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Theravada TraditionsBuddhist Ritual Cultures in Contemporary Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka$
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John Clifford Holt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867805

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867805.001.0001

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Phra Bang

Phra Bang

Venerating the Buddha Image in Lao Religious Culture

(p.11) Chapter One Phra Bang
Theravada Traditions

John Clifford Holt

University of Hawai'i Press

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.

Keywords:   phi, Luang Phrabang, New Year, Phra Bang, Buddhist kings, tourism, UNESCO, Lan Xang kingdom

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