Industrial-Sized Deals Best Books of the Month Shop Women's Handbags Learn more nav_sap_plcc_6M_fly_beacon $5 Albums Fire TV Stick Off to College Essentials Find the Best Purina Pro Plan for Your Pet Shop Popular Services tmnt tmnt tmnt  Amazon Echo Starting at $99 Kindle Voyage Metal Gear Solid 5 Shop Now Deal of the Day
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by
Gift-wrap available.
Buddhism and Society: A G... has been added to your Cart
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Readable copy. All pages complete and readable but expect worn edges, covers, and creases.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes Paperback – May 27, 1982

1 customer review

See all 11 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
$24.13 $0.24

Best Books of the Year So Far
Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2015's Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
$39.95 FREE Shipping. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes + Burmese Supernaturalism
Price for both: $76.90

Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

It is now customary for anthropologists studying religion to pay at most lip service to formalized religious doctrine. Such works, in a functionalist tradition , tell us a great deal about the social and economic organization of religious action and about the postulated social background of religious ideas.


Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 530 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Edition, Expanded Edition edition (May 27, 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520046722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520046726
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,514,990 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "krchicago" on June 21, 2002
Format: Paperback
Spiro is an anthropologist, interested in the ways in which the intellectual strictures of doctrinal Theravada Buddhism are translated into the everyday practice of an entire society (in this case, that of Burma/Myanmar). Although his field work in Burma was done in 1961 and 1962, I am not aware of anything more recent (undoubtedly due to the military regime), and saw nothing in a three-week visit early in 2002 to make me question the continuing usefulness of this work.
The book begins with an overview of Theravada Buddhist doctrine, which is one of the best and clearest short explanations I have read. Spiro then explores how a system built on a quite pessimistic view of the world (life is suffering, suffering is caused by desire, escape suffering by giving up your desire (for people, things, and so on) and achieve the non-Being of nirvana) can be implemented by people who must live in the world (and who are naturally inclined to believe that suffering is caused not by desire but by the frustration of desire). His study of how the Burmese (both lay people and monks) actually understand and practice their Buddhism is fascinating and ultimately revealing of how *any* society adapts an elite belief system to a mass audience.
Spiro also includes an overview of the Buddhist ritual system in Burma, the functioning and role of the monkhood, and a few comments on the impact of Buddhist practice on Burmese society. Spiro writes very well, with a minimum of jargon and pretension. Although this is a scholary work (and I am not an anthropologist), I found it very easy to read, with a wealth of new and interesting material. Kept me entertained for all of the (long) flight from Los Angeles to Bangkok. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the practice of Theravada Buddhism, or planning a trip to Southeast Asia.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes
This item: Buddhism and Society: A Great Tradition and Its Burmese Vicissitudes
Price: $39.95
Ships from and sold by
Want to discover more products? Check out this page to see more: melford spiro