Article

Buddhism in Laos

Justin McDaniel

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0125
Buddhism in Laos

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Even though Lao studies is experiencing exponential growth due to the availability and exposure of a number of archival sources (especially the Digital Library of Lao Manuscripts, cited under Archival Sources), as well as more-liberal visa policies, the study of Lao Buddhism is still in its early stages in Western languages. Bualy Papaphanh, Bounteum Sibounheuang, Khonngdeuane Nettawong, and Thongxeuy, among others, have consistently produced detailed studies in Lao, but these have yet to be published, and a number of foreign scholars have benefited from their guidance in Laos. Besides some short missionary and colonial studies (E. Lefèvre, M. Bassenne, L. Finot, F. Garnier, H. Parmentier, members of the Mission Pavie, among others), which often presented Laos as a place where Buddhist educational, textual, and cultural production was anemic in relation to Burma and Thailand, it was not until the postcolonial period that larger surveys of Lao Buddhism emerged. Recently, work on the origins of Lao Buddhism by Michel Lorrillard (especially Lorrillard 2003, cited under Art, Architecture, and Archaeology), close studies of funerary rites in Ladwig 2003 (cited under Modern Ethnographic Studies), and book-length studies such as McDaniel 2008 (cited under Texts) and Holt 2009 (cited under General Studies) have attempted both to discuss Lao Buddhism as it compares to Sri Lankan, Thai, and Cambodian Buddhism, as well as to emphasize its unique features. However, the problem that still plagues Lao studies is that many anthropologists were in fact discussing Lao ethnic practices among communities in northeastern Thailand and assuming that the same practices take place in Laos. Included here are the most-useful (most in Western languages) sources for the study of Lao Buddhist literature, art history, society, history, and texts.

Article.  4698 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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