By Jane Bunnag
So much anthropological and sociological experiences of Buddhism have focused on village and rural Buddhism. it is a systematic anthropological learn of monastic association and monk-layman interplay in a merely city context within the nations the place Theravada Buddhism is practised, particularly, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, Laos and Thailand. the fabric provided relies on fieldwork performed in Ayutthaya, valuable Thailand. Dr Bunnag describes and analyses the socio-economic and formality family latest among the monk and the lay group, and she or he demonstrates the best way the function of the monk is utilized by a few males, wittingly or another way, as a social stepping-stone, in that for the son of a farmer a interval within the monkhood delivers the schooling and contacts essential to facilitate his assimilation into the city lay neighborhood at a social and monetary point which might another way were very unlikely. eventually, Dr Bunnag locations the cloth offered in a broader theoretical context by means of reviewing it in terms of anthropological discussions in regards to the nature of Thai society as an entire.
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Additional info for Buddhist Monk, Buddhist Layman: A Study of Urban Monastic Organization in Central Thailand
20 21 See Ames (1964, pp. 21-52). g. Kaufman (i960); Tambiah (1968). 22 See Mendelson (1965, p. 217) on the difficulties of distinguishing between the different elements. 22 The Thai social system philosophical understanding of the individual actor. 23 In some instances monks must appear to maintain a dual standard in that they give their tacit approval to certain items of religious behaviour which they consider to be inefficacious. It was believed in Ayutthaya for example that if one visited a neighbouring shrine which housed a replica of the Buddha's foot-print, on seven separate occasions, then one would have acquired sufficient merit to avoid having to go to Hell whatever evil actions one committed in the future.
Only one instance came to my notice of an upacha*s refusing to ordain a young man on the 18 See Vajirananavarorasa (1963, pp. 112-13) f ° r lay-out of application forms. T h e building in the wat which stands within the consecrated area marked by the sima or boundary stones. 20 See also the Laws of the Council of Elders (Kot MahatherasamaJ^hom), Vol. 3, Bk 7, Sect. 162, for procedure for the appointment of the upacha. 21 In Thailand an estimated 7 1 % of the population over ten years of age is literate (Caldwell 1967, p.
113) for comparative figures. 14 We should beware of attaching too much importance to these figures in that a number of monks in Ayutthaya came from outside the Amp hoe area (see Appendix 2), whilst on the other hand Ayutthaya men were living in monasteries elsewhere, 37 Buddhist mon\, Buddhist layman Bearing these figures in mind it is reasonable to enquire whether or not there are any factors - beyond personal disinclination to abandon 'the way of the world' - which prevent some men from becoming ordained, and conversely whether the permanent monks have anything in common other than the length of their service in the wat.