THAI SANGHA IN UK
THE RULES AND REGULATIONS
Of the Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of
The United Kingdom of Great Britain
And Northern Ireland
There is growing interest in Buddhism in Great Britain today. There are many resident Thai monks teaching Buddhism and conducting meditation practice and many people accept that Buddhism teaches peace and happiness. Buddhism therefore forms an active and important part in many British people’s everyday lives and for this reason Thai monks living in Great Britain have a great deal of work to do.
In 2005 the Supreme Council of Senior Monks in Thailand appointed the Senior Incumbent, who is the Head of Thai Buddhist Missionary Monk of the Buddhapadipa Temple in London, to lay down rules and regulations so that the Thai missionary monks can spread Theravada Buddhism in the correct way as the Buddha directed. The Senior Incumbent set up a meeting of all Thai Buddhist monks in the United Kingdom to decide the matters at issue. As a result of the discussions “The Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” was established. Its rules and regulations are as follows:
(1) The Convention (the Practice)
- Thai monks who teach Theravada Buddhism in the United Kingdom are called Thai Buddhist missionary monks.
- All rules and regulations of this council come into effect from 1st January 2006.
- The Senior Incumbent of the Buddhapadipa Temple who has been appointed by the Supreme Council of the Senior Buddhist Monks in Thailand is the President of “The Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
- All Thai Buddhist missionary monks are to teach Theravada Buddhism in accordance with the rules and regulations of this Council.
- The name of this council is “The Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”. This is abbreviated to ‘CTBMUK’.
- This Council is symbolised by the two prone deer on each side of the Dharma Wheel of Buddhism with the English caption “The Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”.
- The word ‘Council’ means “The Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
(2) Aims and Objectives of the Council
The aims and objectives of the Council are as follows:
- To control and support Thai Buddhist missionary monks who teach Theravada Buddhism in the United Kingdom. They must follow the etiquette of monastic life as well as the rules and regulations laid down by the Supreme Council of the Senior Monks in Thailand.
- This Council is to be the centre to provide correct advice to Thai Buddhist missionary monks and support the spread of the Theravada Buddhism by Thai temples.
- To encourage Thai Buddhist monks in Great Britain to improve education.
- To be the centre of friendship between Thai and non-Thai Buddhists.
- To be the centre of Buddhist Public Relations and News.
- To be the centre to help other Buddhist Thai organizations overcome problems.
- To be the centre to communicate with Thai and other diplomatic services.
- To take care of the human rights of Thai Buddhist missionary monks who teach Buddhism in the United Kingdom.
- To consider the opportunity for a Thai monk to have a title bestowed upon him by His Majesty the King of Thailand.
- To consider the right way to establish a Thai Buddhist temple in the UK.
(3) The Site (Locality) of the Council
- The Head Office of the Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is:
- The Buddhapadipa Temple
14 Calonne Road
London SW19 5HJ
EnglandTelephone: 020-8946 1357
Fax: 020-8944 5788
- The Buddhapadipa Temple
- The Secretary General’s Office is where he lives and works.
(4) The Committee of the Council
The Committee of the Council consists of ‘Advisers’, ‘Supporters’ and ‘Executive Committee’ as followed:
- The Advisers and Supporters:
- Thai Buddhist monks
- The Lay people
- The Executive Committee (or Governing Officers):
- The President
- Vice President
- Secretary General
- The Registrar and Administrator
- The Public Relation (PR) Officer
- Treasurer or Attendant
(5) The Advisers of the Council
- The President of the Committee (in Thailand) that trains and advises Thai monks to disseminate Buddhism abroad.
- The Chancellor of Mahachulalongkarana-rachvidhyalaya (a Buddhist University) in Wat Mahadhat in Bangkok, Thailand.
- The Director of the Department of Thai Buddhism in Thailand.
- His Excellency the Thai Ambassador to the United Kingdom.
