Hinduism and Buddhism, An Historical Sketch, Vol. 3 (of 3)
by Charles Eliot
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[Footnote 139: Chap. XXXIX.]

[Footnote 140: See however Epig. Indica, vol. V. part iv. Oct. 1898, pp. 101-102. For the prevalence of forms which must be derived from Sanskrit not Pali see Burma Arch. Rep. 1916, p. 14, and 1917, p. 39.]

[Footnote 141: Report of Supt. Arch. Survey Burma, 1909, p. 10, 1910, p. 13, and 1916, pp. 33, 38. Finot, Notes d'Epigraphie, p. 357.]

[Footnote 142: See especially Finot in J.A. 1912, II. p. 123, and Huber in B.E.F.E.O. 1909 P. 584.]

[Footnote 143: The Aris are further credited with having practised a sort of jus primae noctis. See on this question the chapter on Camboja and alleged similar customs there.]

[Footnote 144: See Burma Arch. Rep. 1916, pp. 12, 13. They seem to have been similar to the Nilapatanadarsana of Ceylon. The Prabodhacandrodaya (about 1100 A.D.) represents Buddhist monks as drunken and licentious.]

[Footnote 145: See Parker, Burma, 1892. The annalist says "There is a huge white elephant (or image) 100 feet high. Litigants burn incense and kneel before it, reflecting within themselves whether they are right or wrong.... When there is any disaster or plague the king also kneels in front of it and blames himself." The Chinese character means either image or elephant, but surely the former must be the meaning here.]

[Footnote 146: See Taw-Sein-Ko, in Ind. Antiquary, 1906, p. 211. But I must confess that I have not been able to follow or confirm all the etymologies suggested by him.]

[Footnote 147: See for Chinese remains at Pagan, Report of the Superintendent, Arch. Survey, Burma, for year ending 31st March, 1910, pp. 20, 21. An inscription at Pagan records that in 1285 Khubilai's troops were accompanied by monks sent to evangelize Burma. Both troops and monks halted at Tagaung and both were subsequently withdrawn. See Arch. Survey, 1917, p. 38.]

[Footnote 148: The date of Anawrata's conquest of Thaton seems to be now fixed by inscriptions as 1057 A.D., though formerly supposed to be earlier. See Burma Arch. Rep. 1916. For Anawrata's religious reforms see Sasanavamsa, pp. 17 ff. and 57 ff.]

[Footnote 149: It has been noted that many of the inscriptions explanatory of the scenes depicted on the walls of the Ananda temple at Pagan are in Talaing, showing that it was some time before the Burmans were able to assimilate the culture of the conquered country.]

[Footnote 150: See the Sasanavamsa, p. 64 and p. 20. See also Bode, Pali Literature of Burma, p. 15. But the Mahavamsa, LX. 4-7, while recording the communications between Vijaya Bahu and Aniruddha ( = Anawrata) represents Ceylon as asking for monks from Ramanna, which implies that lower Burma was even then regarded as a Buddhist country with a fine tradition.]

[Footnote 151: The Burmese canon adds four works to the Khuddaka-Nikaya, namely: (a) Milinda Panha, (b) Netti-Pakarana, (c) Suttasangaha, (d) Petakopadesa.]

[Footnote 152: Inscriptions give his reign as 1084-1112 A.D. See Burma Arch. Rep. 1916, p. 24. Among many other remarkable edifices may be mentioned the Thapinyu or Thabbannu (1100), the Gaudapalin (1160) and the Bodhi (c. 1200) which is a copy of the temple at Bodhgaya.]

[Footnote 153: The best known of his works are the Sutta-niddesa on grammar and the Sankhepavannana. The latter is a commentary on the Abhidhammattha-sangaha, but it is not certain if Chapata composed it or merely translated it from the Sinhalese.]

[Footnote 154: Some authorities speak as if the four disciples of Chapata had founded four sects, but the reprobate Rahula can hardly have done this. The above account is taken from the Kalyani inscription, Ind. Ant. 1893, pp. 30, 31. It says very distinctly "There were in Pugama (Pagan) 4 sects. 1. The successors of the priests who introduced the religion from Sudhammanagara (i.e. the Mramma Sangha). 2. The disciples of Sivalimahathera. 3. The disciples of Tamalindamahathera. 4. The disciples of Ananda Mahathera."]

[Footnote 155: Also known by the title of Dhammavitasa. He was active in 1246.]

[Footnote 156: Found in Zaingganaing, a suburb of Pegu. The text, translation and notes are contained in various articles by Taw-Sein-Ko in the Indian Antiquary for 1893-4.]

[Footnote 157: Mahavagga, II. 11, 12, 13.]

[Footnote 158: According to Taw-Sein-Ko (Ind. Ant. 1893, p. 11) "about 105 or 126 feet in perimeter."]

[Footnote 159: No contact with Cambojan religion is implied. The sect was so called because its chief monastery was near the Camboja market and this derived its name from the fact that many Cambojan (probably meaning Shan) prisoners were confined near it.]

[Footnote 160: In favour of it, it may be said that the Dipavamsa and the earlier traditions on which the Dipavamsa is based are ancient and impartial witnesses: against it, that Asoka's attention seems to have been directed westwards, not towards Bengal and Burma, and that no very early proof of the existence of Buddhism in Burma has been found.]

[Footnote 161: Apparently about 1525-1530.]

[Footnote 162: See Sasanavamsa, pp. 118 ff.]

[Footnote 163: E.g. Mahavagga, I. 29, 2; IV. 3, 3. Ekamsam uttarasangam karitva. But both arrangements of drapery are found in the oldest images of the Buddha and perhaps the Ekamsika fashion is the commoner. See Grunwedel, Buddhist Art in India, 1901, p. 172. Though these images are considerably later than the Mahavagga and prove nothing as to the original practice of the Sangha, yet they show that the Ekamsika fashion prevailed at a relatively early period. It now prevails in Siam and partly in Ceylon. I-Ching (chap. XI.) has a discussion on the way robes were worn in India (c. 680 A.D.) which is very obscure but seems to say that monks may keep their shoulders covered while in a monastery but should uncover one when they go out.]

[Footnote 164: Sasanav. p. 123. Sakala-Maramma-ratthavasino ca: ayam amhakam raja bodhisatto ti voharimsu. In the Po-U-Daung inscription, Alompra's son, Hsin-byu-shin, says twice "In virtue of this my good deed, may I become a Buddha, ... an omniscient one." Indian Antiquary, 1893, pp. 2 and 5. There is something Mahayanist in this aspiration. Cf. too the inscriptions of the Siamese King Sri-Suryavamsa Rama mentioned below.]

[Footnote 165: They were Puritans who objected to shrines and images and are said to be represented to-day by the Sawti sect.]

[Footnote 166: See The Burmese Empire by the Italian Father Sangermano, who went to Burma in 1783 and lived there about 20 years.]

[Footnote 167: Thathana is the Pali Sasana. In Burmese pronunciation the s of Indian words regularly appears as th ( = [Greek: th]), r as y and j as z. Thus Thagya for Sakra, Yazawin for Rajavamsa.]

[Footnote 168: See E. Forchhammer, Jardine Prize Essay (on the sources and development of Burmese Law), 1885. J. Jolly, "Recht und Sitte" in Grundriss der Ind. Ar. Phil. 1896, pp. 41-44. M.H. Bode, Pali Lit. of Burma, pp. 83 ff. Dhammathat is the Burmese pronunciation of Dhammasattha, Sanskrit Dharmasastra.]

[Footnote 169: This theory did not prevent the kings of Burma and their subordinates from inflicting atrociously cruel punishments.]

[Footnote 170: Forchhammer gives a list of 39 Dhammathats compiled between 1753 and 1882.]

[Footnote 171: They seem to have included tantric works of the Mahakalacakra type. See Bode, Pali Lit. of Burma, p. 108, Nos. 270, 271. But the name is given in the Pali form cakka.]

[Footnote 172: Among usages borrowed from Hinduism may be mentioned the daily washing in holy water of the image in the Arakan temple at Mandalay. Formerly court festivities, such as the New Year's feast and the festival of ploughing, were performed by Ponnas and with Indian rites. On the other hand the Ramayana does not seem to have the same influence on art and literature that it has had in Siam and Java, though scenes from it are sometimes depicted. See Report, Supt. Archaeolog. Survey, Burma, 1908, p. 22.]

[Footnote 173: See especially The Thirty Seven Nats by Sir. R.C. Temple, 1906, and Burma by Sir. J.G. Scott, 1906, pp. 380 ff. The best authorities seem agreed that Nat is not the Sanskrit Natha but an indigenous word of unknown derivation.]

[Footnote 174: Possibly in order to include four female spirits: or possibly because it was felt that sundry later heroes had as strong a claim to membership of this distinguished body as the original 33.]

[Footnote 175: It is noticeable that Thagya comes from the Sanskrit Sakra not the Pali Sakka. Th = Sk. s: y = Sk. r.]

[Footnote 176: See R.C. Temple, The Thirty Seven Nats, chaps. X.-XIII., for these cycles.]

[Footnote 177: E.g. R.C. Temple, l.c. p. 36.]

[Footnote 178: According to Sir. J.G. Scott much more commonly than prayers among Christians. Burma, p. 366.]

[Footnote 179: 15,371 according to the census of 1891. The figures in the last census are not conveniently arranged for Buddhist statistics.]

[Footnote 180: Hastings' Encycl. of Religion and Ethics, art. "Burma (Buddhism)."]

[Footnote 181: See Bode, Pali Literature in Burma, pp. 95 ff.]

[Footnote 182: No less than 22 translations of it have been made into Burmese. See S.Z. Aung in J.P.T.S. 1912, p. 129. He also mentions that night lectures on the Abhidhamma in Burmese are given in monasteries.]

[Footnote 183: But on such occasions the laity usually fast after midday.]

[Footnote 184: Man is the Burmese form of Mara.]

[Footnote 185: Among the most striking characteristics of the Nepalese style are buildings of many stories each with a projecting roof. No examples of similar buildings from ancient India have survived, perhaps because they were made of wood, but representations of two-storied buildings have come down to us, for instance on the Sohgaura copper plate which dates probably from the time of Asoka (see Buhler, W.Z.K.M. 1896, p. 138). See also the figures in Foucher's Art Greco-bouddhique du Gandhara, on pp. 121, 122. The monuments at Mamallapuram known as Raths (see Fergusson, Indian and Eastern Architecture, I. p. 172) appear to be representations of many storied Viharas. There are several references to seven storied buildings in the Jatakas.]

