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Pali Scholarship “in Its Truest Sense” in Burma: The Multiple Trajectories in Colonial Deployments of Religion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2018

Alicia Turner*
Affiliation:
Alicia Turner (turnera@yorku.ca) is Associate Professor of Religion and Humanities at York University in Toronto.
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Abstract

Why are histories of colonialism and religious transformation in Southeast Asia so often told as inextricably interrelated? Why were Buddhist movements identified as both the locus for resistance to colonialism and the central means of constructing colonial modernity? Part of the reason lies in how religion served as both a European technique of colonial governmentality and a local repository of techniques for comprehending and responding to change. More than this, religion seems to have offered a multivalent medium for a variety of innovations. Pali examinations were central to Buddhist reform in colonial Burma at the turn of the twentieth century but also fomented conflicts between the colonial state and monastic factions over the purpose of language study. However, beyond such conflicts, Pali examinations proved fertile grounds for Buddhist laypeople to experiment with multiple interpretations of what Buddhist modernity might mean in Burma.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Association for Asian Studies, Inc. 2018 

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References

List of References

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Paṭhama Cā Tō Bran Upadhe [Rules for the Patamabyan Examination]. 1883. Mandalay: Ratanābon Neprantō cā puṃ nhip’ tuik’.Google Scholar
Pranke, Patrick. 2004. “The ‘Treatise on the Lineage of Elders’ (Vaṃsadipani): Monastic Reform and the Writing of Buddhist History in Eighteenth-Century Burma.” PhD diss., University of Michigan.Google Scholar
Rost, E. R. 1885. “Pali Language and Literature.” Our Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature 4(9):305–11.Google Scholar
Smith, Donald Eugene. 1965. Religion and Politics in Burma. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Temple, Richard Carnac. 1876. “A Plea for the Study of Pali in British Burma.” MSS EUR F98/13, India Office Records Collection. British Library.Google Scholar
Turner, Alicia. 2011. “Religion Making and Its Failures: Turning Monasteries into Schools and Buddhism into a Religion in Colonial Burma.” In Secularism and Religion-Making, eds. Dressler, Markus and Mandair, Arvind-Pal S., 226–42. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Turner, Alicia. 2014. Saving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i.Google Scholar
Union Buddha Sasana Council. 1954 (2498). Report on the Situation of Buddhism in Burma. Rangoon: Union Buddha Sasana Council.Google Scholar
India Office Records Collection. British Library. London, England. 1908. “Rewards for the Study of Pali.” L/PJ/6/865, File 1377.Google Scholar
Myanmar National Archives. Yangon, Myanmar. 1892. “Education: Pali Examination to be held in Mandalay for monks and laymen.” File 2E-12.Google Scholar
QRPI (Quinquennial Report on Public Instruction in Burma). 1892–97. Rangoon: Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma.Google Scholar
RPI (Report on Public Instruction in Burma). 1891–92. Rangoon: Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma.Google Scholar
RPI (Report on Public Instruction in Burma). 1892–93. Rangoon: Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma.Google Scholar
RPI (Report on Public Instruction in Burma). 1897–98. Rangoon: Superintendent, Government Printing, Burma.Google Scholar
Bagshawe, Leonard Evans. 1998. “The ‘Moral and Intellectual Improvement of the People’: Western Education in Burma to 1880.” In Etudes Birmanes: En hommage à Denise Bernot [Burmese studies: A tribute to Denise Bernot], eds. Pichard, Pierre and Robinne, François, 269–86. Paris: Ecole Française d'Extrême-Orient.Google Scholar
Burma Echo . 1907. September 7.Google Scholar
Charney, Michael. 2006. Powerful Learning: Buddhist Literati and the Throne in Burma's Last Dynasty, 1752–1885. Ann Arbor: Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Michigan.Google Scholar
