Focusing on representations of the ghost and the monk from the late eighteenth century to the present, Justin Thomas McDaniel builds a case for interpreting modern Thai Buddhist practice through the movements of these transformative figures. He follows embodiments of the ghost and the monk in a variety of genres and media, including biography, film, television, drama, ritual, art, liturgy, and the Internet. Sourcing nuns, monks, laypeople, and royalty, he shows how relations with the ghost and the monk have been instrumental in crafting histories and modernities. Establishing an individual's "religious repertoire" as a valid category of study, he explores the performance of Buddhist thought and ritual through practices of magic, prognostication, image production, sacred protection, and deity and ghost worship, among other enactments, and clarifies the meaning of multiple cultural configurations. Listening to popular Thai Buddhist ghost stories, visiting crowded shrines and temples, McDaniel finds that concepts of attachment, love, wealth, beauty, graciousness, security, nationalism, entertainment, and family and national heritage all spring from engagement with the ghost and the monk.
- Publication Date:
- 11 / 10 / 2011