Abstract

During the mid-1950s, the Burmese government organized and funded the “sixth Buddhist council,” a two-year gathering of monks and laypeople in which the Pāli canon was recited. In this article, a number of previously unexplored sources have been drawn from in aid of providing a better understanding of the purpose for which the event was held and the way in which it was presented to the wider public. These sources advertized the council as an effective means to purify Theravāda Buddhist scriptures and thereby protect the sāsana from decline. They consistently portrayed this work of purification as an international collaboration involving monastic groups from all major Theravāda Buddhist countries, despite evidence to the contrary. This article also includes a detailed analysis of a section of the principal textual product associated with the council, the widely used Chaṭṭhasaṅgīti Piṭaka series of the Pāli canon, providing insight into its sources and editing methodology.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2010-314X
Print ISSN
1094-799X
Pages
pp. 79-112
Launched on MUSE
2015-06-17
Open Access
No
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