- Publisher: State University of New York Press
- Available in: Hardcover, Paperback
- ISBN: 978-0-7914-5691-0
- Published: March 1, 2003
With Jacob N. Kinnard – Editor and Jonathan S. Walters – Editor
Explores how community is defined and how it functions among Theravada Buddhists in South and Southeast Asia.
Constituting Communities explores how community functions within Theravada Buddhist culture. Although the dominant focus of Buddhist studies for the past century has been on doctrinal and philosophical issues, this volume concentrates on discourses that produced them, and why and how these discourses and practices shaped Theravada communities in South and Southeast Asia. From a variety of perspectives, including historical, literary, doctrinal and philosophical, and social and anthropological, the contributors explore the issues that have proven important and definitive for identifying what it has meant, individually and socially, to be Buddhist in this particular region. The book focuses on textual discourse, how communities are formed and maintained within pluralistic contexts, and the formation of community both within and between the monastic and lay settings.
“…offers an image of the current state of Theravada Studies in America; in reading it, one can only be truly optimistic about the future of the field.” — Southeast Asian Studies
“This volume is a refreshing reminder that … religion and religious practice, and Theravada Buddhism, too, always deal with imagining and constituting community.” — Pacific Affairs
“The study of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia has overemphasized the individual, which has blinded scholars to very important aspects of Buddhism, and led to some profound misunderstandings. There are historical reasons for this which are revealed here, and a light is shined upon other aspects of community and Buddhism.” — Sid Brown, author of The Journey of One Buddhist Nun: Even Against the Wind
“This volume relates to a wide range of current literature in the field of Theravada Buddhist studies while at the same time occupying a unique niche.” — Donald K. Swearer, author of The Buddhist World of Southeast Asia
Contributors include Carol S. Anderson, Anne M. Blackburn, Mahinda Deegalle, James R. Egge, Julie Gifford, John Clifford Holt, Jacob N. Kinnard, John S. Strong, Liz Wilson, and Jonathan S. Walters.