About Buddhist Burma: Thathana, or ‘Religion’ as Social Space

  • Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière


Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière brings a fresh perspective on the semantics of the word thathana (from Pali sāsana), which lies at the basis of Burmese conceptualizations of ‘religion’ as social space, by looking into its use within three contexts: universal, political and ritual. The interface of Buddhism as a ‘universalism’ and its localization in Burma is first examined through the convening of councils. Then, both ideas and practices linked to thathana are examined in relation to political and religious configurations set in the colonial period and under the various regimes that have ruled the country since its independence in 1948. The last section deals with Burmese ritual sphere in which those events concerning the Buddha’s teachings are distinguished through their religious character from mere rituals.


Ritual Sphere Burmese Conceptualizations Buddhist Institutions Buddhist Nationalism colonialColonial 
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Authors and Affiliations

  • Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre Asie du Sud-EstCNRS-EHESSParisFrance

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