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Author Bowie, Katherine Ann, 1950-
Title Of beggars and Buddhas : the politics of humor in the Vessantara Jataka in Thailand / Katherine A. Bowie.
Imprint Madison, Wisconsin : The University of Wisconsin Press, [2017]

Series New perspectives in Southeast Asian studies
New perspectives in Southeast Asian studies.
Subject Tipiṭaka. Suttapiṭaka. Khuddakanikāya. Jātaka. Vessantarajātaka.
Buddhist giving.
Buddhism and state -- Thailand -- History.
Buddhism and politics -- Thailand -- History.
Buddhist stories, Thai -- Humor.
Jataka stories, Thai -- Humor.
Buddhist stories, Thai -- Political aspects.
Jataka stories, Thai -- Political aspects.
Description 1 online resource.
Bibliography Note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents List of Illustrations; Acknowledgments; Note on Transliteration; Introduction: Of Monarchs, Monks, and Peasant Masses; Part I: Diversity in Humor; 1. Central Thailand: Humor Defeated; 2. Northeastern Thailand: Humor Diverted; 3. Northern Thailand: Humor Delighted; Part II: The Politics of Diversity; 4. Jujaka as Trickster: The Peasant Imaginaire; 5. Jujaka as Threat: Consolidating Control; 6. Jujaka as Deity: Rebirths under Global Capitalism; Conclusion: The Journey's End; Notes; Bibliography; Index.
Summary The 547 Buddhist jatakas, or verse parables, recount the Buddha's lives in previous incarnations. In his penultimate and most famous incarnation, he appears as the Prince Vessantara, perfecting the virtue of generosity by giving away all his possessions, his wife, and his children to the beggar Jujaka. Taking an anthropological approach to this two-thousand-year-old morality tale, Katherine A. Bowie highlights significant local variations in its interpretations and public performances across three regions of Thailand over 150 years. The Vessantara Jataka has served both monastic and royal interests, encouraging parents to give their sons to religious orders and intimating that kings are future Buddhas. But, as Bowie shows, characterizations of the beggar Jujaka in various regions and eras have also brought ribald humor and sly antiroyalist themes to the story. Historically, these subversive performances appealed to popular audiences even as they worried the conservative Bangkok court. The monarchy sporadically sought to suppress the comedic recitations. As Thailand has changed from a feudal to a capitalist society, this famous story about giving away possessions is paradoxically being employed to promote tourism and wealth.
Note Print version record.
ISBN 9780299309534 (electronic bk.)
0299309533 (electronic bk.)
9780299309503 (cloth ; alk. paper)
0299309509
OCLC # 970619080
Additional Format Print version: Bowie, Katherine Ann, 1950- Of beggars and Buddhas. Madison, Wisconsin : The University of Wisconsin Press, [2017] (DLC) 2016017724