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Title: บทบาทการมีส่วนร่วมในการเมืองไทยของพระภิกษุสงฆ์ ในจังหวัดเชียงใหม่
Other Titles: Participative Roles in Politics of Monks in Chiang Mai Province
Authors: รศ.ดร.ธเนศ ศรีวิชัยลำพันธ์
รศ.ดร.นิสิต พันธมิตร
ณัฐภณ บุญรอด
Issue Date: Oct-2015
Publisher: เชียงใหม่ : บัณฑิตวิทยาลัย มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม่
Abstract: The background and significance of monks representing the Buddhist intitution in Thailand could be said to have begun after the revolution in 2006 when Thailand experienced an ideological split that kept expanding until there was the taking of different sides or colors among the monks and one of the groups came out openly, which caused the Thai society to question and criticize the role of monks and whether their movement was suitable as the rules and regulations of the Council of Buddhist Elders (Mahathera Council) stated that a monk shall not get involved in politics. According to the survey of the Office of National Buddhism in 2010, there were 251,997 monks in Thailand, of which 224,960 were of the Great Buddhist Sect (Mahanikaya) and 27, 037 of the Dhammayuttika. There were 26,463 temples: 167 royal temples, 26,256 community temples, of which 25,152 temples were of the Mahanikaya and 1,311 were of the Dhammayuttika. The Sangha Administration comprised 2 parts: the Central one and the Provincial one. The Central Administration was overseen by the Council of Elders. Monks are people who observe or practice the dhamma in a monastery, but in reality, monks and laymen are constantly interacting with one another as monks have to depend on laymen for a living as the Pali phrase says: “porapatiphuttha me chiwika” meaning “our (the monks’) living depends on others.” This is because their lives have to relate to others or the lay people. This study on “Participation Roles in Thai Politics of Monks in Chiang Mai Province” has the objective of studying the roles and attitude of monks in Chiang Mai concerning their political participation, the causes and forms of political participation as well as the benefits and the concept of taking sides in politics. This study on monks and politics investigated the agreement and disagreement of the duties according to the Dhamma and the participation roles of monks. It was discovered that “monks” had carried out their duties according to the Dhamma, or the Buddhist Doctrine, and it was the Dhamma that provided the channel for monks to become involved in politics. In some communities where development projects were introduced, monks would become involved usually as leaders or initiators, which caused monks to engage in many forms of politics such as television discussions, programs, protests, rallies, talking through loudspeakers while riding on a vehicle going around the community or getting on a stage in a forum discussion and so on. The survey conducted through a sample group showed a very high level of agreement about the political rights of monks. As for the monks’ roles in political participation in Chiang Mai, the monks’ opinions were mostly of two aspects. Some agreed with the monks’ participation in a peaceful way whereas some felt that monks should not become involved in politics and that they should act as advisors about virtue and ethics and how to conduct oneself. Some felt that they should apply the Dhamma to solve political problems and gave a chance to the monks to express their political views by applying the Dhamma to handle the country’s administration. Information about the levels of knowledge and opinions and the monks’ participation and political rights showed that monks need to acquire the knowledge and skills in political communication related to communication methods and systems of SMCR (Source, Message, Channel and Receiver) as well as being open minded to listen to the state, leaders or politicians with a meritorious thought since a monk is both a priest and a citizen under the same laws of the country. In the future monks should play the role of helping the state make a “good person” in a religious dimension to be a “good citizen” of the country and the world. In principle, Buddhism can support such a development whether in terms of the 4 principles of social harmony: charity, kind speech, helpfulness, fairness; or in terms of honesty, respect, loving kindness and peacefulness. A monk should teach about the Dhamma related to politics, especially that related to admirable actions, righteousness and justice in administration. They should teach politicians or leaders to be righteous in their governance for the benefit and happiness of the people. When monks demand their political rights, we need to study the monks’ duty along with the duty according to the Dhamma and Monks’ Principles, including the intention of the constitution law concerning forbidding monks, novices to vote. Suggestions for this study include education where the government and the people promote education for monks to understand about democracy with the king as the head of state so they can teach other people about political ethics. Monks have freedom to express their political beliefs since the Dhamma does not forbid it, but their political expression has to be based on the principle of “for the benefit and happiness of the society” while being impartial and abiding in the Dhamma or righteousness and serve as the providers of wisdom to the society.
Appears in Collections:SOC: Independent Study (IS)

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