Dharmacakra excavated in Surat Thani

Matichon, 23 May 2017: Archaeologists in Thailand have uncovered a dharmacakra (Buddhist wheel of law) during an excavation in Surat Thani. Article is in Thai.

Source: สำนักศิลปากรที่ 12 ขุดพบ ‘ธรรมจักรศิลา’ ชิ้นใหม่ที่เขาศรีวิชัย

Villagers renovating long-abandoned temple in Nakhon Sawan

Villagers in Thailand’s Nakhon Sawan province attempt to revive an abandoned temple

NAKHON SAWAN — An old Buddhist temple, long abandoned and left to ruin, is being renovated by local people for use as a meditation centre, near Ban Nasan village in tambon Nong Kradon of Muang district.

Source: Villagers renovating long-abandoned temple | Bangkok Post: news

NSC-ISEAS Visiting Fellowship in Buddhist Studies

Visiting Fellowship position open in Singapore focusing on Buddhist archaeology in Southeast Asia. Deadline is 31 March 2016.

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Visiting Fellowship at the Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore

The Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre (NSC) of ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute (ISEAS) in Singapore pursues research on historical interactions among Asian societies and civilizations prior to the 17th century. NSC is now accepting applications for Visiting Fellowship positions from scholars at all ranks who wish to undertake research and writing under the following themes:

1. Buddhist History in Southeast Asia
2. Buddhist Links and Networks between Southeast Asia and other Asian countries
3. Buddhist Archaeology, Material Culture and Art in Southeast Asia

The Visiting Fellowship will be for one year, with a possibility of extension. Post-doctoral applicants are also welcome but should have graduated with a PhD no longer than three years prior to their successful appointment at NSC.

Commencement date will be from June 2016.
More details here.

Lecture: Life of the Buddha in the oldest Thai illustrated manuscripts

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this lecture happening this evening at the Jim Thompson House.

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Life of the Buddha in the oldest Thai illustrated manuscripts
A lecture by Professor Baas Terwiel.
Date: Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Time: 5 – 7 p.m.
Venu: Ayara Hall, The Jim Thompson House Museum Compound

The legends surrounding the life of Siddhartha Gotama, also known as the Buddha, have inspired an immense artistic output in all Buddhist countries. In this lecture Professor Terwiel will focus on depictions on paper folding books from Thailand, in particular material from the oldest preserved Thai picture books:samutphap traiphum (สมุดภาพ ไตรภูมิ), or the Picture Books of the Three Worlds. He will look at how the major events of the Buddha’s life were thematized, and he will also address matters of style. Then he will tentatively formulate some principles of Thai iconography and characteristics of the Thai visual arts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries A.D.

Professor Terwiel will conduct his lecture in English.”, but a Thai translation will be handed out.

Prior to his retirement in 2006, Baas Terwiel was Professor of Thai and Lao Languages and Literatures at the University of Hamburg, having previously taught in Canberra, Munich and Leiden. In the late 1960s, he conducted fieldwork on Buddhism in rural Thailand and, since then, has published extensively on many aspects of Thai history, religion and politics. His publications included Monks And Magic. An Analysis of Religious Ceremonies in Central Thailand (1976), reprinted for the fourth time in 2012, Thailand’s Political History. From the 13th Century to Recent Times (2011) “Siam”. Ten Ways to look at Thailand’s Past (2012)

Buddhist culture museum opens in Vietnam

A new museum featuring the Buddhist culture of Vietnam has opened in Da Nang.

The Buddhist Culture Museum in Da Nang. Source: Viet Nam News 20151225
The Buddhist Culture Museum in Da Nang. Source: Viet Nam News 20151225

Buddhist museum opens to public
Viet Nam News, 25 December 2015

The first Buddhist Culture Museum in the country was opened yesterday at the city’s Quan The Am (Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva) Pagoda with an exhibition of over 500 Buddhist antiques.

The museum, which covers over 500sq.m, also has ancient documents, statues and sculptures relating to Buddhism from the 19-20th centuries on show.

“It’s been a great effort by archaeologists, experts and monks at the pagoda to build the first ever Buddhism museum in Viet Nam with an extensive collection of statues and other exhibits,” said historian and deputy general secretary of the Viet Nam Scientific History Association, Duong Trung Quoc.

Full story here.

Ayutthaya temple in Pattaya to be restored

Funds have been raised and plans are in place to restore an ancient temple dating to the Ayutthaya period in eastern Thailand. The news article has a short video on the temple as well.

