How Theravada Is Theravada?

Exploring Buddhist Identities

Edited by Peter Skilling, Jason A. Carbine, Claudio Cicuzza, and Santi Pakdeekham

  • $60.00s paperback (9786162150449) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2012
  • Subject Listing: Asian Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 640 pp., 150 illus., 60 in color, 5.50 x 8.30 in.
  • Distributed for: Silkworm Books
  • Contents

Our understanding of the history of Buddhism in Southeast Asia has often been oversimplified, biased, or vague. The twelve innovative essays presented here shed new light on terms such as sthavira, theravada, theriya, or theravasa, each of which may carry a variety of meanings and connotations. Some of the contributors reconsider known data to present new and challenging perspectives on the complicated history of the Mahavihara and Abhayagiri schools in Sri Lanka, or the Indian historiographical tradition on the formation of Buddhist orders/schools (nikaya/acariyavada). Others stress the central role of lineages and their transmission, as well as the dynamic impulse that this problematic provokes in terms of long-distance exchanges.

Topical inquiries based on epigraphical material reveal the force of institutional practices, or invite scholars to analyze the textual traditions of Southeast Asia more deeply, particularly its "transitive" mode of translation. Essays range across Buddhism in early Lanka, in Burma during the Pagan and Dhammachedi periods, in nineteenth-century Cambodia, and in Thailand from the late eighteenth- to early twentieth-centuries.
Peter Skilling is special lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, honorary associate of the Department of Indian Sub-Continental Studies, University of Sydney, and Maitre de Conferences with the Ecole francaise d'Extreme-Orient, Bangkok. Jason A. Carbine is associate professor of religious studies at Whittier College. Claudio Cicuzza teaches religious studies at Webster University, Thailand. Santi Pakdeekham is assistant professor of Thai and Oriental languages at Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok.

"Let me state at the outset that this book, which no short review could do justice to, is one of the most important books in the field of Buddhist studies in the last fifty years. It should immediately become the foundational text on every graduate student's general/comprehensive exam in Buddhist studies and will be debated by scholars and students for many years."
-Justin Thomas McDaniel, Journal of Asian Studies