those dams. Participants benefited from an investigative questionnaire, urinalysis both by dipstick and urine filtrate examined under a microscope. Assessment of the genetic diversity of schistosoma species populations was considered as well as PCR analysis to confirm the test strip and microscopy tests. 405 participants were registered in five localities. The sampling was made up of a balanced population in terms of male/female ratio, which is around 1. The prevalence rate was 45% (55/123) in Nkayi, 10.40% (11/106) in Loudima, 1 case in Mbomo (West Cuvette), which would probably be imported, zero in Liouesso and Kabo. The highest oviuria (number of eggs per volume of urine) is 150 S. haematobium eggs/10ml in Nkayi, apart from the case of imported Mbomo, imported from Gabon, which has 160 S. haematobium eggs/10ml. The lowest oviuria was 2 S. haematobium eggs/10ml. Prevalence rates are still high in semi-urban areas (Nkayi). As praziquantel treatments are available and effective, it is important to step up mass treatment campaigns in high risk areas already largely initiated by the National Schistosomiasis Control Program. Prevalence rates are still high in semi-urban areas (Nkayi). As praziquantel treatments are available and effective, it is important to step up mass treatment campaigns in high risk areas already largely initiated by the National Schistosomiasis Control Program.

Keywords: Bilharzia, Schistosoma haematobium, oviuria, urbanization, Congo

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