The Naga Lineage of Kham Chanod Forest and the Creation of Community

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Supee Samorna


This article is based on a study of beliefs surrounding one of the sacred serpent-like guardian beings known as nagas that play an important role in Buddhism as practiced among ethnic Lao people in northeast Thailand. Specific beliefs about nagas vary according to place and time, but generally they are viewed as protectors of the Buddha and Buddhism that help their believers understand Buddhist teachings known as the Dhamma. For the present study, the specific research question concerned the function of the beliefs brought by the spiritual descendant of the powerful naga Ong Pu Srisuttho, the creation of community, and devotees’ ability to understand the Buddhist Dhamma because of the naga lineage. This research used the qualitative approach, including in-depth interviews and observation. The data collection was divided into two phases; the first phase took place February-July, 2017 and the second January-February, 2020. The results show that the naga beliefs brought by the lineage functioned in two ways: 1) through a ceremony that reproduces sacredness for the believers and 2) through religious figures that preserve the sacredness and pass the teachings and beliefs on to others. Because people influenced by the beliefs at Kham Chanod were able to preserve these beliefs, a new community was established for more believers and to allow them to understand the Buddhist Dhamma.


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Samorna, S. (2020). The Naga Lineage of Kham Chanod Forest and the Creation of Community. Journal of Mekong Societies, 16(3), 79-94. Retrieved from