The Status of Academic Output in the Isan Water Sim (Northeastern Buddhist Ordination Hall) in the Northeastern Region of Thailand

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Amarit Muadthong


This study collected directly related academic materials studied from 1987 – 2019 A.D., from books, research papers, academic articles and case study in field work surveys then analyzed and synthesized the contexts of water Sim (ordinary hall) apart from architectural forms.

It was found that water Sim was used for Buddhist rituals, especially ordination ceremony, with water as the boundary. Water Sim has not only been found in the Northeast of Thailand, but also in the North, and in Lao PDR, where temporary rafts and buildings on water were also found. For the Northeast of Thailand, it was found that 1) water was the main aspect for design concept which portrayed purity and holiness; however, land Sim has already replaced water Sim; 2) the location of Sim was based on Buddhist disciplines and geographical aspects in the Northeast of Thailand, where plateaus and small hills were generally found; and 3) the design can be categorized into 3.1 temporary raft, constructed in remote areas when land Sim was not yet ready for permanent construction; and 3.2 Sim in the pond or swamp, comprising 1.) the wooden one used for ordination ceremony and later removed; 2.) the wooden one for permanent use; and 3.) the concrete one which has still been in use. In the beginning, water Sim was constructed for Buddhism rituals, especially ordination ceremony; however, after 1957 A.D., water Sim was abandoned and replaced by permanent land Sim, this was accepted by the Mahanikaya group, while water Sim was still preferred by Dhammayuttikanikaya group.

It was also found that water Sim was simple and compatible with the natural landscapes, surroundings, plantation and water resources as well as how the monks of Dhammayuttikanikaya should behave. The value of water Sim should be considered a holistic approach, not only architectural features which should be focused, but also geographical environment, concepts and design.


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