[Footnote 186: = cetiya.]

[Footnote 187: Occasionally groups of five Buddhas, that is, these four Buddhas together with Metteyya, are found. See Report of the Supt. Arch. Survey (Burma) for the year ending March 31st, 1910, p. 16.]




The Buddhism of Siam does not differ materially from that of Burma and Ceylon but merits separate mention, since it has features of its own due in some measure to the fact that Siam is still an independent kingdom ruled by a monarch who is also head of the Church. But whereas for the last few centuries this kingdom may be regarded as a political and religious unit, its condition in earlier times was different and Siamese history tells us nothing of the introduction and first diffusion of Indian religions in the countries between India and China.

The people commonly known as Siamese call themselves Thai which (in the form Tai) appears to be the racial name of several tribes who can be traced to the southern provinces of China. They spread thence, in fanlike fashion, from Laos to Assam, and the middle section ultimately descended the Menam to the sea. The Siamese claim to have assumed the name Thai (free) after they threw off the yoke of the Cambojans, but this derivation is more acceptable to politics than to ethnology. The territories which they inhabited were known as Siem, Syam or Syama, which is commonly identified with the Sanskrit Syama, dark or brown.[189] But the names Shan and A-hom seem to be variants of the same word and Syama is possibly not its origin but a learned and artificial distortion.[190] The Lao were another division of the same race who occupied the country now called Laos before the Tai had moved into Siam. This movement was gradual and until the beginning of the twelfth century they merely established small principalities, the principal of which was Lamphun,[191] on the western arm of the Mekong. They gradually penetrated into the kingdoms of Svankalok, Sukhothai[192] and Lavo (Lophburi) which then were vassals of Camboja, and they were reinforced by another body of Tais which moved southwards early in the twelfth century. For some time the Cambojan Empire made a successful effort to control these immigrants but in the latter part of the thirteenth century the Siamese definitely shook off its yoke and founded an independent state with its capital at Sukhothai. There was probably some connection between these events and the southern expeditions of Khubilai Khan who in 1254 conquered Talifu and set the Tai tribes in motion.

The history of their rule in Siam may be briefly described as a succession of three kingdoms with capitals at Sukhothai, Ayuthia and Bangkok respectively. Like the Burmese, the Siamese have annals or chronicles. They fall into two divisions, the chronicles[193] of the northern kingdom in three volumes which go down to the foundation of Ayuthia and are admitted even by the Siamese to be mostly fabulous, and the later annals in 40 volumes which were rearranged after the sack of Ayuthia in 1767 but claim to begin with the foundation of the city. Various opinions have been expressed as to their trustworthiness,[194] but it is allowed by all that they must be used with caution. More authoritative but not very early are the inscriptions set up by various kings, of which a considerable number have been published and translated.[195]

The early history of Sukhothai and its kings is not yet beyond dispute but a monarch called Ramaraja or Rama Khomheng played a considerable part in it. His identity with Phaya Ruang, who is said to have founded the dynasty and city, has been both affirmed and denied. Sukhothai, at least as the designation of a kingdom, seems to be much older than his reign.[196] It was undoubtedly understood as the equivalent of the Sanskrit Sukhodaya, but like Syama it may be an adaptation of some native word. In an important inscription found at Sukhothai and now preserved at Bangkok,[197] which was probably composed about 1300 A.D., Rama Khomheng gives an account of his kingdom. On the east it extended to the banks of the Mekhong and beyond it to Chava (perhaps a name of Luang-Prabang): on the south to the sea, as far as Sri Dharmaraja or Ligor: on the west to Hamsavati or Pegu. This last statement is important for it enables us to understand how at this period, and no doubt considerably earlier, the Siamese were acquainted with Pali Buddhism. The king states that hitherto his people had no alphabet but that he invented one.[198] This script subsequently developed into the modern Siamese writing which, though it presents many difficulties, is an ingenious attempt to express a language with tones in an alphabet. The vocabulary of Siamese is not homogeneous: it comprises (a) a foundation of Thai, (b) a considerable admixture of Khmer words, (c) an element borrowed from Malay and other languages, (d) numerous ecclesiastical and learned terms taken from Pali and Sanskrit. There are five tones which must be distinguished, if either written or spoken speech is to be intelligible. This is done partly by accents and partly by dividing the forty-four consonants (many of which are superfluous for other purposes) into three groups, the high, middle and deep.

The king also speaks of religion. The court and the inhabitants of Sukhothai were devout Buddhists: they observed the season of Vassa and celebrated the festival of Kathina with processions, concerts and reading of the scriptures. In the city were to be seen statues of the Buddha and scenes carved in relief, as well as large monasteries. To the west of the city was the Forest Monastery, presented to a distinguished elder who came from Sri Dharmaraja and had studied the whole Tripitaka. The mention of this official and others suggests that there was a regular hierarchy and the king relates how he exhumed certain sacred relics and built a pagoda over them. Though there is no direct allusion to Brahmanism, stress is laid on the worship of spirits and devas on which the prosperity of the kingdom depends.

The form of Buddhism described seems to have differed little from the Hinayanism found in Siam to-day. Whence did the Siamese obtain it? For some centuries before they were known as a nation, they probably professed some form of Indian religion. They came from the border lands, if not from the actual territory of China, and must have been acquainted with Chinese Buddhism. Also Burmese influence probably reached Yunnan in the eighth century,[199] but it is not easy to say what form of religion it brought with it. Still when the Thai entered what is now Siam, it is likely that their religion was some form of Buddhism. While they were subject to Camboja they must have felt the influence of Sivaism and possibly of Mahayanist Sanskrit Buddhism but no Pali Buddhism can have come from this quarter.[200]

Southern Siam was however to some extent affected by another wave of Buddhism. From early times the eastern coast of India (and perhaps Ceylon) had intercourse not only with Burma but with the Malay Peninsula. It is proved by inscriptions that the region of Ligor, formerly known as Sri Dharmaraja, was occupied by Hindus (who were probably Buddhists) at least as early as the fourth century A.D.,[201] and Buddhist inscriptions have been found on the mainland opposite Penang. The Chinese annals allude to a change in the customs of Camboja and I-Ching says plainly that Buddhism once nourished there but was exterminated by a wicked king, which may mean that Hinayanist Buddhism had spread thither from Ligor but was suppressed by a dynasty of Sivaites. He also says that at the end of the seventh century Hinayanism was prevalent in the islands of the Southern Sea. An inscription of about the fourth century found in Kedah and another of the seventh or eighth from Phra Pathom both contain the formula Ye dharma, etc. The latter inscription and also one from Mergui ascribed to the eleventh century seem to be in mixed Sanskrit and Pali. The Sukhothai inscription summarized above tells how a learned monk was brought thither from Ligor and clearly the Pali Buddhism of northern Siam may have followed the same route. But it probably had also another more important if not exclusive source, namely Burma. After the reign of Anawrata Pali Buddhism was accepted in Burma and in what we now call the Shan States as the religion of civilized mankind and this conviction found its way to the not very distant kingdom of Sukhothai. Subsequently the Siamese recognized the seniority and authority of the Sinhalese Church by inviting an instructor to come from Ceylon, but in earlier times they can hardly have had direct relation with the island.

We have another picture of religious life in a Khmer inscription[202] of Lidaiya or Sri Suryavamsa Rama composed in 1361 or a little later. This monarch, who is also known by many lengthy titles, appears to have been a man of learning who had studied the Tipitaka, the Vedas, the Sastragama and Dharmanaya and erected images of Mahesvara and Vishnu as well as of the Buddha. In 1361 he sent a messenger to Ceylon charged with the task of bringing back a Metropolitan or head of the Sangha learned in the Pitakas. This ecclesiastic, who is known only by his title, was duly sent and on arriving in Siam was received with the greatest honour and made a triumphal progress to Sukhothai. He is not represented as introducing a new religion: the impression left by the inscription is rather that the king and his people being already well-instructed in Buddhism desired ampler edification from an authentic source. The arrival of the Sangharaja coincided with the beginning of Vassa and at the end of the sacred season the king dedicated a golden image of the Buddha, which stood in the midst of the city, and then entered the order. In doing so he solemnly declared his hope that the merit thus acquired might make him in future lives not an Emperor, an Indra or a Brahma but a Buddha able to save mankind. He pursued his religious career with a gratifying accompaniment of miracles and many of the nobility and learned professions followed his example. But after a while a deputation waited on his Majesty begging him to return to the business of his kingdom.[203] An edifying contest ensued. The monks besought him to stay as their preceptor and guide: the laity pointed out that government was at an end and claimed his attention. The matter was referred to the Sangharaja who decided that the king ought to return to his secular duties. He appears to have found little difficulty in resuming lay habits for he proceeded to chastise the people of Luang-Prabang.

Two other inscriptions,[204] apparently dating from this epoch, relate that a cutting of the Bo-tree was brought from Ceylon and that certain relics (perhaps from Patna) were also installed with great solemnity. To the same time are referred a series of engravings on stone (not reliefs) found in the Vat-si-jum at Sukhothai. They illustrate about 100 Jatakas, arranged for the most part according to the order followed in the Pali Canon.

The facts that King Sri Suryavamsa sent to Ceylon for his Metropolitan and that some of the inscriptions which extol his merits are in Pali[205] make it probable that the religion which he professed differed little from the Pali Buddhism which flourishes in Siam to-day and this supposition is confirmed by the general tone of his inscriptions. But still several phrases in them have a Mahayanist flavour. He takes as his model the conduct of the Bodhisattvas, described as ten headed by Metteyya, and his vow to become a Buddha and save all creatures is at least twice mentioned. The Buddhas are said to be innumerable and the feet of Bhikkhus are called Buddha feet.[206] There is no difficulty in accounting for the presence of such ideas: the only question is from what quarter this Mahayanist influence came. The king is said to have been a student of Indian literature: his country, like Burma, was in touch with China and his use of the Khmer language indicates contact with Camboja.

Another inscription engraved by order of Dharmasokaraja[207] and apparently dating from the fourteenth century is remarkable for its clear statement of the doctrine (generally considered as Mahayanist) that merit acquired by devotion to the Buddha can be transferred. The king states that a woman called Bunrak has transferred all her merit to the Queen and that he himself makes over all his merit to his teacher, to his relations and to all beings in unhappy states of existence.

