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Buddhist Monk, Buddhist Layman: A Study of Urban Monastic by Jane Bunnag

By Jane Bunnag

Such a lot anthropological and sociological reviews of Buddhism have targeting village and rural Buddhism. it is a systematic anthropological research of monastic association and monk-layman interplay in a only city context within the international locations the place Theravada Buddhism is practised, particularly, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, Laos and Thailand. the fabric awarded relies on fieldwork conducted in Ayutthaya, principal Thailand. Dr Bunnag describes and analyses the socio-economic and formality kinfolk latest among the monk and the lay neighborhood, and he or she demonstrates the best way the position of the monk is utilized by a few males, wittingly or differently, as a social stepping-stone, in that for the son of a farmer a interval within the monkhood gives you the schooling and contacts essential to facilitate his assimilation into the city lay neighborhood at a social and fiscal point which might in a different way were most unlikely. eventually, Dr Bunnag locations the fabric offered in a broader theoretical context by way of reviewing it in terms of anthropological discussions about the nature of Thai society as an entire.

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Extra resources for Buddhist Monk, Buddhist Layman: A Study of Urban Monastic Organization in Central Thailand

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It is through these channels moreover that the government budget for the support of religious affairs is administered, the major items of expenditure being the restoration of both deserted and inhabited wats, and the costs of ecclesiastical education over the whole country (Wells i960, p. 31). A yearly record of the number and status of the residents in all the monasteries in Thailand is preserved in the Department of Religious Affairs in Bangkok. Each abbot is required to submit an annual report to the 28 There are approximately 24,105 monasteries in Thailand, which housed during the Lenten season 1966 a total of 175,232 monks (statistics from the Department of Religious Affairs, Bangkok).

68-9; Tambiah 1968, p. 58), as to become a monk for even a brief period is thought to transform young men who are immature or * unripe' {dip) into fully adult members of society. In former days - and in some country areas to this day - it is said that a young man's prospects for marriage might depend upon whether or not he had spent a season in the wat. Thai men who are ordained on a temporary basis 'according to custom or tradition' (ben praphent) usually spend a part or the whole of one Lenten season (phansd) in the monastery, which is to say from mid-July until mid-October, a period coinciding with the heaviest monsoon rains.

Each abbot is required to submit an annual report to the 28 There are approximately 24,105 monasteries in Thailand, which housed during the Lenten season 1966 a total of 175,232 monks (statistics from the Department of Religious Affairs, Bangkok). 26 The Thai social system Department giving detailed information about the members of his wat community, their age, academic qualifications and so on. He must also report on the activities organized by the monastery for the laymen in the vicinity, and comment on the extent of lay participation in these services.

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