Tag Archives: Thai History

Modern Thai History, 1932-2014

By: Raymond Bertheaud & Charles Saad

Thaipic3

In 1932, Thailand experienced a major and peaceful coup that caused a dramatic shift in its power structure, from monarchy to “a constitutional monarchy. King Prajadhipok initially accepted this charge but later surrendered his kingship to his 10 year-old nephew” (Zebioli 4). Subsequently, a world war erupts. Thais were historically described as an axis power during WW2 because in 1941 they invaded French Indochina to start the French Thai War. The Japanese served to mediate the conflict and brokered a deal a few months later which forced France to relinquish its claims on disputed territories. Thailand signed an agreement to support Japan provided that they return the territories lost to the British and the French. For these reasons Thailand is often branded as an axis power, although its motivations could be seen as being motivated more by anti-colonialism than aggression towards the allies.

There are a few historical events that have resulted from this period in Thailand which served to shape the outcome of the latter half of the 20th century.  Continue reading Modern Thai History, 1932-2014

Traditional Thai Medicine

By: Erin Ward & Heather Stuart

Image

Worms will not eat living wood where the vital sap is flowing;

rust will not hinder the opening of a gate when the hinges are used each day.

Movement gives health and life.

Stagnation brings disease and death.”
– proverb in traditional Chinese Medicine

(“Thai yoga history,” 2013)

The origins of traditional Thai medicine remain as mysterious as the Thai people themselves. One popular theory suggests that the Thai people migrated from China around the 8th century C.E. With neighbors such as Burma, Vietnam, and Laos, their indigenous culture is sure to have been influenced by the outside cultures of their new surroundings.  Consequently, traditional Thai medicine is extremely diverse, and is grounded in two traditions: the Folk tradition and the Royal tradition.

Continue reading Traditional Thai Medicine

Phanom-Rung

By: Lara Gallacher & Erica Houck

Why is it an important place to visit?

Khmer refers to an ancient kingdom in Southeastern Asia which, was in it’s highest power during the 11th century. Phanom-Rung is one of the most beautiful and important of the Khmer historic areas in the country of Thailand. It may have been a prototype for another significant site called Angkor Wat. The location enough provides a reason to visit as Phanom-Rung was built on top of a 1256 foot tall inactive volcano. Similarly, it has a historical importance as the resting area for pilgrims traveling from Angkor to Phimai. This Hindu temple complex represents the largest and most comprehensively restored historical park. The structures in Phanom-Rung have been well preserved by avoiding use as a battlefield and by limited overgrowth of that area. Other Khmer monuments have been largely reclaimed by the jungle but this park is neatly groomed and protected from environmental reclamation.

Significance of various parts of the park:

Main SanctuaryThere are several areas of the park that are especially important as religious, historical and architectural artifacts. The general layout of the park represents Hindu beliefs. The buildings line up all the way to the main pagoda, which represents the layout of Hindu heaven centered on Shiva. Also important historically and architecturally, are the religious carvings found on the outer surfaces of every building. These most frequently depict stories of the gods. It also has Buddhist elements from the era when it was adapted. Buddhist influences are visible in the later 17th century additions to the park including the pagoda, the stairway and the Naga bridge.

Continue reading Phanom-Rung

Politics in Thailand

By: Mary Rendon and Justin Giles

Thailand politics is something not many know a lot about, but in recent years there has been a lot of political news stemming from Thailand. Thailand is a lot like the United Kingdom in its current state of politics, but with a lot more stability issues that the United Kingdom doesn’t see. The reasons behind this are intriguing, but to understand them you first need know more of Thailand’s government as a whole. Continue reading Politics in Thailand

History of Buddhism in Thailand

By: Jane Dahle and Rob Caesar

The development of Buddhism in Thailand has a long history. In order to go into detail about its history, it is necessary to divide it into three different key periods of time, all which have greatly influenced this religion and the spiritual founder Siddhartha Gautama. These three time periods that we will look at include: Theravada, from the Asoka period; the Mahayana period; and finally, the Theravada from Sri Lanka. Siddhartha Gautama’s life accounted for his life discoveries, monastic rules practiced, and path to enlightenment, which is followed by current Buddhists.

First, we will look into the period were Buddhism first started in Thailand during the Theravada from Asoka’s period. Buddhism was introduced and established by King Asoka in Patalilbutta City during the 3rd century B.C. King Asoka sent monks out of the country to follow and learn about Buddha’s teachings. While other monks were learning the ways of Buddha, two monks stayed behind in Thailand to teach people there. During this period, the first signs of Buddhism were seen in Thailand and became very prevalent.

Since the introduction of Buddhism in Thailand, it became noticeable that these beliefs also started to spread to other areas of Asia during the Mahayana period. King Kanitsaka the Great had the intention of spreading Buddha’s teachings farther than just his kingdoms. He began to send groups of monks throughout Central Asia in order to help spread the word. Once Mahayana’s Buddhism expanded into Thailand, it became widely accepted by the people.  Mahayana’s Buddhism spread from the southern regions, to the north via the central areas of the country. This created a large multicultural society, with different dialects that still, today, inhabit the Thai language. The spread of the beliefs of Buddhism had officially begun in Thailand.

Continue reading History of Buddhism in Thailand

The History of the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Kingdoms

By: Victoria Valencia and Elinor Coleman

Thai history is said to have began in 1238, when the Sukhothai kingdom was established. The Sukhothai kingdom, which contributed major architectural structures, was a loosely organized state in which Buddhism and the government were intertwined. However, the kingdom was short-lived. It fell apart after the death of its most famous ruler, king Ramakhamphaeng. After its fall, the cities of Lopburi and Suphanburi united, creating the Ayutthaya kingdom. This kingdom, which flourished in international trade and diplomatic relations, lasted for over four centuries. Its success can be attributed to the great organizational skills of its leaders as well as the benefits of its geographical location. Unfortunately, these alliances with foreign nations led to conflict within Ayutthaya and an eventual revolt. Less than a century later, Burmese forces invaded and overthrew Ayutthaya’s government, thereby ending the great reign of the Ayutthaya kingdom.

Continue reading The History of the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Kingdoms

The Buddhist Way of Life

By: Alexandra Guinney and Tamer Begum

With over 360 million followers Buddhism is one of the world’s largest religions. It was founded in Northeastern India in 520 BC by a young prince named Siddharta Guatama. Buddhism is a religion and an applied philosophy. The faith does not endorse the existence of a soul, nor does it endorse that worldly things are permanent or the existence of worldly happiness. It goes by following the middle path which is a balance between every aspect of life.

Buddhism is a guide towards eliminating suffering through the eight-fold path that is guided by the four noble truths and the five main moral codes. The purpose for this essay is to describe the ways in which Buddhists play out their everyday lives, the steps to take towards achieving enlightenment, and ways in which we can apply this belief to our daily life and travels.

Continue reading The Buddhist Way of Life