Sangha Supreme Council (SSC)
21 Feb 2017
The appointment of a new supreme patriarch is an opportunity to better politics and Buddhism in Thailand. In what could be described as one of his earliest exercises of power, King Rama X has appointed Phra Somdej Maha Muneewong as Thailand’s newest Sangha Raja. After three years of vacancy, Thai Buddhists and the nation’s order of monks have got their long awaited Supreme Patriarch. But despite much celebration and fanfare, will the new Sangha Raja rescue Thai Buddhism? And what does the whole appointment process say about contemporary Thailand and its broken politics?
7 Feb 2017
Exercising his royal power under a recently amended law, His Majesty the King Tuesday named a new leader of Thai Buddhist authorities, ending years of vacancy on the ecclesiastic throne. Phra Maha Muneewong, the 89-year-old abbot of Wat Rajabopit, was named the 20th Supreme Patriarch by King Vajiralongkorn, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters after his weekly cabinet meeting. Muneewong replaced the previous patriarch who died in 2013 at 100, and the issue of his succession has been hotly debated ever since.
7 Feb 2017
After being barred from paying their respects to the late King at the Grand Palace, Bhikkhunis — female Buddhist monks in Thailand — have urged the junta leader to amend laws discriminating against female monks.
2 Dec 2016
Within Thailand’s overwhelmingly Buddhist population, the Dhammakaya version of Buddhism has amassed a huge following but also created enormous controversy, Khemthong Tonsakulrungruang writes.
26 Aug 2016
To amend woes in the new constitution, the Thai junta premier has once again enacted absolute power to issue an order aimed at patronising and protecting Buddhism and other faiths. However, experts warn the order could be used by the authorities as a license to suppress rights and liberty.
10 Mar 2015
The junta cabinet has approved a bill on religion which can be used to prosecute, with jail terms, people who propagate ‘incorrect’ versions of Buddhist doctrines or cause harm to Buddhism. The bill also posts jail terms specifically for homosexual monks.