What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

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What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:13 am

What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

What distinguishes them from other Theravada orders?
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Re: What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

Postby rowyourboat » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:12 pm

Theravada is delightfully free of lineage exclusivity!
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Re: What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

Postby Ytrog » Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:35 pm

What about the nikayas in Thailand then?
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Re: What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

Postby Phra Chuntawongso » Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:07 pm

Theravada has various Nikayas or groups.The difference being largely how the monastic code is used.
Here in Thailand the two main groups are the Maha Nikaya and the Dhammayuttika Nikaya.
Other Nikayas will be found in countries like Sri Lanka.
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Re: What are the names of the various Theravada Lineages?

Postby Sylvester » Sun Jan 23, 2011 4:42 am

Hi Venerable

I think we need to have a deeper appreciation of what the "Mahanikai" really means in the context of Thai ecclesiastical laws. It's a melange, and not a monolithic grouping.

It's not a Vinaya innovation, but a product of Thai civil laws. Beginning with King Rama IV, a civil law distinction was drawn between (i) the new lineage that centred around Wat Boworn (specially built by Rama III for where the Prince Mongkut practised) and (ii) the "rest". The "rest" was just classed as "Mahanikai" for convenience. I don't think it would have served any of the "State Buddhism" agenda of the Bangkok royals to identify each Mahanikai sub-type (eg the Laotian lineage, the Lanna lineages, the Lopburi, the Nakhon Sithammarat etc), not especially when traces of the old kingdoms would have been connected to these lineages which had some "national" affiliation.

But, perhaps after a century of enforcing this artificial distinction, the differences between the various "Mahanikai" sub-types would have begun to look less pronounced. Yet, I still see some persistence, particularly in the regional iconographies, where "preference" for certain iconographical features of the palladia of the old kingdoms show up in how the Buddha images are cast.

In any event, I even suspect that much of Thai Buddhist lore cannot be ultimately accounted for by a pure Theravada provenance. Think of one of the 3 variants of the "Monday Buddha", and you'll have to dip into the Sarvastivadin Agamas for that legend. Likewise for the Phra Sangkachai myth.
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