Betty NguyenReturn to the Blog

By Justin Nadir on September 4th, 2013

Betty Nguyen’s dissertation, “Buddhist Calamity Cosmologies: Being Virtuous in an Immoral World,” focuses on late 19th to early 20th century cosmological sermons on morality from northern Thailand. The writings envision Buddhists as living in a cosmic historical era marked by wars, famine, pestilence, and oppressive rule. Events occurring in the social and natural worlds are to be interpreted as the effect of human moral or immoral action. Nguyen explores how these writings use the theme of communal historical crisis and a scheme for valuation to promote and convert the care for self into a care for others and the conditions of the world. The relations between a limit-situation, values, and moral labor are examined. Nguyen has recently published an article “Bad Buddhist Kings: An Examination of the Ideal Social Order” in the journal Rian Thai volume 4 (2011). As for upcoming projects, the cosmological literature upon which her dissertation focuses is also found in the Khmer, Mon, and Lao Theravada traditions. She plans to organize a conference and joint-publication based upon this regional literature.
Betty Nguyen PhD candidate Dept. of Languages & Cultures of Asia Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison [email protected]

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