Dr Martin Seeger

Dr Martin Seeger

Associate Professor of Thai Studies

01133437482

Summary: History of Buddhism in Thailand; contemporary movements in Thai Buddhism and their relations to society, politics and the economy; disputes on Buddhist doctrines in Thailand

Location: 14-20 Cromer Terrace; Rm 1.01

About Dr Martin Seeger

From 1997-2000 Dr Seeger was ordained as a Buddhist monk in northern Thailand and subsequently earned his MA and doctorate in Thai Studies at the University of Hamburg. Much of his research focuses on the life and work of the Thai Buddhist thinkers Somdet Phra Buddhaghosajarn Jaroen Ñāṇavaro (1872-1951), Buddhadasa Bhikkhu (1906-1993), Somdet Phra Buddhaghosajarn (P. A. Payutto, b. 1939), Khunying Damrongthammasan (1882-1944) and Khun Mae Bunruean Tongbuntoem (1895-1964). He has also done research on Thai Buddhism and environmentalism, Human Rights in Thai Theravada Buddhism and development monks in the northeastern region of Thailand. He continues to work on "female saints in Thai Buddhism". At the moment, he works on a research project with the title "Hagiographical Processes and Religious Symbolism in Modern Thai Buddhism". For more about Dr Seeger, click here.  

Visit the Thai Studies website.  

Key Publications and Activities

Publications

Translations

  • Bhikkhu P.A. Payutto, 2554 [2012], A Brief Introduction to the Buddha-Dhamma, translated and edited by Bhikkhu Nirodho and Martin Seeger, Bangkok: Phli-dhamm Publishing.

Book Reviews

  • Justin McDaniel, The Lovelorn Ghost and The Magical Monk: Practicing Buddhism in Modern Thailand, New York: Columbia University Press, 2011. Pp. xiv + 327.” (reviewed in: Religious Studies Review, Volume 39, Number 1, March, 2013, pp. 53-54).
  • Joanna Cook, Meditation in Modern Buddhism: Renunciation and Change in Thai Monastic Life, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2010, 214 pp. (reviewed in: South East Asia Research, Volume 20, Number 1, March 2012, pp. 151-156(6)) 
  • Prapod Assavavirulhakarn, The Ascendancy of Theravāda Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai, xix + 272 pp. (reviewed in: South East Asia Research, Volume 19, Number 3, September 2011, pp. 664-669(6))

Film

  •  "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner (in Thai with English subtitles)" A Documentary Film by Martin Seeger and Naris Charaschanyawong; length: approx. 64 minutes, 2016; Executive Producers: Martin Seeger and Naris Charaschanyawong; Screenplay: Sompradthana Nawong, Martin Seeger and Naris Charaschanyawong.

         A short version of the film is available on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F50Izhd8SUU

        the original version can be found here  

        the trailer for the film can be found here

 