(6) The Executive Committee of the Council
All of the Executive Committee of the Council appointed by the President must be accepted by the abbots or heads of Buddhist centres in the United Kingdom. All of the appointed members of the Committee must be members of the Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain Northern Ireland. In particular, the Treasurer or Attendant must be Buddhist. The term of the committee is for three years.
Any new member appointed to replace the post of an executive committee member holds that post for the duration of the unexpired term.
(7) The Advisers and Supporters of the Council
All advisers and supporters to the Council are appointed by the agreement of the governing body of the Council. Their term is for three years.
(8) The Term of Executive Committee, Advisers and Supporters
The term of all executive committee members, advisers and supporters of the Council are terminated as follows:
- A monk who leaves the Order
- Executive Committee calls for his resignation
(9) The Executive Committee Board
When any post of the Executive Committee is vacant the President of the Council should select a competent member to fill that position by the agreement of the governing body. The new committee member remains in the position for the duration of the unexpired term.
(10) Memberships of the Council
There are the following two types of membership:
- All Thai monks who are allowed by the Supreme Council of Senior Monks in Thailand and with the agreement of the Executive Committee of the Council to be Buddhist missionary or assistant monks to spread Theravada Buddhism at Thai monasteries or Thai Buddhist centres in the Great Britain, are members of the Council.
- Special members are Thai monks who are selected by their senior incumbents with the agreement of the Executive Committee of the Council.
(11) The Term of Both Memberships of the Council
The term of both memberships is terminated as follows:
- Monks who leave the Order
- The senior incumbents order them to resign
- Executive committee calls for them to resign
(12) The Right and Duties of Membership of the Council
All members of the Council have the following rights and responsibilities:
- They will obtain help and support from the Council where possible and in accordance with the objectives of the Council.
- They have the right to suggest ideas that may be useful to the Council.
- They have the right to attend the AGM and be appointed by their senior incumbent to attend the meeting of the Executive Committee.
- They should pay for their membership.
(13) The Authority and Duty of the Executive Committee
- The duties of the President
- To chair all meetings of the Executive Committee
- To be responsible for all work of the Council.
- To be the representative of the Council at meetings or conferences when invited by other interfaith groups or religions.
- The duty of the Vice President
- To comply with any instructions of the President
- The duties of the Secretary General
- To chair the Executive Committee meetings in the absence of the President or Vice President.
- To communicate with other religions and their members in accordance with correct social formalities.
- To inspect rules, regulations and dissemination of Thai Buddhist missionary monks and to report at the AGM.To deal with any duties imposed by the President.
- The duties of the head of the Head Office.
- To be responsible for the register of members.
- To keep all documents in a secure place.
- To advise interested parties of the work of the Council.
- The duties of the Public Relations Officer
- To communicate with Thai Buddhist missionary monks who teach Buddhism in the United Kingdom.
- To welcome international monks who visit the Head Office.
- To advise people who want to know about Buddhism and Buddhist meditation.
- To spread information about Buddhism by newsletters and websites.
- To prepare a directory of Thai Buddhist centres and Thai Temples in the United Kingdom.
- The duties of the Treasurer
- To deal with the finance of the Council by depositing of (also withdrawing) money into a bank, building society or other similar financial institution.
- To deal with book keeping.
- To report on finance at the AGM.
(14) Finance and Property of the Council
The CTBMUK may receive finance and property as follows:
- To get finance from the membership, Thai Buddhist centres and Thai Temples
- To receive finance from supporters of the Council.
- To receive any legacy
- To receive funds raised at a Council festival
(15) The Authority to withdraw Money of the Council
The following rules must be followed in order to withdraw money from the bank account of the Council:
- The President can order the withdrawal of £150, at any one time but not more than a total of £900 per annum except with the agreement of the Executive Committee of the Council.
- The Secretary General of the Council can order the withdrawal of £100, at any one time but not more than a total of £600 per annum.
