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The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical MonkPracticing Buddhism in Modern Thailand$
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Justin McDaniel

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153775

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153775.001.0001

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Rituals and Liturgies

Rituals and Liturgies

(p.121) 3. Rituals and Liturgies
The Lovelorn Ghost and the Magical Monk

Justin Thomas McDaniel

Columbia University Press

This chapter critiques one of the many standardizations of Thai Buddhism—Theravada Buddhism. Many studies posit that starting in the late eighteenth century and continuing until today, Buddhist practice, texts, and administration have been much standardized. Many have argued that there has been a concomitant homogenization of Buddhist belief and practice since the introduction of printing presses, a growth in “canonical fundamentalism,” greater administrative capabilities, and social control methods assisted by improved roads, communication, tax collection, as well as the ossifycation of national languages, borders, symbols, and shared histories. However, there is neither a national, standardized Buddhist ritual calendar nor a standard national Buddhist liturgy. These rituals and liturgies have no prescriptive cultural repertoires. Moreover, these repertoires have a way of self-corralling and pacifying diversity. Thus, organizers of rituals and liturgies at various monasteries do not need to follow state-sanctioned regiments, even though there are cultural and religious expectations.

Keywords:   Thai Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism, Buddhist rituals, Buddhist liturgies, canonical fundamentalism

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