INST1TUT FUR TIBETOLOGIE UNO BUDOHISMUSKUNOE Whaf s Going on Here? Chih-i's Use (and Abuse) of Scripture 1 GEORGES DREYFUS Tibetan Scholastic Education and The Role of Soteriology 31

Universitatscampus Aakh, Paul Swanson, Andrew Huxley
1997 Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies   unpublished
JIABS20.1 as compared with such over-cultivated fields as the Shakespearian corpus. But in die field of Southeast Asian Buddhist law this disparity has reached Churchillian proportions: never in the field of human scholarship have so few scholars struggled to master so much fresh material. Since about 1977 scholars from Thai, Laotian and Burmese universities have boldly gone where their European predecessors dared not venture. Sponsored by Japanese research funds and equipped with the microfilm
more » ... camera, the xerox machine and the scanner as tools of their trade, they have winkled manuscripts out from forgotten corners of libraries, from private collections and, above all, from the book chests of provincial monasteries. And to striking effect. In 1975 only one law text from the Tai Yuan culture of northern Thailand was in print. By 1989 one-hundred-and-thirty-two such texts had been discovered and made available on microfilm. Up to 1991 only one Mon dhammathat (the legal genre that provides norms for villagelevel dispute settlement) had been printed. Now eleven additional Mon dhammathats have been published in a handsome Mon-English edition. Before 1985 only three or four of the Burmese kings' rajathat (Orders of State, one or two of which promulgate something like a royal code of good citizenship) were in print: 1990 saw the publication of the tenth and final volume of Than Tun's magisterial Burmese-English collection. Before 1993 our knowledge of Siamese legal literature was limited to the Three Seals Code of 1805, which is an edited edition of that portion of the Ayutthayan palace legal archives which survived a particularly destructive Burmese raid. Pitinai Chaisaengsukkul has now copied and catalogued about seven-hundred legal manuscripts from central and southern Thailand. Meanwhile Sarup Ritchu has revealed that the Southern Kingdom based on Nakhon Sri Thammarat had its own distinctive tradition of law texts. According to rumour, we shall soon be able to say the same about the Tai-Shan and Tai-Khamti cultures. This explosion of legal source material has coincided with a shift in academic fashion towards topics for which the Theravada legal literature is our prime source. Interest (particularly in western history departments) is switching from "dates and dynasties" towards the structures of everyday life. Topics such as the economics of the rice field, the relationship between the sexes and the complexities of social status are working their way to the top of the agenda. Since the chronicles concentrate on palace life and since popular story-telling was set in a never-never land derived from the Jataka, the legal literature is our only source for the details of everyday life. You're interested in freshwater fishing? Here's a description of the twenty different types of rod and net used by 18th century Burmese fish-