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Dr. Thomas Patton: Monks, Meditation and Magic in Contemporary Burmese Buddhism A lecture on Buddhism as it is lived in present day Myanmar

Exhibition details

15 August, 2015
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:

** The talk will be conducted in English.
**RSVP at [email protected]

Karin Weber Gallery presents “Monks, Meditation and Magic in Contemporary Burmese Buddhism” – a lecture by Dr. Thomas Patton, assistant professor, Department of Asian and International Studies at City University of Hong Kong. Drawing upon his 15 years of research on Burmese Buddhism, and brief time as a monk in Myanmar, professor Patton will provide key insights and an overview of Buddhism as it is lived in present day Myanmar. In the first part of the talk, Patton will describe the daily lives and practices of Burmese monks and nuns, looking especially at various kinds of meditation practices that have become popular in the 20th and 21st centuries.  In the second part of his talk, the professor will examine the creation and usage of Burmese Buddhist magical diagrams and drawings that are created using specific Burmese syllables and Buddhist scriptures. Hung in homes, monasteries, shops, cars, and around the neck; inscribed on gold, copper, and silver plates; written on paper; carved onto candles; or tattooed on bodies, these diagrams are used for a variety of purposes ranging from acquiring love and wealth to transforming oneself into a Buddhist wizard.

Masters of Myanmar: New Works by Aung Myint and Min Wae Aung 
This lecture marks the closing day of “Masters of Myanmar: New Works by Aung Myint and Min Wae Aung” at Karin Weber Gallery. Min Wae Aung, a true traditionalist in style and form, is well known for his contemporary portrayal of Burmese monks and nuns performing their simple daily rituals. Aung Myint, an abstractionist working in the Cubist style, explores social themes in the form of his well-known ‘Mother and Child’ subjects.

About the speaker
Dr. Thomas Patton (PhD Cornell University, MTS Harvard Divinity School, BA Manhattan College) completed his PhD in Asian Literature, Religion, and Culture from the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. His teaching and research is attentive to religion in Southeast Asia, particularly focusing on historical and ethnographic interests engaging Buddhist phenomena in relation to Burmese cultural contexts, issues of gender and class, and politics. His current research is on lived religion in Myanmar, specifically examining local cults of saints and peoples’ relationships with them, shrines, miracles, and other manifestations of religious devotion. He is currently Assistant Professor in City University of Hong Kong in Department of Asian and International Studies. His research interest is in Buddhist Studies, Methods and Theories of Religion and Myanmar.

“Buddhist Salvation Armies as Vanguards of the Sāsana: Sorcerer Societies in 20th Century Burma.” Journal of Asian Studies (forthcoming)
“The Wizard King’s Granddaughters: Burmese Buddhist Female Mediums, Healers, and Dreamers.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion (forthcoming
“In Pursuit of the Sorcerer’s Power: Sacred Diagrams as Technologies of Potency.” Champions of Buddhism: Weikza Cults in Contemporary Burma, Bénédicte Brac de la Perrière, Guillaume Rozenberg and Alicia Turner eds. (Singapore: National University of Singapore Press, 2014).
“In Pursuit of the Sorcerer’s Power: Sacred Diagrams as Technologies of Potency.” Contemporary Buddhism 13:2 (2012).


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