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Saving BuddhismThe Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma$
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Alicia Turner

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824839376

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824839376.001.0001

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Sāsana Decline and Traditions of Reform

Sāsana Decline and Traditions of Reform

(p.23) 2 Sāsana Decline and Traditions of Reform
Saving Buddhism

Alicia Turner

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter explores the discourse of the decline of sāsana and the longer history of sāsana reform in Burma. It begins with a discussion of Burmese and Pali textual sources on the decline of the sāsana and their changing interpretations over the previous century. It then considers how the narrative of decline offered a language and structure to make sense of the changes of the colonial encounter. It also looks at groups of lay Buddhists that adapted techniques from earlier periods of reform to respond to the colonial condition. Finally, it locates the developing sense of moral community as a rearticulation of existing elements in the tradition of sāsana reform. It shows that education emerged as a key issue for many of the new Buddhist associations as a site of the production and reproduction of moral community.

Keywords:   sāsana, sāsana reform, Burma, colonial encounter, lay Buddhists, moral community, education, Buddhist associations

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