Venerating the Buddha Image in Lao Religious Culture
This chapter provides a discussion about how the power of the Buddha is understood historically and in contemporary times in the little studied country of Laos. The primary focus is on the Phra Bang image, a Buddha image that became the palladium of Lao Buddhist kingship until its disestablishment by the communist Pathet Lao in 1975. This chapter also provides a discussion that demonstrates how the veneration of spirits (phi) has conditioned the manner in which key Buddhist concepts have interpreted by the Lao, especially evident in the New Year’s (pi mai) celebration.
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