At some time in this period the centre of the Thai empire changed but divergent views have been held as to the date[208] and character of this event. It would appear that in 1350 a Siamese subsequently known as King Ramadhipati, a descendant of an ancient line of Thai princes, founded Ayuthia as a rival to Sukhothai. The site was not new, for it had long been known as Dvaravati and seems to be mentioned under that name by I-Ching (c. 680), but a new city was apparently constructed. The evidence of inscriptions indicates that Sukhothai was not immediately subdued by the new kingdom and did not cease to be a royal residence for some time. But still Ayuthia gradually became predominant and in the fifteenth century merited the title of capital of Siam.

Its rise did not affect the esteem in which Buddhism was held, and it must have contained many great religious monuments. The jungles which now cover the site of the city surround the remnants of the Wat Somarokot, in which is a gigantic bronze Buddha facing with scornful calm the ruin which threatens him. The Wat Chern, which lies at some distance, contains another gigantic image. A curious inscription[209] engraved on an image of Siva found at Sukhothai and dated 1510 A.D. asserts the identity of Buddhism and Brahmanism, but the popular feeling was in favour of the former. At Ayuthia the temples appear to be exclusively Buddhist and at Lophburi ancient buildings originally constructed for the Brahmanic cult have been adapted to Buddhist uses. It was in 1602 that the mark known as the footprint of Buddha was discovered at the place now called Phra-bat.

Ayuthia was captured by the Burmese in 1568 and the king was carried into captivity but the disaster was not permanent, for at the end of the century the power of the Siamese reached its highest point and their foreign relations were extensive. We hear that five hundred Japanese assisted them to repulse a Burmese attack and that there was a large Japanese colony in Ayuthia. On the other hand when Hideyoshi invaded Korea in 1592, the Siamese offered to assist the Chinese. Europeans appeared first in 1511 when the Portuguese took Malacca. But on the whole the dealings of Siam with Europe were peaceful and both traders and missionaries were welcomed. The most singular episode in this international intercourse was the career of the Greek adventurer Constantine Phaulcon who in the reign of King Narai was practically Foreign Minister. In concert with the French missionaries he arranged an exchange of embassies (1682 and 1685) between Narai and Louis XIV, the latter having been led to suppose that the king and people of Siam were ready to embrace Christianity. But when the French envoys broached the subject of conversion, the king replied that he saw no reason to change the religion which his countrymen had professed for two thousand years, a chronological statement which it might be hard to substantiate. Still, great facilities were given to missionaries and further negotiations ensued, in the course of which the French received almost a monopoly of foreign trade and the right to maintain garrisons. But the death of Narai was followed by a reaction. Phaulcon died in prison and the French garrisons were expelled. Buddhism probably flourished at this period for the Mahavamsa tells us that the king of Ceylon sent to Ayuthia for monks in 1750 because religion there was pure and undefiled.

Ayuthia continued to be the capital until 1767 when it was laid in ruins by the Burmese who, though Buddhists, did not scruple to destroy or deface the temples and statues with which it was ornamented. But the collapse of the Siamese was only local and temporary. A leader of Chinese origin named Phaya Tak Sin rallied their forces, cleared the Burmese out of the country and made Bangkok, officially described as the Capital of the Angels, the seat of Government. But he was deposed in 1782 and one of the reasons for his fall seems to have been a too zealous reformation of Buddhism. In the troublous times following the collapse of Ayuthia the Church had become disorganized and corrupt, but even those who desired improvement would not assent to the powers which the king claimed over monks. A new dynasty (of which the sixth monarch is now on the throne) was founded in 1782 by Chao Phaya Chakkri. One of his first acts was to convoke a council for the revision of the Tipitaka and to build a special hall in which the text thus agreed on was preserved. His successor Phra: Buddha Lot La is considered the best poet that Siam has produced and it is probably the only country in the world where this distinction has fallen to the lot of a sovereign. The poet king had two sons, Phra: Nang: Klao, who ascended the throne after his death, and Mongkut, who during his brother's reign remained in a monastery strictly observing the duties of a monk. He then became king and during his reign (1851-1868) Siam "may be said to have passed from the middle ages to modern times."[210] It is a tribute to the excellence of Buddhist discipline that a prince who spent twenty-six years as a monk should have emerged as neither a bigot nor an impractical mystic but as an active, enlightened and progressive monarch. The equality and simplicity of monastic life disposed him to come into direct touch with his subjects and to adopt straightforward measures which might not have occurred to one who had always been surrounded by a wall of ministers. While still a monk he founded a stricter sect which aimed at reviving the practice of the Buddha, but at the same time he studied foreign creeds and took pleasure in conversing with missionaries. He wrote several historical pamphlets and an English Grammar, and was so good a mathematician that he could calculate the occurrence of an eclipse. When he became king he regulated the international position of Siam by concluding treaties of friendship and commerce with the principal European powers, thus showing the broad and liberal spirit in which he regarded politics, though a better acquaintance with the ways of Europeans might have made him refuse them extraterritorial privileges. He abolished the custom which obliged everyone to keep indoors when the king went out and he publicly received petitions on every Uposatha day. He legislated against slavery,[211] gambling, drinking spirits and smoking opium and considerably improved the status of women. He also published edicts ordering the laity to inform the ecclesiastical authorities if they noticed any abuses in the monasteries. He caused the annals of Siam to be edited and issued numerous orders on archaeological and literary questions, in which, though a good Pali scholar, he deprecated the affected use of Pali words and enjoined the use of a terse and simple Siamese style, which he certainly wrote himself. He appears to have died of scientific zeal for he caught a fatal fever on a trip which he took to witness a total eclipse of the sun.

He was succeeded by his son Chulalongkorn[212] (1868-1911), a liberal and enlightened ruler, who had the misfortune to lose much territory to the French on one side and the English on the other. For religion, his chief interest is that he published an edition of the Tipitaka. The volumes are of European style and printed in Siamese type, whereas Cambojan characters were previously employed for religious works.


As I have already observed, there is not much difference between Buddhism in Burma and Siam. In mediaeval times a mixed form of religion prevailed in both countries and Siam was influenced by the Brahmanism and Mahayanism of Camboja. Both seem to have derived a purer form of the faith from Pegu, which was conquered by Anawrata in the eleventh century and was the neighbour of Sukhothai so long as that kingdom lasted. Both had relations with Ceylon and while venerating her as the metropolis of the faith also sent monks to her in the days of her spiritual decadence. But even in externals some differences are visible. The gold and vermilion of Burma are replaced in Siam by more sober but artistic tints—olive, dull purple and dark orange—and the change in the colour scheme is accompanied by other changes in the buildings.

A religious establishment in Siam consists of several edifices and is generally known as Wat,[213] followed by some special designation such as Wat Chang. Bangkok is full of such establishments mostly constructed on the banks of the river or canals. The entrance is usually guarded by gigantic and grotesque figures which are often lions, but at the Wat Pho in Bangkok the tutelary demons are represented by curious caricatures of Europeans wearing tall hats. The gate leads into several courts opening out of one another and not arranged on any fixed plan. The first is sometimes surrounded by a colonnade in which are set a long line of the Buddha's eighty disciples. The most important building in a Wat is known as Bot.[214] It has a colonnade of pillars outside and is surmounted by three or four roofs, not much raised one above the other, and bearing finials of a curious shape, said to represent a snake's head.[215] It is also marked off by a circuit of eight stones, cut in the shape of Bo-tree leaves, which constitute a sima or boundary. It is in the Bot that ordinations and other acts of the Sangha are performed. Internally it is a hall: the walls are often covered with paintings and at the end there is always a sitting figure of the Buddha[216] forming the apex of a pyramid, the lower steps of which are decorated with smaller images and curious ornaments, such as clocks under glass cases.

Siamese images of the Buddha generally represent him as crowned by a long flame-like ornament called Siro rot,[217] probably representing the light supposed to issue from the prominence on his head. But the ornament sometimes becomes a veritable crown terminating in a spire, as do those worn by the kings of Camboja and Siam. On the left and right of the Buddha often stand figures of Phra: Mokha: la (Moggalana) and Phra: Saribut (Sariputta). It is stated that the Siamese pray to them as saints and that the former is invoked to heal broken limbs.[218] The Buddha when represented in frescoes is robed in red but his face and hands are of gold. Besides the Bot a Wat contains one or more wihans. The word is derived from Vihara but has come to mean an image-house. The wihans are halls not unlike the Bots but smaller. In a large Wat there is usually one containing a gigantic recumbent image of the Buddha and they sometimes shelter Indian deities such as Yama.

In most if not in all Wat there are structures known as Phra: chedi and Phra: prang. The former are simply the ancient cetiyas, called dagobas in Ceylon and zedis in Burma. They do not depart materially from the shape usual in other countries and sometimes, for instance in the gigantic chedi at Pra Pratom, the part below the spire is a solid bell-shaped dome. But Siamese taste tends to make such buildings slender and elongate and they generally consist of stone discs of decreasing size, set one on the other in a pile, which assumes in its upper parts the proportions of a flagstaff rather than of a stone building. The Phra: prangs though often larger than the Phra: chedis are proportionally thicker and less elongate. They appear to be derived from the Brahmanic temple towers of Camboja which consist of a shrine crowned by a dome. But in Siam the shrine is often at some height above the ground and is reduced to small dimensions, sometimes becoming a mere niche. In large Phra: prangs it is approached by a flight of steps outside and above it rises the tower, terminating in a metal spire. But whereas in the Phra: chedis these spires are simple, in the Phra: prangs they bear three crescents representing the trident of Siva and appear like barbed arrows. A large Wat is sure to contain a number of these structures and may also comprise halls for preaching, a pavilion covering a model of Buddha's foot print, tanks for ablution and a bell tower. It is said that only royal Wats contain libraries and buildings called chatta mukh, which shelter a four-faced image of Brahma.[219]

The monks are often housed in single chambers arranged round the courts of a Wat but sometimes in larger buildings outside it. The number of monks and novices living in one monastery is larger than in Burma, and according to the Bangkok Directory (1907) works out at an average of about 12. In the larger Wats this figure is considerably exceeded. Altogether there were 50,764 monks and 10,411 novices in 1907,[220] the province of Ayuthia being decidedly the best provided with clergy. As in Burma, it is customary for every male to spend some time in a monastery, usually at the age of about 20, and two months is considered the minimum which is respectable. It is also common to enter a monastery for a short stay on the day when a parent is cremated. During the season of Vassa all monks go out to collect alms but at other seasons only a few make the daily round and the food collected, as in Burma and Ceylon, is generally not eaten. But during the dry season it is considered meritorious for monks to make a pilgrimage to Phra Bat and while on the way to live on charity. They engage to some extent in manual work and occupy themselves with carpentering.[221] As in Burma, education is in their hands, and they also act as doctors, though their treatment has more to do with charms and faith cures than with medicine.

