Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar: Cultural Narratives, Colonial Legacies, and Civil Society
For centuries, Burmese have looked to the authority of their religious tradition, Theravada Buddhism, to negotiate social and political hierarchies. Modern Buddhist Conjunctures in Myanmar examines those moments in the modern history of this Southeast Asian country when religion, culture, and politics converge to chart new directions. Arguing against Max Weber s characterization of Buddhism as other-worldly and divorced from politics, this study shows that Buddhist practice necessitates public validation within an economy of merit in which moral action earns future rewards. The intervention of colonial modernity in traditional Burmese Buddhist worldviews has created conjunctures at which public concerns critical to the nation s future are reinterpreted in light of a Buddhist paradigm of power.