Tai-Burmese-Lao Buddhisms in the 'modernizing' of Ban Thawai (Bangkok): The dynamic interaction between ethnic minority religion and British-Siamese centralization in the late nineteenth/early twentieth centuries

Phibul Choompolpaisal*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Drawing on extensive Thai literary and oral history sources this article sets out to explain the complex social, political, ethnic and religious framework within which the opening by 'the Irish Buddhist' U Dhammaloka of a free, bilingual and multi-ethnic Buddhist school at Wat Ban Thawai, Bangkok in May 1903 acquires a broader and deeper significance. The article documents the mutual relationships between the local Buddhisms ofTai, Burmese and Lao ethnic minorities and the politics of British-Siamese alliance in the period before and during the First World War. It examines the British-Siamese support of these Buddhist communities in Bangkok and explores the British-Siamese use of their diplomatic relationship with the Tai, Burmese and Lao ethnic minorities in Ban Thawai and elsewhere (i.e. across the borders between Siam and Burma) in order to centralize power. It also discusses the anomalous effect of British and French influence in Ban Thawai which allowed local resistance to Siamese centralization and sahgha reform.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-114
Number of pages22
JournalContemporary Buddhism
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Jun 2013

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