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Title: Two site study of the reconstruction of the Buddhist monastery in Cambodia Post-Khmer Rouge
Author: O'Lemmon, Matthew Eric
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2011
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From the fall of Phnom Penh, to the hyper-Marxist Khmer Rouge, to the decades-long civil war and reconstruction of the country following Vietnam's invasion in 1979, Cambodia has seen a cultural upheaval that brought with it the destruction of institutions and ways of life that have been slow to recover. This two site study examines the reconstruction of one those institutions, the Buddhist monastery, in Prey Thom commune in the southwestern province of Kampot. The loss of traditions, texts, and clergy has meant that the centre of village life -- the local temple -- has had to regain many of those aspects that defined it throughout the centuries. Two of these, the power the monastery commanded in the eyes of locals and the monastic identity which defined how that power was expressed, have historically been vital to the monastery's existence and allowed for temples to be the epicentre of villages, defining individuals' lives and the agrarian economy they depended on. The monastery's reconstruction has also meant that the reliance on local folk and Hindu beliefs continued, and in some instances, grew in prominence in the absence of a viable and competent cadre of Buddhist monks. As the monastery continues to regain its former stature, how this affects merit-making traditions and the local economies which rely on them in many ways reflects the importance of local temples from village to village. While monastic schooling has proved to be important in recreating a knowledgeable cadre, how this affects local attitudes regarding the status of monks is further shaped by those outside of the monastery who either purposely or unknowingly determine local perceptions of it. The future of the monastery will depend on how it can maintain a degree of separation from these larger entities while continuing to serve in the time-honoured roles that sustain villages and the traditions they have historically relied upon.
Supervisor: Good, Anthony ; Thin, Neil Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cambodia ; Khmer Rouge ; Buddhism