from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vihara , Cave 1 of Ajanta Cave Temples , Ajanta, India
Reconstructed vihara of the Sukhothai period, Mueang Boran ("Ancient City") near Bangkok, Thailand

Vihāra is the Pali and Sanskrit designation for a Buddhist monastery building , in the original word meaning for a residence or a refuge; Wandering monks sought such a “refuge” during the rainy season . The Indian Vihara became the basic model for Buddhist monastery buildings in numerous Asian cultures - one example is the Wihan in Thailand .

See also: Brahmavihara

The Vihara in India

In the Buddhist Indian architecture are two typical building shapes developed: the Chaitya -Halle (a prayer hall, in the apse , a small stupa rises) and the Vihara (a central cavity, a central courtyard and a central hall, usually rectangular, simple with surrounding Monk cells). The term Vihara later referred to the entire monastery complex.

The Wihan in Thailand

The Thai term Wihan (also: Vihan or Viharn , Thai : วิหาร ) has a narrower meaning: it refers to a specific building within a Buddhist temple complex , a wat , namely the common assembly hall of the order members and lay people. The Wihan is decorated like a bot (including Buddha statues ), but mostly not as rich. Here suttas are recited and prescribed ceremonies are held, in which lay people are allowed to participate.

Architecturally, Wihan and Bot differ only in eight boundary stones ( Bai Sema ) , which mark the bot as a consecrated area.


Web links

Commons : Vihara  - collection of images, videos and audio files


  1. Ashish Nangia :: The Buddhist Vihara on, accessed January 3, 2015.
  2. Oliver Freiberger, Christoph Kleine: Buddhismus. Manual and critical introduction. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, ISBN 978-3-525-50004-0 , pp. 399-402.