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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Attentive to the oxymoron of its title, this chapter looks for insight into the contemporary moment through an extended examination of traditions, or symptoms, rooted in the past. Accordingly, the chapter explores a series of transformative periods of Cambodian history as a means of sketching a description of the distinctive traits of contemporary Cambodian Theravada Buddhist traditions. These include the assimilation of Buddhism with the state embodied by the monarch, (dis)investment in language, temples as sites of sociopolitical organization or disruption as it were, and the recurrent denaturing of Buddhism even, though not only in attempts to restore the religion’s supposed authenticity.

Keywords: Buddhism, Cambodia, Theravada, temple, religion

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