Current Institutional Affiliation
Chair, Religion, University of Pennsylvania

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2001
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Religion, Harvard University
Invoking the Source: Nissaya Manuscripts, Pedagogy and Sermon-making in Northern Thai and Lao Buddhism

I plan to study the relationship between traditional Buddhist educational texts and their role in the preservation of Northern Thai language and culture. I will create an exact, encyclopedic catalogue of nissaya texts and translate and produce scholarly editions of a selection of these manuscripts. This unique genre of texts found in Northern Thailand and Laos reflects an emergence of pre-modern conceptions/assertions of local "Buddhisms" with local canons of religious literature. By focusing on these texts I hope to trace the local creation of Northern Thai culture in the 15th and 16th centuries. This work also hopes to provide an example of how the study of pre-modern texts is relevant to the study of contemporary Buddhist pedagogy and culture by studying how scholars and monastics in Northern Thailand are using these texts to promote regional culture. This project will not only benefit the fields of Buddhology, education and religious studies, but also help preserve Thai Buddhist manuscripts and expose the creativeness of Thai religious expression.