Lectures, Seminars and Other Activities

  • Screening of "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner" followed by Q&A, Numata Zentrum für Buddhismuskunde, University of Hamburg, 20 June 2017. 
  • Screening of "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner" followed by Q&A, Institut für Politik- und Verwaltungswissenschaften, University of Rostock, 19 June 2017. 
  • "Dhamma and Society" [in Thai], In Honour of the 111th Anniversay of Buddhadasa, 2nd Conference on Buddhadasa Studies at Wat Tharn Nam Lai (Suan Mokkh Monastery), Chaiya, Surat Thani, 26 May 2017.
  • Keynote Speech "Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and Being Theravada in the 21st Century", In Honour of the 111th Anniversary of Buddhadasa, 8th International Buddhist Research Seminar, Buddhadasa Indapanno Archives, Bangkok, 25 May 2017.
  • Screening of "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner" followed by Q&A, Department of Religion and Theology, University of Bristol, 16 June 2016.
  • Screening of "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner" followed by Q&A, Thai Forum, University of Leeds, 4 May 2016.
  • Screening of "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner" followed by Q&A, SEA Documentary Film Festival, Southeast Asian Studies Symposium 2016, University of Oxford, 15 April 2016.
  • Screening of "Lost in the Mists of Time: Khunying Damrongthammasan: Thailand's Remarkable Female Dhamma Practitioner" followed by Q&A, The Anglo-Thai Society, The Royal Thai Embassy in London, 12 April 2016.
  • "The significance of Pali chant recitation in Thai Buddhist monasteries", Conference “Between Community and Seclusion. Defining the Religious Life in the South Asian Traditions, in Buddhism, and in Eastern and Western Christianity”, FOVOG Graduate Programme for the Interreligious Comparison of Monastic Cultures of the Technische Universität Dresden, 20 November 2015. 
  • "khwam samkhan khong mukhapatha lae khwam songjam nai kan sueksa lae patibat tham doi tham kan sueksa jak botpraphan lae chiwaprawat khong Khunying Yai Damrongthammasan (2429-2487)" [The Importance of Orality and Memory in the Study and Practice of the Dhamma: Studying the Literary Work and Life of Khunying Yai Damrongthammasan (1886-1944)], The International Tiptaka Hall, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, 27 August 2015. [available on Youtube]
  • "Gelehrtentum, Meditation und Hierarchie in den Biographien dreier außergewöhnlicher Mönche im  thailändischen Buddhismus der Moderne", Numata Zentrum für Buddhismuskunde, University of Hamburg, 6 January 2015.
  • "Mae Chees in Thailand: female saints in modern Thai Buddhism", E-learning course on Bhikkhuni/Bhikshuni ordination, Universität Hamburg, 3 July 2014. 
  • "Teaching Thai as a foreign language and Western constructions of Buddhism", Modern Language Teachers' Conference, University of Leeds, 26 June 2014.
  • "Orality, text production and spiritual practice: outstanding female Thai Buddhists in the early 20th century", The Oslo Buddhist Studies Forum, University of Oslo, 1 April 2014. 
  • "The life and literary work of the female Buddhist practitioner Khunying Yai Damrongthammasan (1886-1944): Questions of authorship in modern Thai Buddhism", The Buddhist Forum, SOAS, University of London, 20 February 2014. 
  • "'The (dis)appearance of an author': some observations and reflections on authorship in modern Thai Buddhism", conference "Authors and Editors in the Literary Traditions of Asian Buddhism", Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 17 September 2013.
  • "withikanwijai phra phutthasatsana therawat (thai) khong nakwichakan tawantok" [Research Methods in the Western Study of Theravada Buddhism], Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, 31 August 2012.
  • "senthang kansueksa phra phutthasatsana thai khong phom" [My Way of Studying Thai Buddhism], Buddhist Study Association, Bank of Thailand, 31 July 2012.
  • "sitthi satri kap phra winai korani phiksuni song" [Women's Rights and the Vinaya: The Case of the Bhikkhuni-Sangha], Special Lecture, Mahamakut Buddhist University, Salaya, 22 July 2012.
  • "Enhancing Talent Potential: Language, Cultural & Environmental Factors", Seminar "Working Together For Thai Students", Office of Educational Affairs, The Royal Thai Embassy London, 26 April 2012. 
  • "Thai Buddhism and Environmental Protection", The 5th Samaggi Academic Conference: Moving Thailand Forward, Examination School, University of Oxford, 4 February 2012.
  • "satri kap kanpatibat tham nai sangkhom thai yuk mai" [Women and Buddhist Practice in Modern Thai Society], lecture to PhD students, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, 05 August 2011.