- The permission of the Executive Committee must be obtained to withdraw money from the bank in excess of the allowances set by the Council.
- There must be two signatories for each cheque i.e. the President and Secretary General, or the President and Treasurer.
(16) The Meeting
- There are two kinds of meeting for the membership:
- The annual general meeting (the AGM) takes place once a year, usually in December or any other month, at a time and venue chosen by the President.
- The President may call a special meeting for an urgent issue or the Executive Committee can require that the President calls a meeting.
- The majority vote of members is required to give consent to a decision.
- The meeting of the executive committee must have sufficient attendees to form a quorum. The quorum shall consist of at least more than half of the Committee. (Not half and half).
(17) The Council’s Area of Governance
The governance of the Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland covers four areas:
- Northern Ireland
Each area should have a senior incumbent, and the four senior incumbents should govern an area under the supervision of the President of the Council.
(18) Thai Buddhist Missionary Monks
A Thai Buddhist missionary monk, who has been trained or who has not yet trained, to disseminate Theravada Buddhism in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, must seek an agreement from the executive committee of the Council before travelling to teach Buddhism in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The Executive committee will call a meeting to decide when a Buddhist centre or a Thai Temple requests to have a Thai Buddhist missionary monk.
However, an ordinary monk who is invited to visit people in the United Kingdom or any monk who is granted a visa to have further education in the United Kingdom should inform the President of the Council in writing of the place where he should stay and study.
(19) The Construction of Thai Buddhist Temples and Centres in UK
Whosoever wishes to construct a Thai Temple or even to set up a Thai Buddhist centre in the United Kingdom for Thai Buddhist missionary monks to disseminate Theravada Buddhism (or even to lead and conduct a meditation retreat for the time being) shall be required to provide to the President of the Council a full and fair discussion of all relevant and material facts in advance and shall require consent of the President in writing before any such temple, centre or temporary centre is recognized.
(20) The Honour for Thai Buddhist Missionary Monks
Every year the Executive Committee of the Council will, where appropriate, discuss the nomination of a Thai Buddhist missionary monk to receive an honorary title from His Majesty the King of Thailand. The Executive Committee will also nominate a layman or a laywoman to receive an honourable certificate and a plaque for their good behaviour and support.
- All proposals to nominate a layman or laywoman who supports the dissemination of Buddhism to receive an honourable certificate and a plaque must be made by the Executive Committee of the Council and proposed to the Department of Religious Affairs in Thailand before December of each year.
- All proposals to nominate a Thai Buddhist missionary monk to receive an honourable title must be made by the Executive Committee via The Royal Thai Embassy in London.
- The President of the Council and His Excellency the Thai Ambassador to the United Kingdom should sign the application form of the nominee.
- The Royal Thai Embassy in London will send a monk’s application form to the President of the School of Training the Thai Buddhist Missionary Monks.
(21) The Renewal of Passports of Thai monks
In order to renew an official passport and an ordinary passport, a passport holder must comply with the rules laid down in B.E. 2527 by the Supreme Council of the Senior Monks in Thailand. These rules are for Thai monks who want to go abroad. To renew a passport to stay in the United Kingdom a passport holder must follow the rules laid down for such a passport.
If a Thai Buddhist missionary monk is accused of breeching the rules or commits an offence, the Executive Committee shall advise him to follow the regulations i.e. in accordance with Article 2 or Article 3 laid down by the Supreme Council of the Senior Monks in Thailand and the monks shall be obliged to accept such a reasonable advice.
All rules and regulations of the Council of Thai Buddhist Monks of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (CTBMUK) may be changed or amended with the consent of the Executive Committee. The President of the Council should remain in his position with the consent of the Supreme Council of the Senior Monks in Thailand. All rules and regulations of this council come into effect from the 1st of January 2006. Any rule or regulation of the Council of Thai Buddhist Monks that does not comply with the laws of the United Kingdom shall be automatically deemed invalid.
The President of the CTBMUK