The Lao Sangha of Luang Prabang and their Social Roles in the Post-1975 Period
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/11829
First published on GoeScholar 2014
DORISEA working paper; 9
The members of the Lao Sangha, monks as well as novices, do not only stay in their monasteries for spiritual purposes, for chanting and meditating many hours a day. In fact, they are also obliged to participate in numerous activities which connect them to the daily lives of the local laypeople on whose constant support they rely. The monasteries function as schools or centres of training and learning. The monks are teachers and instructors of young novices and devout laypeople alike. For this purpose, the members of the Lao Sangha seek for answers to a variety of social and developmental issues in the Buddhist scriptures. This paper seeks to explore how the Buddhist institutions, from the highest levels of the Sangha hierarchy to individual monasteries, have defined their social responsibilities since the founding of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in December 1975. According to the policy of the leading Lao People’s Revolutionary Party, the multi-ethnic Lao nation has to fulfil the two main tasks of defending the country and developing it. As an inseparable part of Lao society, the Lao Sangha aims to contribute to this task in its own ways. Based on hitherto unknown primary sources recently discovered in the holdings of various monasteries in Luang Prabang, this paper intends to shed new light on the social roles of the Lao Sangha after the founding of the Lao PDR.