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The Fate of Rural Hell: Asceticism and Desire in Buddhist Thailand Hardcover – Jun 15 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 99 pages
  • Publisher: Seagull Books (June 15 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857420275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857420275
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,386,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“Anderson presents us with a miniature masterpiece of political and social interpretation, using a popular but atypical religious site to explore, from an unusual angle, the intersection of Buddhist piety, educational and social hierarchy, erotic sensibilities, and the remnants of rural feudalism in Thai society as it lurches unevenly toward more egalitarian relations. This brief but gripping book leaves a long, complex, and lasting taste on the mental palate.”
(Anthropological Forum)

About the Author

Benedict Anderson is professor emeritus of international studies and politics and government studies at Cornell University. He is best known for Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Interesting Aug. 10 2013
By LanceManion - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I notice a lot of 'hell' tableau in Thai Temples, particularly in the far north (Nan and Phayao). This book could do a better job of explaining how this has come about, what's changed in Thai religious culture, etc. Very desciptive, leaves one wanting some explanation.
One of a kind April 2 2013
By JDV - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As far as I know, this is the only book written that discusses the "Hell Temples" of Thailand. I have been to the one in Khorat, and this one in Suphanburi. What I found to be the most useful is translations of the Thai writing on the various sculptures that inform the reader about the "sins" that the tormented are suffering for. I took this book with me in Oct of 2012 to Wat Phai Rong Wua, and it was a great aid in understanding the displays. This book is definitely one of a kind. Buy it if you are interested in Thai Buddhism, occultism, ghosts, or legends...or just want a deeper understanding of Thai culture. These temples are a kind of living "Dante's Inferno"--meant to dissuade sinners from deviating from the Buddhist path. In my opinion, they are also a sort of gimmick for generating money for the temples. As are most of the "gimmicks" that require feeding money into displays found in many Thai temples. Overall, small book, great photos, interesting text and subject. I would buy another copy if the one I have got lost or damaged--just to have it.
Hell Jan. 2 2013
By Tony Milton - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting insights about Theravada Buddhism in Thailand. Copious photographs of Hells in rural Temples. Great biographical information about the monks and artists involved in creating these special spaces.
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
it was funny to look at Dec 29 2014
By dan j carrDan Carr - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Oh my , what a freak show . If nothing else .... it was funny to look at