The Dhammakāyānussati-kathā: A Trace of “Siam's Borān Buddhism” from the Reign of Rāmā I (1782-1809 CE.)
The Dhammakāya text genre appears in manuscripts, inscriptions, and printed texts found in Central Thailand, Northern Thailand, and Cambodia. Texts belonging to this genre share the same core Pāli verses, and date back to the Ayutthaya period. In this thesis, I transliterate, translate, contextualise and analyse the Dhammakāyānussati-kathā, “Words on the Recollection of the Body of Dhammas,” which was part of the Suat Mon Plae, a collection of Buddhist chanting rituals compiled during the 1st reign (1782-1809), using a historical-critical approach to the text. The Dhammakāyānussati-kathā consists of verses composed in Pāli followed by the Thai translation, using a traditional method called yok sab. The first three parts of the Dhammakāyānussati-kathā share the core Pāli verses of the Dhammakāya text genre, but the final section, which praises the Buddha’s physical body, is different. The Pāli vers-es describe the Buddha’s auspicious marks including radiance, hair, height, etc., verses that are also found in the Golden Manuscript Braḥ Dhammakāya, a text that can be dated to the 1st reign. Today, the Dhammakāyānussati-kathā is not well-known in Central Thailand, but its similar texts are still used in Northern Thailand and Cambodia during buddhābhiṣeka and the ritual of installing the Buddha’s heart into a Buddha statute and chedī. The Dhammakāyānussati-kathā along with other texts belonging to the Dhammakāya text genre disappeared during the 5th reign (1868-1910), when the royal chanting curriculum was reformed under Supreme Patriarch Sā in 1880, and Siam’s Tipiṭaka was revised during the 10th Saṇgāyanā in 1893. I conclude that the disappearance of the Dhammakāyānussati-kathā is evidence for the suppression of Siam’s “Borān” Buddhism during the 5th reign in response to modernist concerns about canonicity and textual authenticity.
Advisor: Guthrie, Elizabeth; Sweetman, Will
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: Religious program
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Dhammakāyānussati-kathā, Buddhābhiṣeka, Borān Kammaṭṭhāna, Rāmā I
Research Type: Thesis