Buddhist Governance Navigating Today’s Role of Saṅgha and Dhammarājā, with Special Reference to Cambodia

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Pisith San


This paper examines the relationship between the monastic saṅgha and the Buddhist king as the dhammarājā in the context of good governance in the contemporary world, with a specific focus on the Cambodian perspective. Through an examination of the historical and philosophical foundations of Buddhist governance, it argues for the enduring relevance and applicability of these principles in today’s diverse societies. A second line of argument explores how the saṅgha assembly, as a collective entity, contributes to the establishment of a just and harmonious society.

Keywords: Buddhist governance, Saṅgha, Dhammarājā, Dhammādhippateyya, Dhammocracy, Pāramī, Cambodia.

Article Details

Author Biography

Pisith San, TalTech, Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance

Pisith San is a Buddhist monk and a doctoral candidate at the Ragnar Nurkse Department of Innovation and Governance, TalTech, Estonia. Pisith received his Bachelor’s degree from the International Theravada Buddhist Missionary University in Myanmar in 2016 and a Master's degree from the International Buddhist College in Thailand in 2018. He has previous work experience with Buddhism for Development, a non-governmental organization in Cambodia, and has also served as a lecturer at Preah Sihanoukraja Buddhist University in Cambodia. His primary research interests revolve around Buddhist Economics and Governance, Non-Western Public Administration, and the Commons. Pisith is a core member of Cosmolocalism, a research project funded by the European Research Council under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 802512). Email: pisith.san@taltech.ee

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