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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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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

Morals, Conduct, and Community

Morals, Conduct, and Community

(p.75) 4 Morals, Conduct, and Community
Saving Buddhism

Alicia Turner

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the campaigns of Buddhist lay associations to reform morals and manners among Buddhists, shaping a growing sense of moral community. Drawing on previously unexamined primary sources, it considers how joining Buddhist associations elevated members to the state of patrons of the sāsana, making the moral community visible in donation and subscription lists. It also discusses the ways in which a perceived crisis of morals among Burmese Buddhists focused the reform efforts inward: Buddhists came to see sāsana decline not only as the product of external colonial impetus, but also as stemming from their own personal moral failings. Focusing on Buddhist efforts to curb meat consumption and alcohol use, the chapter shows how moral reform campaigns gave rise to new modes of Buddhist subjectivity and elevated the Buddhist concept of sīla, morality or virtue, to the center of Buddhist practice.

Keywords:   moral reform, Burmese Buddhists, moral community, Buddhist associations, sāsana, meat consumption, alcohol use, sīla, morality, virtue

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