Cohn, Bernard S. 1996. “The Command of Language and the Language of Command.” In Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: The British in India, 16–56 . Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Dhammasami, Khammai. 2004. “Between Idealism and Pragmatism: A Study of Monastic Education in Burma and Thailand from the Seventeenth Century to the Present.” D. Phil., University of Oxford.Google Scholar
Duroiselle, Charles. 1906. A Practical Grammar of the Pali Language. Rangoon: British Burma Press.Google Scholar
Forchhammer, E. 1882. Report on the Work Performed on Behalf of Government during the Year 1878–1880, by Dr. E. Forchhammer, Professor of Pali at Rangoon High School. Rangoon: Government Press.Google Scholar
Gray, James. 1878. First Lessons in Pali, Pali Handbooks for Vernacular Schools, No. 1. Maulmain: Printed at the “Friend of Maulmain” Press, Moung Tsoh.Google Scholar
Gray, James. 1883. Elements of Pali Grammar Adapted for Schools and Private Study: Published under the Patronage of the Education Department, British Burma. Rangoon: Government Press.Google Scholar
Hall, D. G. E. 1960. Burma. Edited by Coupland, Sir Reginald. 3rd ed. British Empire History. London: Hutchinson and Co.Google Scholar
Hansen, Anne Ruth. 2007. How to Behave: Buddhism and Modernity in Colonial Cambodia, 1860–1930. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
Hanthawaddy Weekly Review . 1900. May 26.Google Scholar
Hanthawaddy Weekly Review . 1901. August 10.Google Scholar
Hanthawaddy Weekly Review . 1902. June 28.Google Scholar
Hanthawaddy Weekly Review . 1905. October 4.Google Scholar
Journal of the Maha-Bodhi Society . 1893. “Revival of Pali Study in Burma.” 1(9).Google Scholar
Kirichenko, Alexey. 2018. “The Thathanabaing Project: Monastic Hierarchies and Colonialism in Burma.” In Theravada Buddhism in Colonial Contexts, ed. Borchert, Thomas, chap. 8. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Mandalay Pariyatti Thathanahita. 1998. Nhac’ tac’ rā praññ’. samuiṅ’: [The 100-year history of the Parityatti Thathanahita Association]. Mandalay: Sukhavatīpiṭaka.Google Scholar
McDaniel, Justin. 2008. Gathering Leaves and Lifting Words: Histories of Buddhist Monastic Education in Laos and Thailand. Seattle: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
Metcalf, Barbara Daly, and Metcalf, Thomas R.. 2006. A Concise History of Modern India. 2nd ed. Cambridge Concise Histories. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Minekhine Sayadaw. [1913] 1929. “Lokāyatādivinicchaya.” In Lokāyatādivinicchaya, ed. Bhurā: Phrū Charā to’, 117–51. Rangoon: Dī: dut’ sataṅ’: cā puṃ nhip’ tuik’.Google Scholar
Myo Myint. 1987. “The Politics of Survival in Burma: Diplomacy and Statecraft in the Reign of King Mindon 1853–1871.” PhD diss., Cornell University.Google Scholar
Okell, John. 1965. “Nissaya Burmese: A Case of Systematic Adaptation to a Foreign Grammar and Syntax.” Lingua 15:186227.Google Scholar
Paṭhama Cā Tō Bran Upadhe [Rules for the Patamabyan Examination]. 1883. Mandalay: Ratanābon Neprantō cā puṃ nhip’ tuik’.Google Scholar
Pranke, Patrick. 2004. “The ‘Treatise on the Lineage of Elders’ (Vaṃsadipani): Monastic Reform and the Writing of Buddhist History in Eighteenth-Century Burma.” PhD diss., University of Michigan.Google Scholar
Rost, E. R. 1885. “Pali Language and Literature.” Our Monthly: A Magazine of General Literature 4(9):305–11.Google Scholar
Smith, Donald Eugene. 1965. Religion and Politics in Burma. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Temple, Richard Carnac. 1876. “A Plea for the Study of Pali in British Burma.” MSS EUR F98/13, India Office Records Collection. British Library.Google Scholar
Turner, Alicia. 2011. “Religion Making and Its Failures: Turning Monasteries into Schools and Buddhism into a Religion in Colonial Burma.” In Secularism and Religion-Making, eds. Dressler, Markus and Mandair, Arvind-Pal S., 226–42. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Turner, Alicia. 2014. Saving Buddhism: The Impermanence of Religion in Colonial Burma. Southeast Asia: Politics, Meaning, and Memory. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i.Google Scholar
Union Buddha Sasana Council. 1954 (2498). Report on the Situation of Buddhism in Burma. Rangoon: Union Buddha Sasana Council.Google Scholar