The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia

Second Edition

By Donald K. Swearer

Subjects: Buddhism, Religion, Asian Studies, Asian Religion And Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780791424605, 272 pages, July 1995
Paperback : 9781438432502, 320 pages, January 2010
Hardcover : 9780791424599, 272 pages, July 1995
Hardcover : 9781438432519, 320 pages, January 2010

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Table of contents

Preface to the Second Edition
Acknowledgments
Introduction
PART I. THE POPULAR TRADITION
Ideal Action
Ritual Occasions, Merit, and the Appropriation of Power
Festivals
Rites of Passage
PART II. BUDDHISM AND THE STATE
Asoka, the Exemplary Buddhist Ruler
Kings and Cosmology
The Cosmological Scheme of the Three Worlds
The Buddha as Cosmocrator
Modern Nationalism and Buddhism
PART III. BUDDHISM AND MODERNIZATION
The Changing Role of the Monk
Reforming the Tradition
The Changing Role of the Laity
Women and Buddhism
Buddhism and the West
Postscript
Appendix 1 Sigalaka Sutta: Code of Lay Ethics
Appendix 2 Borobudur
Notes
Glossary
Bibliography
Index

A wide-ranging, readable account of the Theravada Buddhist thought and practice in the Southeast Asian societies of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka.

Description

An unparalleled portrait, Donald K. Swearer's Buddhist World of Southeast Asia has been a key source for all those interested in the Theravada homelands since the work's publication in 1995. Expanded and updated, the second edition offers this wide ranging account for readers at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Swearer shows Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia to be a dynamic, complex system of thought and practice embedded in the cultures, societies, and histories of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka. The work focuses on three distinct yet interrelated aspects of this milieu. The first is the popular tradition of life models personified in myths and legends, rites of passage, festival celebrations, and ritual occasions. The second deals with Buddhism and the state, illustrating how King Asoka serves as the paradigmatic Buddhist monarch, discussing the relationship of cosmology and kingship, and detailing the rise of charismatic Buddhist political leaders in the postcolonial period. The third is the modern transformation of Buddhism: the changing roles of monks and laity, modern reform movements, the role of women, and Buddhism in the West.

Donald K. Swearer is Distinguished Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies and Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at the Harvard Divinity School. He is the author or editor of several books, including Becoming the Buddha: The Ritual of Image Consecration in Thailand.