  • "Reversal of Female Power, Transcendentality, Supernaturality and Gender in Thai Buddhism: Hagiographies and Veneration of Thai Buddhist Female Saints", The 11th International Conference on Thai Studies, Mahidol University, Bangkok, 27 July 2011.
  • "'Culture Shock' and Development of Cultural Awareness in the Study of Thailand", seminars for international students (together with Adcharawan Seeger), Assumption University (Suvarnabhumi Campus), 11 July 2011.
  • "Transitions and Changes of Ideas and Images of Nature in Thai Buddhism", Symposium 'Climate Change in India and Southeast Asia: How are Local Cultures Coping?', Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, 17 June 2011.
  • "Gender, Bodily Relics and Amulets: a Comparative Study of Two Female Saints of Modern Thai Buddhism", Guest Speaker; Concluding Address, 'Women and Religion: Doctrinal, Historical and Social Perspectives': 'A BIRTHA Post-Graduate Conference', Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol, 20 November 2010.
  • "kansueksa phra phutthasatsana therawat khong nakwichakan chao tawan tok" [The Western Academic Study of Theravada Buddhism],  MA Seminar, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, 20 July 2010.
  • "'Against the Stream': the Thai Female Buddhist Saint Maechi Kaeu Sianglam (1901-1991)" Buddhist Forum, SOAS, 26 March 2010.
  • "Sainthood and Gender in Thai Buddhism", MA in Thai Studies/Public Lecture, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, 21 November 2009.
  • "Female Saints in Thai Buddhism", Bachelor of Arts Programme in Buddhism, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wang Noi, Ayutthaya, 16 November 2009.
  • "Western Approaches to the Study of (Theravada) Buddhism: A Historical Overview", MA Seminar, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wang Noi, Ayutthaya, 9-11 November 2009.
  • "Female saints in Thai Buddhism", 'Cultuur in Perspectief' (MA), Department of Languages and Cultures of South and East Asia, Ghent University, 25 March 2009.
  • "Female saints in Thai Buddhism: (Re-)Searching the female in Buddhist hagiography", Ghent Centre for Buddhist Studies, 24 March 2009
  • "Female Saints in Thai Buddhism", 'Approaches to Researching Religion' Seminar, Leeds Social Sciences Institute (LSSI), 5 March 2009.
  • "Weibliche Heilige im thailändischen Buddhismus", Asia-Africa Institute, University of Hamburg, 29 January 2009.
  • "Theravada and Human Rights: Perspectives from Thai Buddhism", International Symposium 'Buddhism and Human Rights: Theory - Practice - Outlook', Asien-Afrika-Institut, University of Hamburg, 21 November 2008. [http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg.de/fileadmin/pdf/Sammel1Panel1engl.pdf]
  • "Authority, Identity and Pluralism in Theravada: 'On the Very Idea of the Pali canon' in Thai Buddhism'", BASR Annual Conference with the UKABS Annual Conference, St John University, York, 2 September 2008.
  • "The Changing Roles of Women in Thai Buddhism", 'Cultuur in Perspectief' (MA), Department of Languages and Cultures of South and East Asia, Ghent University, 6 May 2008.
  • "The Revival of the Theravada Nun Order in Thailand: Scriptural Authority and Cultural Resistance", First International Congress on Buddhist Women's Role in the Sangha - Bhikshuni Vinaya and Ordination Lineages, University of Hamburg, 19 July 2007 [Dr Seeger's Abstract: http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org/index.php?id=59; Congress homepage: http://www.congress-on-buddhist-women.org]
  • "khwamthathai lae kanphatthana kanrian kanson phasa thai nai thana phasa tang prathet" [The Challenges and Development of Learning and Teaching Thai as a Foreign Language]; Guest Speaker for the 'Training Project: Teaching Thai on an Advanced Level to Foreign Students', Chiang Mai University, 20 March 2007
  • "New Approaches in Thai Buddhist Studies and the Authority of the Pali Canon", "Breaking the Bonds": Unravelling the Myths of Southeast Asian Historiography, Symposium in honour of Professor Baas Terwiel, Asia-Africa Institute, University of Hamburg, 25 November 2006
  • "Die thailändische Wat Phra Thammakai-Bewegung", Buddhismus in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Weiterbildendes Studium, University of Hamburg, 21  December 2005.
  • "The Bhikkhuni Ordination Controversy in Thailand", Postgraduate Seminar Programme, Department of Theology and Religious Studies, University of Bristol, 8 November 2005.
  • "Phutthasatsana kap lokaphiwat" [Buddhism and Globalization] Sripatum University, May 2004.
  • "Monastic Life and Meditation Practice in Theravada-Buddhism" (in German), Department of Ethnology, University of Freiburg, January 2004.

