Explores how community is defined and how it functions among Theravada Buddhists in South and Southeast Asia.
Constituting Communities explores how community functions within Theravada Buddhist culture. Although the dominant focus of Buddhist studies for the past century has been on doctrinal and philosophical issues, this volume concentrates on discourses that produced them, and why and how these discourses and practices shaped Theravada communities in South and Southeast Asia. From a variety of perspectives, including historical, literary, doctrinal and philosophical, and social and anthropological, the contributors explore the issues that have proven important and definitive for identifying what it has meant, individually and socially, to be Buddhist in this particular region. The book focuses on textual discourse, how communities are formed and maintained within pluralistic contexts, and the formation of community both within and between the monastic and lay settings.
John Clifford Holt is Professor of Religion at Bowdoin College and the author of The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art, and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka. Jacob N. Kinnard is Assistant Professor of Religion at the College of William and Mary and the author of Imaging Wisdom: Seeing and Knowing in the Art of Indian Buddhism. Jonathan S. Walters is Associate Professor of Religion and Asian Studies at Whitman College and the coeditor (with Ronald Inden and Daud Ali) of Querying the Medieval: Texts and the History of Practices in South Asia.