Scholars have long accepted the belief that a Theravada Buddhist Mon kingdom, Ramannadesa, flourished in coastal Lower Burma until it was conquered in 1057 by King Aniruddha of Pagan—which then became, in essence, the new custodian and repository of Mon culture in the Upper Burmese interior. This scenario, which Aung-Thwin calls the ""Mon Paradigm,"" has circumscribed much of the scholarship on early Burma and significantly shaped the history of Southeast Asia for more than a century. Now, in a masterful reassessment of Burmese history, Michael Aung-Thwin reexamines the original contemporary accounts and sources without finding any evidence of an early Theravada Mon polity or a conquest by Aniruddha. The paradigm, he finds, cannot be sustained. Aung-Thwin meticulously traces the paradigm's creation to the merging of two temporally, causally, and contextually unrelated Mon and Burmese narratives.