 

Conference Organisation

 


Funded Research Projects/Research Grants

  • Cultural & Creative Industries Exchange - IGNITE 2015 FUNDING "Documentary Films as Teaching Tools in Thai Studies"
  • Buddhist Research Institute of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Grant, "Local Histories of Female Monastic Communities in Thailand", July 2014 to December 2014 (together with Mae Chee Dr Kritsana Raksachom)
  • British Academy, May 2012- June 2013, 'Meditative Experiences, Homiletics, Socio-Religious Statuses, and Gender in Modern Thai Buddhism', (£5,850)
  • Buddhist Research Institute of Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University Grant, "Mae Chis' Access to Higher Monastic Education in Thailand", June 2010 to December 2011 (together with Mae Chee Dr Kritsana Raksachom)
  • ASEASUK Research Committee on South East Asian Studies, July 2010 - June 2011, 'Thai Maechis and Access to Higher Monastic Education in Thailand' (£ 2,300)
  • ASEASUK Research Committee on South East Asian Studies, May 2008 - January 2009, 'Female Saints in Thai Buddhism' (£ 3,100)
  • British Academy, 2007, 'The Revival of the Theravada Nun Order in Thailand: Scriptural Authority and Cultural Resistance' (£ 2,330)
  • Economic and Social Research Council, July 2005 - February 2006 (jointly with Dr Michael J G Parnwell), 'The Buddhistic Underpinnings of Neo-Localism in North-East Thailand' (£8,600)
  • PhD Scholarship from the University of Hamburg, April 2002 - March 2004, 'Phra Dhammapitaka und die Pali-Kanon-Debatte in Thailand'
  • Supplementary research scholarship granted by German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), July 2002 - October 2002, 'Phra Dhammapitaka und die Pali-Kanon-Debatte in Thailand'

 

Visiting Fellowships

  • Visiting Fellow, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, July to September 2012
  • Visiting Fellow, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, July to August 2011
  • Visiting Professor, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wat Mahathat, Bangkok, July to August 2010
  • Visiting Professor, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya Monastic University, Wang Noi, Ayutthaya, October to December 2009

Honours and Awards

2010 "Friends of Thailand" Award for his outstanding 'academic contributions to creating awareness of Thailand'

2013 Royal Decoration of the Fifth Class of the Most Admirable Order of the Direkgunabhorn, in recognition of his work and efforts in promoting better understanding and appreciation of Thailand and its culture to the people of the UK.

  

Honorary Posts

Committee member of the UK Association of Buddhist Studies (2007-2012)

 

Teaching (Undergraduate)

  • EAST1500 Introduction to Religious and Philosophical Texts of East Asia
  • EAST1550 Introduction to East Asian Religions
  • EAST1703 Basic Thai Language and Culture I
  • EAST1704 Basic Thai Language and Culture II
  • EAST2704 Intermediate Thai Language and Culture I
  • EAST2705 Intermediate Thai Language and Culture II
  • EAST2708 Thailand: the Emergence of a Nation State
  • EAST2709 Windows on Thai History
  • EAST3732 Advanced Thai Language and Culture I
  • EAST3733 Advanced Thai Language and Culture II
  • EAST3707 Buddhism: A Lived Tradition

 

PhD Supervision

I am happy to supervise research projects on Thai Buddhism and culture. I have supervised postgraduate research (MA by Research and PhD) on the following topics:

  • 'Science Communication in Thailand'
  • 'Representation of Gender and Buddhism in The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen '
  • 'Implementing Inclusive Education in Thailand'
  • '(Re)negotiating Masculinities in Nan, Thailand'
  • 'Domestic Tourism in Thailand'
  • 'Power of the Land: Image, Agency and Devotion in Northern Thailand'