As in Burma there are two sects, the ordinary unreformed body, and the rigorous and select communion founded by Mongkut and called Dhammayut. It aims at a more austere and useful life but in outward observances the only distinction seems to be that the Dhammayuts hold the alms-bowl in front of them in both hands, whereas the others hold it against the left hip with the left hand only. The hierarchy is well developed but somewhat secularized, though probably not more so than it was in India under Asoka. In the official directory where the departments of the Ministry of Public Instruction are enumerated, the Ecclesiastical Department comes immediately after the Bacteriological, the two being clearly regarded as different methods of expelling evil spirits. The higher clerical appointments are made by the king. He names four Primates,[222] one of whom is selected as chief. The Primates with nineteen superior monks form the highest governing body of the Church. Below them are twelve dignitaries called Gurus, who are often heads of large Wats. There are also prelates who bear the Cambojan title of Burien equivalent to Mahacarya. They must have passed an examination in Pali and are chiefly consulted on matters of ceremonial.

It will thus be seen that the differences between the churches of Burma, Ceylon and Siam are slight; hardly more than the local peculiarities which mark the Roman church in Italy, Spain, and England. Different opinions have been expressed as to the moral tone and conduct of Siamese monks and most critics state that they are somewhat inferior to their Burmese brethren. The system by which a village undertakes to support a monk, provided that he is a reasonably competent school-master and of good character, works well. But in the larger monasteries it is admitted that there are inmates who have entered in the hope of leading a lazy life and even fugitives from justice. Still the penalty for any grave offence is immediate expulsion by the ecclesiastical authorities and the offender is treated with extreme severity by the civil courts to which he then becomes amenable.

The religious festivals of Siam are numerous and characteristic. Many are Buddhist, some are Brahmanic, and some are royal. Uposatha days (wan phra:) are observed much as in Burma. The birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha (which are all supposed to have taken place on the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon) are celebrated during a three days festival. These three days are of peculiar solemnity and are spent in the discharge of religious duties, such as hearing sermons and giving alms. But at most festivals religious observances are mingled with much picturesque but secular gaiety. In the morning the monks do not go their usual round[223] and the alms-bowls are arranged in a line within the temple grounds. The laity (mostly women) arrive bearing wicker trays on which are vessels containing rice and delicacies. They place a selection of these in each bowl and then proceed to the Bot where they hear the commandments recited and often vow to observe for that day some which are usually binding only on monks. While the monks are eating their meal the people repair to a river, which is rarely far distant in Siam, and pour water drop by drop saying "May the food which we have given for the use of the holy ones be of benefit to our fathers and mothers and to all of our relatives who have passed away." This rite is curiously in harmony with the injunctions of the Tirokuddasuttam in the Khuddakapatha, which is probably an ancient work.[224] The rest of the day is usually devoted to pious merrymaking, such as processions by day and illuminations by night. On some feasts the laws against gambling are suspended and various games of chance are freely indulged in. Thus the New Year festival called Trut (or Krut) Thai lasts three days. On the first two days, especially the second, crowds fill the temples to offer flowers before the statues of Buddha and more substantial presents of food, clothes, etc., to the clergy. Well-to-do families invite monks to their houses and pass the day in listening to their sermons and recitations. Companies of priests are posted round the city walls to scare away evil spirits and with the same object guns are fired throughout the night. But the third day is devoted to gambling by almost the whole population except the monks. Not dissimilar is the celebration of the Songkran holidays, at the beginning of the official year. The special religious observance at this feast consists in bathing the images of Buddha and in theory the same form of watery respect is extended to aged relatives and monks. In practice its place is taken by gifts of perfumes and other presents.

The rainy season is preceded and ended by holidays. During this period both monks and pious laymen observe their religious duties more strictly. Thus monks eat only once a day and then only what is put into their bowls and laymen observe some of the minor vows. At the end of the rains come the important holidays known as Thot Kathin,[225] when robes are presented to monks. This festival has long had a special importance in Siam. Thus Rama Khomheng in his inscription of A.D. 1292[226] describes the feast of Kathina which lasts a month. At the present day many thousands of robes are prepared in the capital alone so as to be ready for distribution in October and November, when the king or some deputy of high rank visits every temple and makes the offering in person. During this season Bangkok witnesses a series of brilliant processions.

These festivals mentioned may be called Buddhist though their light-hearted and splendour-loving gaiety, their processions and gambling are far removed from the spirit of Gotama. Others however are definitely Brahmanic and in Bangkok are superintended by the Brahmans attached to the Court. Since the time of Mongkut Buddhist priests are also present as a sign that the rites, if not ordered by Buddhism, at least have its countenance. Such is the Rek Na,[227] or ploughing festival. The king is represented by the Minister of Agriculture who formerly had the right to exact from all shops found open such taxes as he might claim for his temporary sovereignty. At present he is escorted in procession to Dusit,[228] a royal park outside Bangkok, where he breaks ground with a plough drawn by two white oxen.

Somewhat similar is the Thib-Ching-Cha, or Swinging holidays, a two days' festival which seems to be a harvest thanksgiving. Under the supervision of a high official, four Brahmans wearing tall conical hats swing on a board suspended from a huge frame about 100 ft high. Their object is to catch with their teeth a bag of money hanging at a little distance from the swing. When three or four sets of swingers have obtained a prize in this way, they conclude the ceremony by sprinkling the ground with holy water contained in bullock horns. Swinging is one of the earliest Indian rites[229] and as part of the worship of Krishna it has lasted to the present day. Yet another Brahmanic festival is the Loi Kathong,[230] when miniature rafts and ships bearing lights and offerings are sent down the Menam to the sea.

Another class of ceremonies may be described as royal, inasmuch as they are religious only in so far as they invoke religion to protect royalty. Such are the anniversaries of the birth and coronation of the king and the Thu Nam or drinking of the water of allegiance which takes place twice a year. At Bangkok all officials assemble at the Palace and there drink and sprinkle on their heads water in which swords and other weapons have been dipped thus invoking vengeance on themselves should they prove disloyal. Jars of this water are despatched to Governors who superintend the performance of the same ceremony in the provincial capitals. It is only after the water has been drunk that officials receive their half yearly salary. Monks are excused from drinking it but the chief ecclesiastics of Bangkok meet in the Palace temple and perform a service in honour of the occasion.

Besides these public solemnities there are a number of domestic festivals derived from the twelve Samskaras of the Hindus. Of these only three or four are kept up by the nations of Indo-China, namely the shaving of the first hair of a child a month after birth, the giving of a name, and the piercing of the ears for earrings. This last is observed in Burma and Laos, but not in Siam and Camboja where is substituted for it the Kon Chuk or shaving of the topknot, which is allowed to grow until the eleventh or thirteenth year. This ceremony, which is performed on boys and girls alike, is the most important event in the life of a young Siamese and is celebrated by well-to-do parents with lavish expenditure. Those who are indigent often avail themselves of the royal bounty, for each year a public ceremony is performed in one of the temples of Bangkok at which poor children receive the tonsure gratis. An elaborate description of the tonsure rites has been published by Gerini.[231] They are of considerable interest as showing how closely Buddhist and Brahmanic rites are intertwined in Siamese family life.

Marriages are celebrated with a feast to which monks are invited but are not regarded as religious ceremonies. The dead are usually disposed of by cremation, but are often kept some time, being either embalmed or simply buried and exhumed subsequently. Before cremation the coffin is usually placed within the grounds of a temple. The monks read Suttas over it and it is said[232] that they hold ribbons which enter into the coffin and are supposed to communicate to the corpse the merit acquired by the recitations and prayers.


In the preceding pages mention has often been made not only of Brahmanic rites but of Brahman priests.[233] These are still to be found in Bangkok attached to the Court and possibly in other cities. They dress in white and have preserved many Hindu usages but are said to be poor Sanskrit scholars. Indeed Gerini[234] seems to say that they use Pali in some of their recitations. Their principal duty is to officiate at Court functions, but wealthy families invite them to take part in domestic rites, and also to cast horoscopes and fix lucky days. It is clear that the presence of these Brahmans is no innovation. Brahmanism must have been strong in Siam when it was a province of Camboja, but in both countries gave way before Buddhism. Many rites, however, connected with securing luck or predicting the future were too firmly established to be abolished, and, as Buddhist monks were unwilling to perform them[235] or not thought very competent, the Brahmans remained and were perhaps reinforced from time to time by new importations, for there are still Brahman colonies in Ligor and other Malay towns. Siamese lawbooks, like those of Burma, seem to be mainly adaptations of Indian Dharmasastras.

On a cursory inspection, Siamese Buddhism, especially as seen in villages, seems remarkably free from alien additions. But an examination of ancient buildings, of royal temples in Bangkok and royal ceremonial, suggests on the contrary that it is a mixed faith in which the Brahmanic element is strong. Yet though this element appeals to the superstition of the Siamese and their love of pageantry, I think that as in Burma it has not invaded the sphere of religion and ethics more than the Pitakas themselves allow. In art and literature its influence has been considerable. The story of the Ramayana is illustrated on the cloister walls of the royal temple at Bangkok and Indian mythology has supplied a multitude of types to the painter and sculptor; such as Yomma: rat (Yama), Phaya Man (Mara), Phra: In (Indra). These are all deities known to the Pitakas but the sculptures or images[236] in Siamese temples also include Ganesa, Phra: Narai (Narayana or Vishnu) riding on the Garuda and Phra: Isuen (Siva) riding on a bull. There is a legend that the Buddha and Siva tried which could make himself invisible to the other. At last the Buddha sat on Siva's head and the god being unable to see him acknowledged his defeat. This story is told to explain a small figure which Siva bears on his head and recalls the legend found in the Pitakas[237] that the Buddha made himself invisible to Brahma but that Brahma had not the corresponding power. Lingas are still venerated in a few temples, for instance at Wat Pho in Bangkok, but it would appear that the majority (e.g. those found at Pra Pratom and Lophburi) are survivals of ancient Brahmanic worship and have a purely antiquarian importance. The Brahmanic cosmology which makes Mt. Meru the centre of this Universe is generally accepted in ecclesiastical treatises and paintings, though the educated Siamese may smile at it, and when the topknot of a Siamese prince is cut off, part of the ceremony consists in his being received by the king dressed as Siva on the summit of a mound cut in the traditional shape of Mt. Kailasa.

