Monk Travellers: Spreading the Opportunity to Do Good under Theravadin Buddhhism

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This is the third abstract from the forthcoming IFRD Conference, co-authored with Phramaha Min Putthithanasombat:

Monk Travellers: Spreading the Opportunity to Do Good under Theravadin Buddhhism

Abstract

In Theravadin Buddhism, which is the most prevalent form in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMSR), the monk is a central figure in giving people the opportunity to do good by donating food on the early morning perambulation and on other occasions. Moving from one place to another is, therefore, an inherently important aspect of the monk’s daily routine. As part of the everyday politics of life as experienced by most people in the region, monks have become prominent features of the quotidian landscape and, hence, influencers of opinion and feelings by virtue of their presence. However, what impact does it have if the monk travels further afield, even internationally? Research has indicated that cross-border travel in the GMSR for religious purposes can help to improve social relations and that the management of facilities related to temples (wats) can be organized along religious-philosophical lines. This paper uses a qualitative research approach to extend the previous analysis to consider the role of the monk as both manager and agent of change in the role of international traveller. It is argued that elements of Buddhist dharma can explain the role of the monk as manager, especially when taken in conjunction with parts of management literature.

Keywords: Greater Mekong Subregion; monks; perambulation; Theravadin Buddhism; travel

Phramaha Min Putthithanasombat, School of Management, Shinawatra University

John Walsh, School of Management, Shinawatra University

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