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Possessed for Success: Prosperity Buddhism and the Cult of the Guardians of the Treasure Trove in Upper Burma
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
2017 (English)In: Contemporary Buddhism, ISSN 1463-9947, E-ISSN 1476-7953, Vol. 18, no 1, 108-139 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Following the global spread of capitalism from the early 1990s, individualistic, non-institutionalised prosperity religion and occult economies' have emerged throughout the world, including South-East Asia, but have seemingly not yet been investigated with respect to Burma/Myanmar. This article focuses on the cult of the guardians of the treasure trove - a form of prosperity Buddhism' - in Upper Burma, wherein predominantly business women of lower middle classes perform possession dances to become successful in business. It has partly evolved from the lower status traditional' possession cult of the 37 Lords. The aim of this article is threefold. Firstly, it examines novel kinds of Buddhicised' possession rituals of higher status that discard religious specialists. These practices represent a democratisation of public spirit-mediumship and provide a route for success in business, agency and empowerment. Secondly, it is demonstrated that these cults seek to preserve Buddhism in the face of the current rapid changes in Burma. Thirdly, this article shows how these novel cults emerged in dynamic interplay with recent economic, social and political changes in Burma, as well as an increasing impact of globalisation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 18, no 1, 108-139 p.
Keyword [en]
Buddhism, prosperity religion, lived religion, Burma/Myanmar, possession rituals
National Category
History of Religions
Research subject
History of Religion
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-141809DOI: 10.1080/14639947.2017.1301033ISI: 000400328600008OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-141809DiVA: diva2:1089103
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 421-2012-1172The Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities (KVHAA)
Available from: 2017-04-18 Created: 2017-04-18 Last updated: 2017-05-29Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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Output format
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