Like the Nats of Burma, Siam has a spirit population known as Phis.[238] The name is occasionally applied to Indian deities, but the great majority of Phis fall into two classes, namely, ghosts of the dead and nature spirits which, though dangerous, do not rise above the position of good or bad fairies. In the first class are included the Phi Pret, who have the characteristics as well as the name of the Indian Pretas, and also a multitude of beings who like European ghosts, haunt houses and behave in a mysterious but generally disagreeable manner. The Phiam is apparently our nightmare. The ghosts of children dying soon after birth are apt to kill their mothers and in general women are liable to be possessed by Phis. The ghosts of those who have died a violent death are dangerous but it would seem that Siamese magicians know how to utilize them as familiar spirits. The better sort of ghosts are known as Chao Phi and shrines called San Chao are set up in their honour. It does not however appear that there is any hierarchy of Phis like the thirty-seven Nats of Burma.

Among those Phis who are not ghosts of the dead the most important is the Phi ruen or guardian spirit of each house. Frequently a little shrine is erected for him at the top of a pole. There are also innumerable Phis in the jungle mostly malevolent and capable of appearing either in human form or as a dangerous animal. But the tree spirits are generally benevolent and when their trees are cut down they protect the houses that are made of them.

Thus the Buddhism of Siam, like that of Burma, has a certain admixture of Brahmanism and animism. The Brahmanism is perhaps more striking than in Burma on account of the Court ceremonies: the belief in spirits, though almost universal, seems to be more retiring and less conspicuous. Yet the inscription of Rama Komheng mentioned above asserts emphatically that the prosperity of the Empire depends on due honour being shown to a certain mountain spirit.[239]

It is pretty clear that the first introduction of Hinayanist Buddhism into Siam was from Southern Burma and Pegu, but that somewhat later Ceylon was accepted as the standard of orthodoxy. A learned thera who knew the Sinhalese Tipitaka was imported thence, as well as a branch of the Bo-tree. But Siamese patriotism flattered itself by imagining that the national religion was due to personal contact with the Buddha, although not even early legends can be cited in support of such traditions. In 1602 a mark in the rocks, now known as the Phra: Bat, was discovered in the hills north of Ayuthia and identified as a footprint of the Buddha similar to that found on Adam's Peak and in other places. Burma and Ceylon both claim the honour of a visit from the Buddha but the Siamese go further, for it is popularly believed that he died at Praten, a little to the north of Phra Pathom, on a spot marked by a slab of rock under great trees.[240] For this reason when the Government of India presented the king of Siam with the relics found in the Piprava vase, the gift though received with honour, aroused little enthusiasm and was placed in a somewhat secluded shrine.[241]


[Footnote 188: The principal sources for information about Siamese Buddhism are: Journal of Siam Society, 1904, and onwards.

L. Fournereau, Le Siam Ancien, 2 vols. 1895 and 1908 in Annales du Musee Guimet. Cited here as Fournereau.

Mission Pavie II, Histoire du Laos, du Cambodge et du Siam, 1898.

Gerini, Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia, 1909. Cited here as Gerini, Ptolemy.

Gerini, Chulakantamangala or Tonsure Ceremony, 1893.

H. Alabaster, The Wheel of the Law, 1871.

P.A. Thompson, Lotus Land, 1906.

W.A. Graham, Siam, 1912.

Petithuguenin, "Notes critiques pour servir a l'histoire du Siam," B.E.F.E.O. 1916, No. 3.

Coedes, "Documents sur la Dynastie de Sukhodaya," ib. 1917, No. 2.

Much curious information may be found in the Directory for Bangkok and Siam, a most interesting book. I have only the issue for 1907.

I have adopted the conventional European spelling for such words as may be said to have one. For other words I have followed Pallegoix's dictionary (1896) for rendering the vowels and tones in Roman characters, but have departed in some respects from his system of transliterating consonants as I think it unnecessary and misleading to write j and x for sounds which apparently correspond to y and ch as pronounced in English.

The King of Siam has published a work on the spelling of His Majesty's own language in Latin letters which ought to be authoritative, but it came into my hands too late for me to modify the orthography here adopted.

As Pallegoix's spelling involves the use of a great many accents I have sometimes begun by using the strictly correct orthography and afterwards a simpler but intelligible form. It should be noted that in this orthography ":" is not a colon but a sign that the vowel before it is very short.]

[Footnote 189: The name is found on Champan inscriptions of 1050 A.D. and according to Gerini appears in Ptolemy's Samarade = Samarattha. See Gerini, Ptolemy, p. 170. But Samarade is located near Bangkok and there can hardly have been Tais there in Ptolemy's time.]

[Footnote 190: So too in Central Asia Kustana appears to be a learned distortion of the name Khotan, made to give it a meaning in Sanskrit.]

[Footnote 191: Gerini states (Ptolemy, p. 107) that there are Pali manuscript chronicles of Lamphun apparently going back to 924 A.D.]

[Footnote 192: Strictly Sukhothai.]

[Footnote 193: Phongsa va: dan or Vamsavada. See for Siamese chronicles, B.E.F.E.O. 1914, No. 3, "Recension palie des annales d'Ayuthia," and ibid. 1916, pp. 5-7.]

[Footnote 194: E.g. Aymonier in J.A. 1903, p. 186, and Gerini in Journal of Siam Society, vol. II. part 1, 1905.]

[Footnote 195: See especially Fournereau and the publications of the Mission Pavie and B.E.F.E.O.]

[Footnote 196: Gerini, Ptolemy, p. 176.]

[Footnote 197: See Fournereau, I. p. 225. B.E.F.E.O. 1916, III. pp. 8-13, and especially Bradley in J. Siam Society, 1909, pp. 1-68.]

[Footnote 198: This alphabet appears to be borrowed from Cambojan but some of the letters particularly in their later shapes show the influence of the Mon or Talaing script. The modern Cambojan alphabet, which is commonly used for ecclesiastical purposes in Siam, is little more than an elaborate form of Siamese.]

[Footnote 199: See B.E.F.E.O. 1904, p. 161.]

[Footnote 200: Bradley, J. Siam Society, 1913, p. 10, seems to think that Pali Buddhism may have come thence but the objection is that we know a good deal about the religion of Camboja and that there is no trace of Pali Buddhism there until it was imported from Siam. The fact that the Siamese alphabet was borrowed from Camboja does not prove that religion was borrowed in the same way. The Mongol alphabet can be traced to a Nestorian source.]

[Footnote 201: See for these inscriptions papers on the Malay Peninsula and Siam by Finot and Lajonquiere in Bull. de la Comm. Archeol. de l'Indo-Chine, 1909, 1910 and 1912.]

[Footnote 202: Fournereau, pp. 157 ff. and Coedes in B.E.F.E.O. 1917, No. 2. Besides the inscription itself, which is badly defaced in parts, we have (1) a similar inscription in Thai, which is not however a translation, (2) a modern Siamese translation, used by Schmitt but severely criticized by Coedes and Petithuguenin.]

[Footnote 203: This portion of the narrative is found only in Schmitt's version of the Siamese translation. The part of the stone where it would have occurred is defaced.]

[Footnote 204: See Fournereau, vol. II. inscriptions xv and xvi and the account of the Jatakas, p. 43.]

[Footnote 205: Fournereau, I. pp. 247, 273. B.E.F.E.O. 1917, No. 2, p. 29.]

[Footnote 206: See the texts in B.E.F.E.O. l.c. The Bodhisattvas are described as Ariyametteyadinam dasannam Bodhisattanam. The vow to become a Buddha should it seems be placed in the mouth of the King, not of the Metropolitan as in Schmitt's translation.]

[Footnote 207: See Fournereau, pp. 209 ff. Dharmasokaraja may perhaps be the same as Mahadharmaraja who reigned 1388-1415. But the word may also be a mere title applied to all kings of this dynasty, so that this may be another inscription of Sri Suryavamsa Rama.]

[Footnote 208: 1350 is the accepted date but M. Aymonier, J.A. 1903, pp. 185 ff. argues in favour of about 1460. See Fournereau, Ancien Siam, p. 242, inscription of 1426 A.D. and p. 186, inscription of 1510 described as Groupe de Sajjanalaya et Sukhodaya.]

[Footnote 209: Fournereau, vol. I. pp. 186 ff.]

[Footnote 210: O. Frankfurter, "King Mongkut," Journal of Siam Society, vol. I. 1904.]

[Footnote 211: But it was his son who first decreed in 1868 that no Siamese could be born a slave. Slavery for debt, though illegal, is said not to be practically extinct.]

[Footnote 212: = Culalankara.]

[Footnote 213: The word has been derived from Vata, a grove, but may it not be the Pali Vatthu, Sanskrit Vastu, a site or building?]

[Footnote 214: = Uposatha.]

[Footnote 215: These finials are very common on the roof ends of Siamese temples and palaces. It is strange that they also are found in conjunction with multiple roofs in Norwegian Churches of eleventh century. See de Beylie, Architecture hindoue dans l'extreme Orient, pp. 47, 48.]

[Footnote 216: The Buddha is generally known as Phra: Khodom (=Gotama).]

[Footnote 217: In an old Siamese bronze from Kampeng Pet, figured in Grunwedel's Buddhist Art in India, p. 179, fig. 127, the Siro rot seems to be in process of evolution.]

[Footnote 218: P.A. Thompson, Lotus Land, 1906, p. 100.]

[Footnote 219: Four images facing the four quarters are considered in Burma to represent the last four Buddhas and among the Jains some of the Tirthankaras are so represented, the legend being that whenever they preached they seemed to face their hearers on every side.]

[Footnote 220: These figures only take account of twelve out of the seventeen provinces.]

[Footnote 221: Thompson, Lotus Land, p. 120.]

[Footnote 222: They bear the title of Somdet Phra: Chao Rajagama and have authority respectively over (a) ordinary Buddhists in northern Siam, (b) ordinary Buddhists in the south, (c) hermits, (d) the Dhammayut sect.]

[Footnote 223: For this and many other details I am indebted to P.A. Thompson, Lotus Land, p. 123.]

[Footnote 224: When gifts of food are made to monks on ceremonial occasions, they usually acknowledge the receipt by reciting verses 7 and 8 of this Sutta, commonly known as Yatha from the first word.]

[Footnote 225: Kathina in Pali. See Mahavag. cap. VII.]

[Footnote 226: Fournereau, p. 225.]

[Footnote 227: The ploughing festival is a recognized imperial ceremony in China. In India ceremonies for private landowners are prescribed in the Grihya Sutras but I do not know if their performance by kings is anywhere definitely ordered. However in the Nidana Katha 270 the Buddha's father celebrates an imposing ploughing ceremony.]

[Footnote 228: I.e. Tusita. Compare such English names descriptive of beautiful scenery as Heaven's Gate.]

