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Phibul Choompolpaisal had BSc in Engineering at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, before transferring to Study of Religions for his MA at SOAS where he also completed his PhD in 2011. His PhD research focuses on a study of early modern Buddhism in Thailand, covering the period from the 19th to 20th centuries. In 2012 he was Post-doctoral Research Fellow at University College Cork (Ireland). He worked with Prof Brian Bocking to carry out research on Wat Ban Thawai in Bangkok where the first Irish monk Dhammaloka went to in 1903. From August 2011 till present he works as researcher for Bodleian Library (Oxford University). His duties include cataloguing pre-reformed Thai/Tai meditation manuscripts and researching Thai/Tai mediation texts and manuscripts.  He is also reviews editor of Contemporary Buddhism.

Research interests

  • Religion in Thailand
  • Theravada Buddhism
  • Buddhism and Politics

I have my research interest in the area of early modern Thai Buddhism, covering the period from the mid 19th to early 20th centuries. In 2011 I completed my PhD on early modern Thai Buddhism at SOAS. Since then I have conducted further research in this specific area, including a study of the dynamic interactions between political Buddhism and colonisation, meditation manuscripts, roles of meditation monks, the history of monastic education and the role of early Western monks, especially the Irish monk U Dhammaloka.

Selected publications

  • Brian Bocking, Phibul Choompolpaisal, Laurence Cox and Alicia Turner. 2014. A Buddhist Crossroads. Pioneer Western Buddhists and Asian Networks 1860-1960. Routledge.
  • Phibul Choompolpaisal. 2013. “Tai-Burmese-Lao Buddhisms in ‘Modernising’ Ban Thawai (Bangkok): A Mutual Relationship between Ethnic Minorities’ Buddhisms and the British-Siamese Political Centralisation in Early Modern Period” Contemporary Buddhism. 2013. 14 (1): 94-115.
  • Phibul Choompolpaisal. “Modernising Thai Monastic Education and Political Buddhism from Wachirayan’s lifetime to Phimonlatham’s (1880s-1960s)” Contemporary Buddhism. Forthcoming 2015.
  • Andrew Skilton and Phibul Choompolpaisal. “The Practice of Pre-reform Theravada Meditation, Boran Kammatthana, from Wat Ratchasittaram: the Pīti Section of the Kammatthana Majjima Baeb Lamdub.” Forthcoming 2015.
  • Phibul Choompolpaisal. 2008. “Constructive Constructs: Unravelling the Influence of Weber’s Sociology Theravada Studies since the 1960s” Contemporary Buddhism. 2008. 9(1): 31-76.


  • 6AAT3901 Theravada Buddhism