Translated from French by Ward Keeler (University of Texas at Austin) The events preceding, surrounding, and following the demise of the person considered the greatest Burmese holy man of the late twentieth century, the great monk of Thamanya (1912–2003), reveal much about how a community seeks to gain some control over death. In attempts to prevent the monk’s death, in efforts to preserve his presence despite his death, and in arguments about how to organize his funeral, we see that the body lies, as the French anthropologist Robert Hertz long pointed out, at the center of conceptions and activities related to death. Whether doubled, used as the subject of rites, preserved or burned, the body is an instrument that is manipulated when people confront death’s effects on their community.


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pp. 69-118
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