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Buddhism in Thailand

Overview of the role of Buddhism in Thailand / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Buddhism in Thailand is largely of the Theravada school, which is followed by roughly 93.4 percent of the population.[2][1][3] Thailand has the second largest Buddhist population in the world, after China,[4] with approximately 64 million Buddhists. Buddhism in Thailand has also become integrated with folk religion (Bon), Hinduism from millennia of Indian influence,[5] and Chinese religions from the large Thai Chinese population.[6][7] Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterized by tall golden stupas, and the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos, with which Thailand shares cultural and historical heritages. Thai Buddhism also shares many similarities with Sri Lankan Buddhism. Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Laos are countries with Theravada Buddhist majorities.

Quick facts: Total population, Regions with significant po...
Buddhism in Thailand
Wat Phra Kaew, one of the most sacred wats in Bangkok
Total population
c.64 million (95%) in 2015[1][2]
Regions with significant populations
Throughout Thailand
Dharma_Wheel.svg Theravada Buddhism
Thai and other languages

Buddhism is believed to have come to what is now Thailand as early as the 3rd century BCE,[8] in the time of the Indian Emperor Ashoka. Since then, Buddhism has played a significant role in Thai culture and society. Buddhism and the Thai monarchy have often been intertwined, with Thai kings historically seen as the main patrons of Buddhism in Thailand. Although politics and religion were generally separated for most of Thai history, Buddhism's connection to the Thai state would increase in the middle of the 19th century following the reforms of King Mongkut that would lead to the development of a royally-backed sect of Buddhism and increased centralization of the Thai sangha under the state, with state control over Buddhism increasing further after the 2014 coup d'état.

Thai Buddhism is distinguished for its emphasis on short-term ordination for every Thai man and its close interconnection with the Thai state and Thai culture. The two official branches, or Nikayas, of Thai Buddhism are the royally backed Dhammayuttika Nikaya and the larger Maha Nikaya.

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