[Footnote 229: See Keith, Aitereya Aranyaka, pp. 174-178. The ceremony there described undoubtedly originated in a very ancient popular festival.]

[Footnote 230: I.e. float-raft. Most authors give the word as Krathong, but Pallegoix prefers Kathong.]

[Footnote 231: Chulakantamangalam, Bangkok, 1893.]

[Footnote 232: P.A. Thompson, Lotus Land, p. 134.]

[Footnote 233: For the Brahmans of Siam see Frankfurter, Oriental. Archiv. 1913, pp. 196-7.]

[Footnote 234: Chulakantamangala, p. 56.]

[Footnote 235: They are mostly observances such as Gotama would have classed among "low arts" (tiracchanavijja). At present the monks of Siam deal freely in charms and exorcisms but on important occasions public opinion seems to have greater confidence in the skill and power of Brahmans.]

[Footnote 236: King Sri Suryavamsa Rama relates in an inscription of about 1365 how he set up statues of Paramesvara and Vishnukarma (?) and appointed Brahmans to serve them.]

[Footnote 237: Maj. Nik. 47.]

[Footnote 238: Siam Society, vol. IV. part ii. 1907. Some Siamese ghost-lore by A.J. Irwin.]

[Footnote 239: Jour. Siam Soc. 1909, p. 28. "In yonder mountain is a demon spirit Phra Khaphung that is greater than every other spirit in this realm. If any Prince ruling this realm reverences him well with proper offerings, this realm stands firm, this realm prospers. If the spirit be not reverenced well, if the offerings be not right, the spirit in the mountain does not protect, does not regard:—this realm perishes."]

[Footnote 240: The most popular life of the Buddha in Siamese is called Pa:thomma Somphothiyan, translated by Alabaster in The Wheel of the Law. But like the Lalita vistara and other Indian lives on which it is modelled it stops short at the enlightenment. Another well-known religious book is the Traiphum (=Tribhumi), an account of the universe according to Hindu principles, compiled in 1776 from various ancient works.

The Pali literature of Siam is not very large. Some account of it is given by Coedes in B.E.F.E.O. 1915, III. pp. 39-46.]

[Footnote 241: When in Bangkok in 1907 I saw in a photographer's shop a photograph of the procession which escorted these relics to their destination. It was inscribed "Arrival of Buddha's tooth from Kandy." This shows how deceptive historical evidence may be. The inscription was the testimony of an eye-witness and yet it was entirely wrong.]




The French Protectorate of Camboja corresponds roughly to the nucleus, though by no means to the whole extent of the former Empire of the Khmers. The affinities of this race have given rise to considerable discussion and it has been proposed to connect them with the Munda tribes of India on one side and with the Malays and Polynesians on the other.[243] They are allied linguistically to the Mons or Talaings of Lower Burma and to the Khasias of Assam, but it is not proved that they are similarly related to the Annamites, and recent investigators are not disposed to maintain the Mon-Annam family of languages proposed by Logan and others. But the undoubted similarity of the Mon and Khmer languages suggests that the ancestors of those who now speak them were at one time spread over the central and western parts of Indo-China but were subsequently divided and deprived of much territory by the southward invasions of the Thais in the middle ages.

The Khmers also called themselves Kambuja or Kamvuja and their name for the country is still either Srok Kampuchea or Srok Khmer.[244] Attempts have been made to find a Malay origin for this name Kambuja but native tradition regards it as a link with India and affirms that the race is descended from Kambu Svayambhuva and Mera or Pera who was given to him by Siva as wife.[245] This legend hardly proves that the Khmer people came from India but they undoubtedly received thence their civilization, their royal family and a considerable number of Hindu immigrants, so that the mythical ancestor of their kings naturally came to be regarded as the progenitor of the race. The Chinese traveller Chou Ta-kuan (1296 A.D.) says that the country known to the Chinese as Chen-la is called by the natives Kan-po-chih but that the present dynasty call it Kan-p'u-chih on the authority of Sanskrit (Hsi-fan) works. The origin of the name Chen-la is unknown.

There has been much discussion respecting the relation of Chen-la to the older kingdom of Fu-nan which is the name given by Chinese historians until the early part of the seventh century to a state occupying the south-eastern and perhaps central portions of Indo-China. It has been argued that Chen-la is simply the older name of Fu-nan and on the other hand that Fu-nan is a wider designation including several states, one of which, Chen-la or Camboja, became paramount at the expense of the others.[246] But the point seems unimportant for their religious history with which we have to deal. In religion and general civilization both were subject to Indian influence and it is not recorded that the political circumstances which turned Fu-nan into Chen-la were attended by any religious revolution.

The most important fact in the history of these countries, as in Champa and Java, is the presence from early times of Indian influence as a result of commerce, colonization, or conquest. Orientalists have only recently freed themselves from the idea that the ancient Hindus, and especially their religion, were restricted to the limits of India. In mediaeval times this was true. Emigration was rare and it was only in the nineteenth century that the travelling Hindu became a familiar and in some British colonies not very welcome visitor. Even now Hindus of the higher caste evade rather than deny the rule which forbids them to cross the ocean.[247] But for a long while Hindus have frequented the coast of East Africa[248] and in earlier centuries their traders, soldiers and missionaries covered considerable distances by sea. The Jatakas[249] mention voyages to Babylon: Vijaya and Mahinda reached Ceylon in the fifth and third centuries B.C. respectively. There is no certain evidence as to the epoch when Hindus first penetrated beyond the Malay peninsula, but Java is mentioned in the Ramayana:[250] the earliest Sanskrit inscriptions of Champa date from our third or perhaps second century, and the Chinese Annals of the Tsin indicate that at a period considerably anterior to that dynasty there were Hindus in Fu-nan.[251] It is therefore safe to conclude that they must have reached these regions about the beginning of the Christian era and, should any evidence be forthcoming, there is no reason why this date should not be put further back. At present we can only say that the establishment of Hindu kingdoms probably implies earlier visits of Hindu traders and that voyages to the south coast of Indo-China and the Archipelago were probably preceded by settlements on the Isthmus of Kra, for instance at Ligor.

The motives which prompted this eastward movement have been variously connected with religious persecution in India, missionary enterprise, commerce and political adventure. The first is the least probable. There is little evidence for the systematic persecution of Buddhists in India and still less for the persecution of Brahmans by Buddhists. Nor can these Indian settlements be regarded as primarily religious missions. The Brahmans have always been willing to follow and supervise the progress of Hindu civilization, but they have never shown any disposition to evangelize foreign countries apart from Hindu settlements in them. The Buddhists had this evangelistic temper and the journeys of their missionaries doubtless stimulated other classes to go abroad, but still no inscriptions or annals suggest that the Hindu migrations to Java and Camboja were parallel to Mahinda's mission to Ceylon. Nor is there any reason to think that they were commanded or encouraged by Indian Rajas, for no mention of their despatch has been found in India, and no Indian state is recorded to have claimed suzerainty over these colonies. It therefore seems likely that they were founded by traders and also by adventurers who followed existing trade routes and had their own reasons for leaving India. In a country where dynastic quarrels were frequent and the younger sons of Rajas had a precarious tenure of life, such reasons can be easily imagined. In Camboja we find an Indian dynasty established after a short struggle, but in other countries, such as Java and Sumatra, Indian civilization endured because it was freely adopted by native chiefs and not because it was forced on them as a result of conquest.

The inscriptions discovered in Camboja and deciphered by the labours of French savants offer with one lacuna (about 650-800 A.D.) a fairly continuous history of the country from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries. For earlier periods we depend almost entirely on Chinese accounts which are fragmentary and not interested in anything but the occasional relations of China with Fu-nan. The annals of the Tsin dynasty[252] already cited say that from 265 A.D. onwards the kings of Fu-nan sent several embassies to the Chinese Court, adding that the people have books and that their writing resembles that of the Hu. The Hu are properly speaking a tribe of Central Asia, but the expression doubtless means no more than alphabetic writing as opposed to Chinese characters and such an alphabet can hardly have had other than an Indian origin. Originally, adds the Annalist, the sovereign was a woman, but there came a stranger called Hun-Hui who worshipped the Devas and had had a dream in which one of them gave him a bow[253] and ordered him to sail for Fu-nan. He conquered the country and married the Queen but his descendants deteriorated and one Fan-Hsun founded another dynasty. The annals of the Ch'i dynasty (479-501) give substantially the same story but say that the stranger was called Hun-T'ien (which is probably the correct form of the name) and that he came from Chi or Chiao, an unknown locality. The same annals state that towards the end of the fifth century the king of Fu-nan who bore the family name of Ch'iao-ch'en-ju[254] or Kaundinya and the personal name of She-yeh-po-mo (Jayavarman) traded with Canton. A Buddhist monk named Nagasena returned thence with some Cambojan merchants and so impressed this king with his account of China that he was sent back in 484 to beg for the protection of the Emperor. The king's petition and a supplementary paper by Nagasena are preserved in the annals. They seem to be an attempt to represent the country as Buddhist, while explaining that Mahesvara is its tutelary deity.

The Liang annals also state that during the Wu dynasty (222-280) Fan Chan, then king of Fu-nan, sent a relative named Su-Wu on an embassy to India, to a king called Mao-lun, which probably represents Murunda, a people of the Ganges valley mentioned by the Puranas and by Ptolemy. This king despatched a return embassy to Fu-nan and his ambassadors met there an official sent by the Emperor of China.[255] The early date ascribed to these events is noticeable.

The Liang annals contain also the following statements. Between the years 357 and 424 A.D. named as the dates of embassies sent to China, an Indian Brahman called Ch'iao-ch'en-ju (Kaundinya) heard a supernatural voice bidding him go and reign in Fu-nan. He met with a good reception and was elected king. He changed the customs of the country and made them conform to those of India. One of his successors, Jayavarman, sent a coral image of Buddha in 503 to the Emperor Wu-ti (502-550). The inhabitants of Fu-nan are said to make bronze images of the heavenly genii with two or four heads and four or eight arms. Jayavarman was succeeded by a usurper named Liu-t'o-pa-mo (Rudravarman) who sent an image made of sandal wood to the Emperor in 519 and in 539 offered him a hair of the Buddha twelve feet long. The Sui annals (589-618) state that Citrasena, king of Chen-la, conquered Fu-nan and was succeeded by his son Isanasena.

