The story of Training Overseas Dhammaduta Bhikkhus
Background of Oversea Dhammaduta Bhikkhus Training
Overseas Dhammaduta Training Project has jointly formed with two sects during BE 2509-2510 and has ceased down with some necessary factors. But, the need of Dhammadhuta going abroad has increased steadily, especially in the U.S.A. Buddhism Propagation Task has started in BE. 2513. Then a small house had been organized as temple on July 6, 2514. Later, Thai temples have increased more and more especially in the big cities such as New York, Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles.
When Thai monks went abroad more for Buddhism Propagation, but the training management has stopped. Thai Sangha Council under the support of the Religious Affairs Department has revived this project and authorized Somdet Phra Buddhacarya (Kiaw Upaseno), Member of Thai Sangha Council, as the Director of Training Maha Nikaya Monks and Phra Buddha Chinnawong (Prachueb Gantacaro), Member of Thai Sangha Council, as the Director of training Dhammayutha Nikaya Monks. Both Mahatheras have delegated this task to Mahamakutrajavidyalaya University and Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University as the operation organizations respectively. The Religious Affairs Department supported budget for over 200,000 Baht (two hundred thousand Baht) to each organization in proceeding this project. Therefore, the training has started as concrete form earnestly from BE. 2538 up until now, having the same objectives in operation, that are:
- To train Dhammaduta to have more knowledge and capability, good conduct and confidence in performing religious activities abroad.
- To prepare Dhammaduta who have proper qualification abroad for sending abroad.
- To fulfill task in Buddhism Propagation in abroad of Thai Sangha.
The Graduate Program, both of Mahamakutrajavidyalaya University (MMU) and Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) which have given opportunity to monks enrolled in the Master Degree Program since the academic year 2531, were to carry on the Overseas Dhammadhuta Project of Thai Sangha. Rather, there were the study in the curriculum of Master Degree in Religious Studies and the curriculum of Master Degree in Buddhist Studies. Especially, the curriculum of Master Degree in Religious Studies of Mahamakutrajavidyalaya University (MMU) offered a course of “Buddhist Mission Process”, currently named as “Buddhist Studies”, having objective to send the graduates to be Dhammadhuta in abroad. However, there was no graduate sent out abroad because it lacked of coordination between the University and Thai Sangha Govern Organization. Thus, there was no concrete development models for training and sending Dhammaduta. As a result, Thai Sangha Council has resolved to proceed on Dhammaduta training for another term, from BE 2538 onwards.
Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University (MCU) has provided training for Overseas Dhammaduta once a year. The training started from the Batch No. 1, in BE 2538, there was 49 Dhammaduta passed the training course. The training was continued up to Batch No. 20, in BE 2557. When MCU has announced the establishment of Dhammaduta College, having Phra Sophonvachirabhorn held position as Acting Director for Dhammaduta College, has proceeded the training continuously up to the Batch No. 21 in BE 2558. There were 98 Dhammathutas passed the training course.
According to the statistic compiling of Dhammaduta training from the Batch No. 1 to No. 24 in BE 2561, there are 1,894 Dhammaduta have passed the training and have travelled to propagate Buddhism worldwide. There are temples in 39 countries.