Governing the monastic order. A comparative exploration of traditional sangha-laws in pre-modern Laos and their transformations under colonialism

Patrice Ladwig (with Gregory Kourilsky, École Française d‘Extrême-Orient, EFEO, Paris)

- completed -

Patrice Ladwig was Principal Investigator of a project funded by the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation in Buddhist Studies. He collaborated with Gregory Kourilsky (École française d‘Extrême- Orient, EFEO, Paris). This project examines texts and laws that concern the governance and administration of the Buddhist monastic order (Sangha) in Laos during the pre-modern and the colonial period (19th century - 1953). First, it will explore how legal and religious concepts borrowed (directly or not) from India were adapted to pre-modern Buddhist Lao kingdoms. Secondly, the research will examine modern colonial legislations for controlling and administering the Sangha in French Laos. Synthesizing the results and focusing on the concept of ‘localization’, the ruptures and continuities of Buddhist law-making under different political regimes will be explored. By combining textual analysis with historical methods and theories, broader conclusions will be drawn from comparisons with other Theravada cases in South and Southeast Asia.

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