Two monks of Fu-nan are mentioned among the translators of the Chinese scriptures,[256] namely, Sanghapala and Mandra. Both arrived in China during the first years of the sixth century and their works are extant. The pilgrim I-Ching who returned from India in 695 says[257] that to the S.W. of Champa lies the country Po-nan, formerly called Fu-nan, which is the southern corner of Jambudvipa. He says that "of old it was a country the inhabitants of which lived naked; the people were mostly worshippers of devas and later on Buddhism flourished there, but a wicked king has now expelled and exterminated them all and there are no members of the Buddhist brotherhood at all."

These data from Chinese authorities are on the whole confirmed by the Cambojan inscriptions. Rudravarman is mentioned[258] and the kings claim to belong to the race of Kaundinya.[259] This is the name of a Brahman gotra, but such designations were often borne by Kshatriyas and the conqueror of Camboja probably belonged to that caste. It may be affirmed with some certainty that he started from south-eastern India and possibly he sailed from Mahabalipur (also called the Seven Pagodas). Masulipatam was also a port of embarcation for the East and was connected with Broach by a trade route running through Tagara, now Ter in the Nizam's dominions. By using this road, it was possible to avoid the west coast, which was infested by pirates.

The earliest Cambojan inscriptions date from the beginning of the seventh century and are written in an alphabet closely resembling that of the inscriptions in the temple of Papanatha at Pattadkal in the Bijapur district.[260] They are composed in Sanskrit verse of a somewhat exuberant style, which revels in the commonplaces of Indian poetry. The deities most frequently mentioned are Siva by himself and Siva united with Vishnu in the form Hari-Hara. The names of the kings end in Varman and this termination is also specially frequent in names of the Pallava dynasty.[261] The magnificent monuments still extant attest a taste for architecture on a large scale similar to that found among the Dravidians. These and many other indications justify the conclusion that the Indian civilization and religion which became predominant in Camboja were imported from the Deccan.

The Chinese accounts distinctly mention two invasions, one under Ch'iao-ch'en-ju (Kaundinya) about 400 A.D. and one considerably anterior to 265 under Hun-T'ien. It might be supposed that this name also represents Kaundinya and that there is a confusion of dates. But the available evidence is certainly in favour of the establishment of Hindu civilization in Fu-nan long before 400 A.D. and there is nothing improbable in the story of the two invasions and even of two Kaundinyas. Maspero suggests that the first invasion came from Java and formed part of the same movement which founded the kingdom of Champa. It is remarkable that an inscription in Sanskrit found on the east coast of Borneo and apparently dating from the fifth century mentions Kundagga as the grandfather of the reigning king, and the Liang annals say that the king of Poli (probably in Borneo but according to some in Sumatra) was called Ch'iao-ch'en-ju. It seems likely that the Indian family of Kaundinya was established somewhere in the South Seas (perhaps in Java) at an early period and thence invaded various countries at various times. But Fu-nan is a vague geographical term and it may be that Hun-T'ien founded a Hindu dynasty in Champa.

It is clear that during the period of the inscriptions the religion of Camboja was a mixture of Brahmanism and Buddhism, the only change noticeable being the preponderance of one or other element in different centuries. But it would be interesting to know the value of I-Ching's statement that Buddhism flourished in Fu-nan in early times and was then subverted by a wicked king, by whom Bhavavarman[262] may be meant. Prima facie the statement is not improbable, for there is no reason why the first immigrants should not have been Buddhists, but the traditions connecting these countries with early Hinayanist missionaries are vague. Taranatha[263] states that the disciples of Vasubandhu introduced Buddhism into the country of Koki (Indo-China) but his authority does not count for much in such a matter. The statement of I-Ching however has considerable weight, especially as the earliest inscription found in Champa (that of Vocan) appears to be inspired by Buddhism.


It may be well to state briefly the chief facts of Cambojan history[264] before considering the phases through which religion passed. Until the thirteenth century our chief authorities are the Sanskrit and Khmer inscriptions, supplemented by notices in the Chinese annals. The Khmer inscriptions are often only a translation or paraphrase of Sanskrit texts found in the same locality and, as a rule, are more popular, having little literary pretension. They frequently contain lists of donations or of articles to be supplied by the population for the upkeep of pious foundations. After the fourteenth century we have Cambojan annals of dubious value and we also find inscriptions in Pali or in modern Cambojan. The earliest Sanskrit inscriptions date from the beginning of the seventh century and mention works undertaken in 604 and 624.

The first important king is Bhavavarman (c. 500 A.D.), a conqueror and probably a usurper, who extended his kingdom considerably towards the west. His career of conquest was continued by Mahavarman (also called Citrasena), by Isanavarman and by Jayavarman.[265] This last prince was on the throne in 667, but his reign is followed by a lacuna of more than a century. Notices in the Chinese annals, confirmed by the double genealogies given for this period in later inscriptions, indicate that Camboja was divided for some time into two states, one littoral and the other inland.

Clear history begins again with the reign of Jayavarman II (802-869). Later sovereigns evidently regard him as the great national hero and he lives in popular legend as the builder of a magnificent palace, Beng Mealea, whose ruins still exist[266] and as the recipient of the sacred sword of Indra which is preserved at Phnom-penh to this day. We are told that he "came from Java," which is more likely to be some locality in the Malay Peninsula or Laos than the island of that name. It is possible that Jayavarman was carried away captive to this region but returned to found a dynasty independent of it.[267]

The ancient city of Angkor has probably done more to make Camboja known in Europe than any recent achievements of the Khmer race. In the centre of it stands the temple now called Bayon and outside its walls are many other edifices of which the majestic Angkor Wat is the largest and best preserved. King Indravarman (877-899) seems responsible for the selection of the site but he merely commenced the construction of the Bayon. The edifice was completed by his son Yasovarman (889-908) who also built a town round it, called Yasod harapura, Kambupuri or Mahanagara. Angkor Thom is the Cambojan translation of this last name, Angkor being a corruption of Nokor ( = Nagara). Yasovarman's empire comprised nearly all Indo-China between Burma and Champa and he has been identified with the Leper king of Cambojan legend. His successors continued to embellish Angkor Thom, but Jayavarman IV abandoned it and it was deserted for several years until Rajendravarman II (944-968) made it the capital again. The Chinese Annals, supported by allusions in the inscriptions, state that this prince conquered Champa. The long reigns of Jayavarman V, Suryavarman I, and Udayadityavarman, which cover more than a century (968-1079) seem to mark a prosperous period when architecture flourished, although Udayadityavarman had to contend with two rebellions. Another great king, Suryavarman II (1112-1162) followed shortly after them, and for a time succeeded in uniting Camboja and Champa under his sway. Some authorities credit him with a successful expedition to Ceylon. There is not sufficient evidence for this, but he was a great prince and, in spite of his foreign wars, maintained peace and order at home.

Jayavarman VII, who appears to have reigned from 1162 to 1201, reduced to obedience his unruly vassals of the north and successfully invaded Champa which remained for thirty years, though not without rebellion, the vassal of Camboja. It was evacuated by his successor Indravarman in 1220.

After this date there is again a gap of more than a century in Cambojan history, and when the sequence of events becomes clear again, we find that Siam has grown to be a dangerous and aggressive enemy. But though the vigour of the kingdom may have declined, the account of the Chinese traveller Chou Ta-kuan who visited Angkor Thom in 1296 shows that it was not in a state of anarchy nor conquered by Siam. There had however been a recent war with Siam and he mentions that the country was devastated. He unfortunately does not tell us the name of the reigning king and the list of sovereigns begins again only in 1340 when the Annals of Camboja take up the history. They are not of great value. The custom of recording all events of importance prevailed at the Cambojan Court in earlier times but these chronicles were lost in the eighteenth century. King Ang Chan (1796-1834) ordered that they should be re-written with the aid of the Siamese chronicles and such other materials as were available and fixed 1340 as the point of departure, apparently because the Siamese chronicles start from that date.[268] Although the period of the annals offers little but a narrative of dissensions at home and abroad, of the interference of Annam on one side and of Siam on the other, yet it does not seem that the sudden cessation of inscriptions and of the ancient style of architecture in the thirteenth century was due to the collapse of Camboja, for even in the sixteenth century it offered a valiant, and often successful, resistance to aggressions from the west. But Angkor Thom and the principal monuments were situated near the Siamese frontier and felt the shock of every collision. The sense of security, essential for the construction of great architectural works, had disappeared and the population became less submissive and less willing to supply forced labour without which such monuments could not be erected.

The Siamese captured Angkor Thom in 1313, 1351 and 1420 but did not on any occasion hold it for long. Again in 1473 they occupied Chantaboun, Korat and Angkor but had to retire and conclude peace. King Ang Chan I successfully disputed the right of Siam to treat him as a vassal and established his capital at Lovek, which he fortified and ornamented. He reigned from 1505 to 1555 and both he and his son, Barom Racha, seem entitled to rank among the great kings of Camboja. But the situation was clearly precarious and when a minor succeeded to the throne in 1574 the Siamese seized the opportunity and recaptured Lovek and Chantaboun. Though this capture was the death blow to the power of the Khmers, the kingdom of Camboja did not cease to exist but for nearly three centuries continued to have an eventful but uninteresting history as the vassal of Siam or Annam or even of both,[269] until in the middle of the nineteenth century the intervention of France substituted a European Protectorate for these Asiatic rivalries.

The provinces of Siem-reap and Battambang, in which Angkor Thom and the principal ancient monuments are situated, were annexed by Siam at the end of the eighteenth century, but in virtue of an arrangement negotiated by the French Government they were restored to Camboja in 1907, Krat and certain territories being at the same time ceded to Siam.[270]


The religious history of Camboja may be divided into two periods, exclusive of the possible existence there of Hinayanist Buddhism in the early centuries of our era. In the first period, which witnessed the construction of the great monuments and the reigns of the great kings, both Brahmanism and Mahayanist Buddhism nourished, but as in Java and Champa without mutual hostility. This period extends certainly from the sixth to the thirteenth centuries and perhaps its limits should be stretched to 400-1400 A.D. In any case it passed without abrupt transition into the second period in which, under Siamese influence, Hinayanist Buddhism supplanted the older faiths, although the ceremonies of the Cambojan court still preserve a good deal of Brahmanic ritual.

