Rachelle Scott will speak July 8 in the Hodges Library Auditorium about her book Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand . This event is sponsered by the UT Libraries Diversity Committee in support of the Culture Corner.
Nirvana for Sale?: Buddhism, Wealth, and the Dhammakāya Temple in Contemporary Thailand examines the relationship between wealth and piety in Thai Buddhism and relates varying perspectives on this relationship to different constructions of Buddhist religiosity and to debates over orthodoxy and religious authority. Rather than identifying normative Buddhist views on wealth and noting inconsistencies, Scott addresses the question, when and under what circumstances is the relationship between Buddhist piety and wealth described in favorable terms and when is it viewed in terms of conflict and tension?
Rachelle Scott studies the history of Theravada Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia, with an emphasis on contemporary Buddhism in Thailand and issues of religious authority, monastic-lay relations, and globalization. She is currently finishing a book manuscript on contemporary debates over monastic and lay wealth in Thailand and the linkage of these discourses to particular constructions of Buddhist identity, practice, and authority. Her current research examines the use of modern media for the dissemination of religious teachings in Thailand, and how these media construct new religious communities as they redefine sangha-lay relations.