Restoring ancient temple
Pattaya People, 28 April 2015

Plans are afoot to go ahead and restore an ancient Buddhist temple located in Banglamung district after many attempts by local residents for authorities to bring the building back to its former glory. Already, a sum of 900,000 baht has been raised for the project from local and social network contributions. On the morning of Sunday, 26th April officers from the Thailand Fine Art Department paid a visit to the temple, which is believed to have been constructed during the Ayutthaya period in Siamese/Thai history that existed from 1351 to 1767. For some unknown reason the temple was abandoned and is now almost a ruin. If approved, then reconstruction could commence within 60 days.

Full story here.

A historical guide to one of Bangkok’s canals

A Bangkok Post feature on the historic Krung Kasem canal, which is quite near my workplace, and all the notable sights along it. At the end of the canal is the 600-year-old Wat Thewarat Kunchorn, which is just outside my workplace!

Wat Yuan Saphan Khao. Source: Bangkok Post 20150423
Wat Yuan Saphan Khao. Source: Bangkok Post 20150423

Streaming with history
Bangkok Post, 23 April 2015

Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem is likely to become one of Bangkok’s major transportation routes once again due to government support, and this may also benefit tourism. Building of the canal was commissioned by King Rama IV in 1851 to serve as the outer city moat. It runs in parallel with the first and second tiers of the city moat — Khlong Khumuang Doem and Khlong Rob Krung.

Wat Thewarat Kunchorn was a civil temple built during the Ayutthaya period and called Wat Samor Khraeng, or Thamor Khraeng. The word Thamor is a Khmer word meaning stone. In the reign of King Rama IV, the temple was renamed after the name of Prince Phitakdeves, who restored it. Its ordination hall houses the principal Buddha statue, Phra Phutthadevaraj Patimakorn, which is in the posture of subduing the Mara. Made in the Dvaravati period, it consists of metal and is covered with gold lacquer. On the interior walls are beautiful murals including the gathering of the Deva (guardian spirits), the Lord Buddha’s previous life as Phra Suvarnasam and monks looking at dead bodies. Behind the principal Buddha statue is the painting of this temple in the past before this ordination hall was constructed. Phra Vihara (prayer hall) enshrines nine Buddha statues of nine periods.

“This canal was dug with the aim of expanding the city,” said Rapeepat Ketkosol, an official at Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s (BMA) tourism division. According to him, the canal is about 6km long. It was 3m deep initially, but grew shallower over time. It is now just over 2m deep.

On April 1 this year, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha ordered the BMA to seek to develop Khlong Phadung Krung Kasem as a transportation and tourism route.

Full story here.

CFP: Emergence of Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia: Southeast Asian Perspectives

SOAS is organising a symposium on Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia in July and the call for papers is now open. Bursaries for living and travel expenses are available to selected applicants. Deadline is 15 March 2015.

SOAS Emergence of Theravada Buddhism
SOAS Emergence of Theravada Buddhism

The Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme at SOAS invites papers for a symposium entitled ‘The Emergence of Theravada Buddhism in Cambodia: Southeast Asian Perspectives’ on July 3 2015.

Mainland Southeast Asia underwent major civilizational transitions when the Hindu-Mahayana Buddhist Angkorian Empire met its end over the 13th-15th centuries and Theravada Buddhism emerged in its wake. While Angkor remained a reference for the new states that developed across the mainland, Theravada Buddhism structured the cultural, social and political forms which continue to define the region. Given the importance of these changes, astonishingly little is understood about how it actually happened, notably in the Angkorian heartland itself. By supporting interdisciplinary exchange on the Theravadin material heritage across the Southeast Asian region (including Sri Lanka) during this transitional period, the symposium aims to begin to redress this gap in our regional understandings.

More details here.

Ayutthaya bicycle tour to temples and Buddhist life

A new bicycle tour offered in Ayutthaya province aims to introduce riders to the temples of the area as well as Buddhism.

Ayutthaya promotes bicycle tour to nine temples
National News Bureau of Thailand, 28 December 2014
Continue reading “Ayutthaya bicycle tour to temples and Buddhist life”

Asia Society to exhibit Buddhist Art from Myanmar

The Asia Society in New York will be hosting a special exhibition next year on the Buddhist art of Myanmar.

Seated Buddha from Bagan. Source: New York Observer 20141121
Seated Buddha from Bagan. Source: New York Observer 20141121

Asia Society to Show Buddhist Art from Myanmar Never Before Seen in the U.S.
New York Observer, 21 November 2014
Continue reading “Asia Society to exhibit Buddhist Art from Myanmar”