During the first period, Brahmanism and Mahayanism were professed by the Court and nobility. The multitude of great temples and opulent endowments, the knowledge of Sanskrit literature and the use of Indian names, leave no doubt about this, but it is highly probable that the mass of the people had their own humbler forms of worship. Still there is no record of anything that can be called Khmer—as opposed to Indian—religion. As in Siam, the veneration of nature spirits is universal in Camboja and little shrines elevated on poles are erected in their honour in the neighbourhood of almost every house. Possibly the more important of these spirits were identified in early times with Indian deities or received Sanskrit names. Thus we hear of a pious foundation in honour of Brahmarakshas,[271] perhaps a local mountain spirit. Siva is adored under the name of Sri Sikharesvara, the Lord of the Peak and Krishna appears to be identified with a local god called Sri Champesvara who was worshipped by Jayavarman VI.[272]

The practice of accepting and hinduizing strange gods with whom they came in contact was so familiar to the Brahmans that it would be odd if no examples of it occurred in Camboja. Still the Brahmanic religion which has left such clear records there was in the main not a hinduized form of any local cult but a direct importation of Indian thought, ritual and literature. The Indian invaders or colonists were accompanied by Brahmans: their descendants continued to bear Indian names and to give them to all places of importance: Sanskrit was the ecclesiastical and official language, for the inscriptions written in Khmer are clearly half-contemptuous notifications to the common people, respecting such details as specially concerned them: Asramas and castes (varna) are mentioned[273] and it is probable that natives were only gradually and grudgingly admitted to the higher castes. There is also reason to believe that this Hindu civilization was from time to time vivified by direct contact with India. The embassy of Su-Wu has already been mentioned[274] and an inscription records the marriage of a Cambojan princess with a Brahman called Divakara who came from the banks of the Yamuna, "where Krishna sported in his infancy."

During the whole period of the inscriptions the worship of Siva seems to have been the principal cultus and to some extent the state religion, for even kings who express themselves in their inscriptions as devout Buddhists do not fail to invoke him. But there is no trace of hostility to Vishnuism and the earlier inscriptions constantly celebrate the praises of the compound deity Vishnu-Siva, known under such names as Hari-Hara,[275] Sambhu-Vishnu, Sankara-Narayana, etc. Thus an inscription of Ang-Pou dating from Isanavarman's reign says "Victorious are Hara and Acyuta become one for the good of the world, though as the spouses of Parvati and Sri they have different forms."[276] But the worship of this double being is accompanied by pure Sivaism and by the adoration of other deities. In the earliest inscriptions Bhavavarman invokes Siva and dedicates a linga. He also celebrates the compound deity under the name of Sambhu-Vishnu and mentions Uma, Lakshmi, Bharati, Dharma, the Maruts, and Vishnu under the names of Caturbhuja and Trailokyasara. There appears to be no allusion to the worship of Vishnu-Siva as two in one after the seventh century, but though Siva became exalted at the expense of his partner, Vishnu must have had adorers for two kings, Jayavarman III and Suryavarman II, were known after their death by the names of Vishnu-loka and Parama-Vishnu-loka.

Siva became generally recognized as the supreme deity, in a comprehensive but not an exclusive sense. He is the universal spirit from whom emanate Brahma and Vishnu. His character as the Destroyer is not much emphasized: he is the God of change, and therefore of reproduction, whose symbol is the Linga. It is remarkable to find that a pantheistic form of Sivaism is clearly enunciated in one of the earliest inscriptions.[277] Siva is there styled Vibhu, the omnipresent, Paramvrahma ( = Brahma), Jagatpati, Pasupati. An inscription found at Angkor[278] mentions an Acarya of the Pasupatas as well as an Acarya of the Saivas and Chou Ta-kuan seems to allude to the worshippers of Pasupati under the name of Pa-ssu-wei. It would therefore appear that the Pasupatas existed in Camboja as a distinct sect and there are some indications[279] that ideas which prevailed among the Lingayats also found their way thither.

The most interesting and original aspect of Cambojan religion is its connection with the state and the worship of deities somehow identified with the king or with prominent personages.[280] These features are also found in Champa and Java. In all these countries it was usual that when a king founded a temple, the god worshipped in it should be called by his name or by something like it. Thus when Bhadravarman dedicated a temple to Siva, the god was styled Bhadresvara. More than this, when a king or any distinguished person died, he was commemorated by a statue which reproduced his features but represented him with the attributes of his favourite god. Thus Indravarman and Yasovarman dedicated at Bako and Lolei shrines in which deceased members of the royal family were commemorated in the form of images of Siva and Devi bearing names similar to their own. Another form of apotheosis was to describe a king by a posthumous title, indicating that he had gone to the heaven of his divine patron such as Paramavishnuloka or Buddhaloka. The temple of Bayon was a truly national fane, almost a Westminster abbey, in whose many shrines all the gods and great men of the country were commemorated. The French archaeologists recognize four classes of these shrines dedicated respectively to (a) Indian deities, mostly special forms of Siva, Devi and Vishnu; (b) Mahayanist Buddhas, especially Buddhas of healing, who were regarded as the patron saints of various towns and mountains; (c) similar local deities apparently of Cambojan origin and perhaps corresponding to the God of the City worshipped in every Chinese town; (d) deified kings and notables, who appear to have been represented in two forms, the human and divine, bearing slightly different names. Thus one inscription speaks of Sri Mahendresvari who is the divine form (vrah rupa) of the lady Sri Mahendralakshmi.

The presiding deity of the Bayon was Siva, adored under the form of the linga. The principal external ornaments of the building are forty towers each surmounted by four heads. These were formerly thought to represent Brahma but there is little doubt that they are meant for lingas bearing four faces of Siva, since each head has three eyes. Such lingas are occasionally seen in India[281] and many metal cases bearing faces and made to be fitted on lingas have been discovered in Champa. These four-headed columns are found on the gates of Angkor Thom as well as in the Bayon and are singularly impressive. The emblem adored in the central shrine of the Bayon was probably a linga but its title was Kamraten jagat ta raja or Devaraja, the king-god. More explicitly still it is styled Kamraten jagat ta rajya, the god who is the kingdom. It typified and contained the royal essence present in the living king of Camboja and in all her kings. Several inscriptions make it clear that not only dead but living people could be represented by statue-portraits which identified them with a deity, and in one very remarkable record a general offers to the king the booty he has captured, asking him to present it "to your subtle ego who is Isvara dwelling in a golden linga."[282] Thus this subtle ego dwells in a linga, is identical with Siva, and manifests itself in the successive kings of the royal house.

The practices described have some analogies in India. The custom of describing the god of a temple by the name of the founder was known there.[283] The veneration of ancestors is universal; there are some mausolea (for instance at Ahar near Udeypore) and the notion that in life the soul can reside elsewhere than in the body is an occasional popular superstition. Still these ideas and practices are not conspicuous features of Hinduism and the Cambojans had probably come within the sphere of another influence. In all eastern Asia the veneration of the dead is the fundamental and ubiquitous form of religion and in China we find fully developed such ideas as that the great should be buried in monumental tombs, that a spirit can be made to reside in a tablet or image, and that the human soul is compound so that portions of it can be in different places. These beliefs combined with the Indian doctrine that the deity is manifested in incarnations, in the human soul and in images afford a good theoretical basis for the worship of the Devaraja. It was also agreeable to far-eastern ideas that religion and the state should be closely associated and the Cambojan kings would be glad to imitate the glories of the Son of Heaven. But probably a simpler cause tended to unite church and state in all these Hindu colonies. In mediaeval India the Brahmans became so powerful that they could claim to represent religion and civilization apart from the state. But in Camboja and Champa Brahmanic religion and civilization were bound up with the state. Both were attacked by and ultimately succumbed to the same enemies.

The Brahmanism of Camboja, as we know it from the inscriptions, was so largely concerned with the worship of this "Royal God" that it might almost be considered a department of the court. It seems to have been thought essential to the dignity of a Sovereign who aspired to be more than a local prince, that his Chaplain or preceptor should have a pontifical position. A curious parallel to this is shown by those mediaeval princes of eastern Europe who claimed for their chief bishops the title of patriarch as a complement to their own imperial pretensions. In its ultimate form the Cambojan hierarchy was the work of Jayavarman II, who, it will be remembered, reestablished the kingdom after an obscure but apparently disastrous interregnum. He made the priesthood of the Royal God hereditary in the family of Sivakaivalya and the sacerdotal dynasty thus founded enjoyed during some centuries a power inferior only to that of the kings.

In the inscriptions of Sdok Kak Thom[284] the history of this family is traced from the reign of Jayavarman II to 1052. The beginning of the story as related in both the Sanskrit and Khmer texts is interesting but obscure. It is to the effect that Jayavarman, anxious to assure his position as an Emperor (Cakravartin) independent of Java,[285] summoned from Janapada a Brahman called Hiranyadama, learned in magic (siddhividya), who arranged the rules (viddhi) for the worship of the Royal God and taught the king's Chaplain, Sivakaivalya, four treatises called Vrah Vinasikha, Nayottara, Sammoha and Sirascheda. These works are not otherwise known.[286] The king made a solemn compact that "only the members of his (Sivakaivalya's) maternal[287] family, men and women, should be Yajakas (sacrificers or officiants) to the exclusion of all others." The restriction refers no doubt only to the cult of the Royal God and the office of court chaplain, called Purohita, Guru or Hotri, of whom there were at least two.

The outline of this narrative, that a learned Brahman was imported and charged with the instruction of the royal chaplain, is simple and probable but the details are perplexing. The Sanskrit treatises mentioned are unknown and the names singular. Janapada as the name of a definite locality is also strange,[288] but it is conceivable that the word may have been used in Khmer as a designation of India or a part of it.

The inscription goes on to relate the gratifying history of the priestly family, the grants of land made to them, the honours they received. We gather that it was usual for an estate to be given to a priest with the right to claim forced labour from the population. He then proceeded to erect a town or village embellished with temples and tanks. The hold of Brahmanism on the country probably depended more on such priestly towns than on the convictions of the people. The inscriptions often speak of religious establishments being restored and sometimes say that they had become deserted and overgrown. We may conclude that if the Brahman lords of a village ceased for any reason to give it their attention, the labour and contributions requisite for the upkeep of the temples were not forthcoming and the jungle was allowed to grow over the buildings.

Numerous inscriptions testify to the grandeur of the Sivakaivalya family. The monotonous lists of their properties and slaves, of the statues erected in their honour and the number of parasols borne before them show that their position was almost regal, even when the king was a Buddhist. They prudently refrained from attempting to occupy the throne, but probably no king could succeed unless consecrated by them. Sadasiva, Sankarapandita and Divakarapandita formed an ecclesiastical dynasty from about 1000 to 1100 A.D. parallel to the long reigns of the kings in the same period.[289] The last-named mentions in an inscription that he had consecrated three kings and Sankarapandita, a man of great learning, was de facto sovereign during the minority of his pupil Udayadityavarman nor did he lose his influence when the young king attained his majority.

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