Thai/Lao monastic education

Here’s a review of Justin Thomas McDaniel’s Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words, a study of monastic education in northern Thailand and Laos. The book looks fascinating, but even from the review you can get a sense of the nuanced, changing, and variable situation in monastery education throughout these regions. Unfortunately the review doesn’t give any indication as to what is actually in the manuscripts discussed, apart from the fact that some of them draw on the Dhammapada. But it does shed a little more light on the evolving shape of Thai/Lao Buddhism in the colonial era, dispelling the anti-historical illusion of a consistent, standardized, constant form of “Thai Buddhism” which has been the same way “since the beginning”.

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