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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Buddhism in Malaysia, from its early history through the contemporary period. It investigates the factors that contributed to the migration and continued presence of Chinese, Thai, Burmese, and Sri Lankan Buddhists to peninsular Malaysia, as well as the causes that led to the founding of their own familiar places of worship. Turning more specifically to the postcolonial period, this chapter explores the intersection of politics and religion. Focusing on the minority status of Malaysian Buddhists vis-à-vis their majority Malay-Muslim fellow citizens, the chapter considers not only how the commodification of religion and culture has functioned as a centripetal force drawing together disparate groups of Buddhists in Malaysia, but also how the felt need among Buddhists to work together and speak in a unified voice has shaped ideas about Buddhist orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

Keywords: Buddhism, Muslim, orthodoxy, orthopraxy, Malaysia, religion

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