Tree Ordination as Invented Tradition

Abstract

The symbolic ordination of trees as monks in Thailand is widely perceived in Western scholarship to be proof of the power of Buddhism to spur ecological thought. However, a closer analysis of tree ordination demonstrates that it is not primarily about Buddhist teaching, but rather is an invented tradition based on the sanctity of Thai Buddhist symbols as well as those of spirit worship and the monarchy. Tree ordinations performed by non-Buddhist minorities in Thailand do not demonstrate a religious commitment but rather a political one.

Keywords

invented traditions, environmentalism, sacred ecology, Thai Buddhism, Eco-Buddhism

How to Cite

Morrow, A., 2012. Tree Ordination as Invented Tradition. ASIANetwork Exchange: A Journal for Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts, 19(1), pp.53–60. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16995/ane.11

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Authors

Avery Morrow (Graduate of Carleton College)

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This article has been peer reviewed.

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