Manuscripts from the Kingdom of Siam in Japan


In this chapter, the textual contents of the illustrated samut khoi-s in Thailand, are examined. Samut khoi manuscripts are an important resource for the study of Siamese and Buddhist literature in the 18th and 19th centuries. Samut khoi-s are divided into two groups. Both groups use a script called "Khom" (อักษรขอม), but one group uses a thin character set, and the other a thick and calligraphic character set. The chief text of eighteenth century samut khoi-s, the Mahābuddhaguṇa, shows what great importance Thai Buddhists attached to the Buddha-anussati, the recollection of the Buddha. In the 19th century, there was a growth of the tale of Phra Malai in the Thai vernacular language—-a story of a monk named Māleyya (in Pāli) who travels to hells to help people, and to Tāvatiṃsa heaven to meet the future Buddha Metteya—was very popular at funeral ceremonies.