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By Daniel Veidlinger
How did early Buddhists really come upon the seminal texts in their faith? What have been the attitudes held via priests and laypeople towards the written and oral Pali traditions? during this pioneering paintings, Daniel Veidlinger explores those questions within the context of the northern Thai country of Lan Na. Drawing on an enormous array of resources, together with indigenous chronicles, reviews by way of international viewers, inscriptions, and palm-leaf manuscripts, he lines the function of written Buddhist texts within the predominantly oral milieu of northern Thailand from the 15th to the 19th centuries.Veidlinger examines how the written notice was once assimilated into current Buddhist and monastic perform within the zone, contemplating using manuscripts for textual learn and recitation in addition to where of writing within the cultic and formality lifetime of the devoted. He exhibits how manuscripts healthy into the economic system, describes how they have been made and saved, and highlights the understudied factor of the "cult of the publication" in Therav?da Buddhism. taking a look at the broader Therav?da international, Veidlinger argues that manuscripts in Burma and Sri Lanka performed a extra imperative function within the protection and dissemination of Buddhist texts.By providing an in depth exam of the motivations using those that subsidized manuscript creation, this examine attracts realization to the important function performed by means of forest-dwelling monastic orders brought from Sri Lanka within the improvement of Lan Na’s written Pali historical past. It additionally considers the competition among these clergymen who wanted to maintain the older oral culture and clergymen, rulers, and laypeople who supported the growth of the recent medium of writing. during the e-book, Veidlinger emphasizes the impression of adjusting modes of communique on social and highbrow lifestyles. The medium, he argues, is deeply serious about the assimilation of the content material, and consequently the vessels during which texts were transmitted within the Buddhist global shouldn't be overlooked. Spreading the Dhamma constitutes an enormous addition to the fields of Southeast Asian reviews, Buddhist experiences, and the heritage of communications and units up a version of textual transmission that has implications for the examine of Buddhism and faith in conventional societies quite often.
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Extra info for Spreading the Dhamma: Writing, Orality, And Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand (Southeast Asia--Politics, Meaning, Memory)
Again, the mere existence of writing is not suf¤cient to displace orality as the prime mode in which texts are engaged. In fact, as Carruthers has shown (1990, 8), writing was often seen in the premodern world as just another mnemonic technique—a particularly good medium through which to learn a text by heart. We should therefore not be at all surprised that the colophon of a Paritta manuscript written in 1677 CE in northern Thailand suggests that it be used to learn the text by heart (khün cai) (von Hinüber 1996a, 53).
There is no doubt that Louis Renou’s assertions about the Vedas can be applied at least in part to the Tipiðaka as it appears in the chronicles and inscriptions that will form the fabric of this study. In Laurie Patton’s words, “Renou asserts that over time the Vedic canon became a kind of empty icon, signifying various kinds of prestige and power, but little else. According to Renou, in the classical and modern religious traditions of India, only the ‘outside’ of the Veda has survived” (Patton 1994, 1).
In South Asia generally, writing was not viewed with the esteem accorded it in the neighboring civilizations of the Middle East and China. The Brahmanical culture placed great emphasis on memory and oral transmission of the Vedas and other sacred texts, but writing was viewed as a cause of impurity. 4 As a heterodox sect attempting to exist independently of the established Vedic cult, early Buddhism would no doubt have wanted to exercise every means for legitimacy at its disposal, and the maintenance of its core texts through an unbroken oral tradition would have been an important part of this project.
Spreading the Dhamma: Writing, Orality, And Textual Transmission in Buddhist Northern Thailand (Southeast Asia--Politics, Meaning, Memory) by Daniel Veidlinger