History of Bilateral Relations
For over 800 years, Sri Lanka and Thailand have enjoyed close religious, cultural, political and trade relations between the two countries. Theravada Buddhist tradition has been the bedrock on which these relations flourished.
King Parakramabahu the Great & King Ram kamhaeng
Historical and cultural records in both Sri Lanka and Thailand show that during the reign of King Parakramabahu the Great (12 century AD), the Theravada Buddhism and monastic codes that prevails to date in Thailand (Siam) was indoctrinated through exchange of monks. As a result, the ‘Lankavong (Lankavamsa chapter) was established in Nakhon Sri Thammarat. During the reign of King Por Khun Bang Lkang Thow or King Sri Indrathai (1257 AD), who established the Sukothai Kingdom invited the Lankavamsa monks to his kingdom, and the Chapter began to flourish. His son King Ram Kamhaeng, being himself a devout Buddhist, patronaged the Lankavong monks in the Kingdom where several sacred relics , Sri Lankan art, Buddha statues including the famous phra Buddha Shing statue, culture, as well as Thripitaka and other Buddhist scripts influenced the Buddhist tradition in Thailand. The Wat Phra Mahathat Vihan in Nakhon Si Thammarat and the Phra Pathommached in Nakhon Pathom has the Sri Lankan architecture in the stupas.
When Sri Lanka was under colonial rule during the 16th Century AD, the higher ordination of the monastic order (Ubosath/ Upasampada karma) was disrupted and following several attempts to reinstate the higher ordinance, it was due to the visit of Ven. Phra Upali Thera of Ayuthya in Siam, that the monastic order was reinstated in Sri Lanka in the year 1753. To this date, the monks belong to this lineage are called “Siamvansa”. It was the relationship between the King of Ayuthya –King Boromkot (1733-1758 AD) and King of Ceylon- Kirthi Sri Rajasingha (1747-1782 AD) and their patronage that led to this historical event of ‘upasampada’ back to the country.
A number of high level visits have taken place between Thailand and Sri Lanka in the past. Some of the recent significant visits are the visit of HM King Vajiralongkorn when he was Crown Prince in 1993, the visit of HM Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn in 2013 and Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan-o-cha in 2018.
H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej visited Sri Lanka in March 1950
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