Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words: Histories of Buddhist Monastic Education in Laos and Thailand

Hardcover | October 16, 2008

byJustin Thomas McDaniel

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Winner of the Henry J. Benda Prize sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies

Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words examines modern and premodern Buddhist monastic education traditions in Laos and Thailand. Through five centuries of adaptation and reinterpretation of sacred texts and commentaries, Justin McDaniel traces curricular variations in Buddhist oral and written education that reflect a wide array of community goals and values. He depicts Buddhism as a series of overlapping processes, bringing fresh attention to the continuities of Theravada monastic communities that have endured despite regional and linguistic variations. Incorporating both primary and secondary sources from Thailand and Laos, he examines premodern inscriptional, codicological, anthropological, art historical, ecclesiastical, royal, and French colonial records. By looking at modern sermons, and even television programs and websites, he traces how pedagogical techniques found in premodern palm-leaf manuscripts are pervasive in modern education.

As the first comprehensive study of monastic education in Thailand and Laos, Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words will appeal to a wide audience of scholars and students interested in religious studies, anthropology, social and intellectual history, and pedagogy.

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Winner of the Henry J. Benda Prize sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words examines modern and premodern Buddhist monastic education traditions in Laos and Thailand. Through five centuries of adaptation and reinterpretation of sacred texts and commentaries, Justin McDaniel traces curricular var...

Justin McDaniel is associate professor of religious studies at the University of California, Riverside. Visit the author's Web site at: http://www.justin.mcdaniel.name

other books by Justin Thomas McDaniel

Format:HardcoverDimensions:384 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:October 16, 2008Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0295988487

ISBN - 13:9780295988481

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsNote on TranscriptionIntroduction

PART I. Structural Mechanisms: The Institutional History of Monastic Education

1. From the Sala Vat to the Institut Bouddhique

2. Wandering Librarians

3. Kings and Universities

PART II. Proximate Mechanisms: Toward a Curricular History of Monastic Education

4. Genres, Modes, and Idiosyncratic Articulations

5. The Culture of Translation

6. Canons and Curricula

PART III. Vernacular Landscapes: Teaching Buddhism in Laos and Thailand

7. From Manuscript to Television

8. Philosophical Embryology

ConclusionNotesNote on Manuscripts, Archives, Monastic Libraries, and CatalogsBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Winner of the Henry J. Benda Prize sponsored by the Association for Asian Studies Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words examines modern and premodern Buddhist monastic education traditions in Laos and Thailand. Through five centuries of adaptation and reinterpretation of sacred texts and commentaries, Justin McDaniel traces curricular variations in Buddhist oral and written education that reflect a wide array of community goals and values. He depicts Buddhism as a series of overlapping processes, bringing fresh attention to the continuities of Theravada monastic communities that have endured despite regional and linguistic variations. Incorporating both primary and secondary sources from Thailand and Laos, he examines premodern inscriptional, codicological, anthropological, art historical, ecclesiastical, royal, and French colonial records. By looking at modern sermons, and even television programs and websites, he traces how pedagogical techniques found in premodern palm-leaf manuscripts are pervasive in modern education.As the first comprehensive study of monastic education in Thailand and Laos, Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words will appeal to a wide audience of scholars and students interested in religious studies, anthropology, social and intellectual history, and pedagogy.This is a brilliant study which will establish McDaniel as the foremost student of the relationship between Buddhist religious texts and the contexts in which they are read, heard, seen, and interpreted. - Charles Keyes, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and International Studies, University of Washington