Monotheism (was: Crushing Defeat)

jkirk jkirk at SPRO.NET
Sat Mar 11 01:05:53 UTC 2006

Yes, in Thailand for example the sangha is---but the sangha there does not 
dictate belief in the manner that some Christian institutions were/still are 
able to do over the centuries.
Buddhist sanghas don't carry out belief inquisitions. The only persons
they are able to punish, for breaking vinaya rules, are errant monastics. 
goes for Sri Lanka. The nature of the Buddhist sangha in Theravada 
at least, is that it is not a "church" in our sense of the term, with 
dogmatic rights
over all the faithful and institutions that legislate belief. Thus, for 
example in recent times, to offer but one example, the monk Buddhadasa in 
Thailand outraged some of the Bangkok samgha hierarchy with views that they 
considered unacceptable, but they could do nothing. He made his own Suan 
Mokh ashram in southern Thailand and became famous.

"Buddhism also does not have any one, central hierarchical "church" per se
from which theological doctrine issues."

Doesn't that depend on the country?  In some Southeast Asian countries the 
Sangha is very thoroughly organized.


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D., Senior Reference Librarian
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of 

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list