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Monastic Orders within Theravada

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Part of the article on Theravada Buddhism
Part of a series on the
Theravada Buddhism
Asokanpillar-crop
Countries

Sri Lanka
Cambodia • Laos
Burma • Thailand

Text

Pali Canon
Commentaries
Subcommentaries

History

Pre-sectarian Buddhism
Early schools • Sthavira
Asoka • Third Council
Vibhajjavada
Mahinda • Sanghamitta
Dipavamsa • Mahavamsa
Buddhaghosa

Doctrine

Saṃsāra • Nibbāṇa
Middle Way
Noble Eightfold Path
Four Noble Truths
Enlightenment Stages
Precepts • Three Jewels





Pipal
Early
Buddhism
Scriptures

Pali Canon
Āgamas
Gandharan texts

Councils
1st Council
2nd Council
3rd Council
4th Council
Schools

First Sangha
 Mahāsāṃghika
 Sthaviravāda
     Sarvāstivāda
     Vibhajjavāda
         Theravāda
         Dharma-
             guptaka

Theravada monks typically belong to a particular nikaya, variously referred to as monastic orders or fraternities. These different orders do not typically develop separate doctrines, but may differ in the manner in which they observe monastic rules. These monastic orders represent lineages of ordination, typically tracing their origin to a particular group of monks that established a new ordination tradition within a particular country or geographic area. In Sri Lanka caste plays a major role in the division into nikayas. Some Theravada Buddhist countries appoint or elect a sangharaja, or Supreme Patriarch of the Sangha, as the highest ranking or seniormost monk in a particular area, or from a particular nikaya. The demise of monarchies has resulted in the suspension of these posts in some countries, but patriarchs have continued to be appointed in Thailand. Burma and Cambodia ended the practice of appointing a sangharaja for some time, but the position was later restored, though in Cambodia it lapsed again.

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