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History, Buddhism, and New Religious Movements in Cambodia Hardcover – July, 2004
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About the Author
Contributors: Didier Bertrand, Penny Edwards, Elizabeth Guthrie, Hang Chan Sophea, Anne Hansen, John Marston, Kathryn Poethig, Ashley Thompson, Teri Shaffer Yamada.
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Top Customer Reviews
Major disappointment: the book did not teach much about real Buddhist belief, and, what it did say was obviously arrived at through the "armchair theologian" approach to studying a foreign culture. After having lived here 15 years, it appears that much of what these authors are saying is merely speculation, and politically driven academia, rather than a truly informed reflection of what Cambodian Buddhists really believe and think about in their daily lives. I write this a one seeking a better understanding of what Cambodian Folk Buddhists really believe today, not what some few might have believed in the very distant past, or even some eccentrics today.
Generally, I found this book to be of little value in understanding "New Religious Movements in Cambodia." The authors demonstrate a noted lack of philosophical self-awareness and thus interpret Cambodian religion through a post-Enlightenment humanistic grid. If you want to know how a Cambodian views his religion, this book is not for you.
Several of the chapters are written poorly to the point that the thesis is almost unintelligible. Fortunately, the introduction to each section states in clear terms what the thesis of each chapter is. Highly scholastic work does not need to be difficult to read. This book often is.
Chapters 3, 5 and 7 are worthwhile, so it will remain on my shelf.