Charismatic Monks of Lanna Buddhism
Porath, Nathan, Sitthikriengkrai, Malee (Reviewer) (2017), “Charismatic Monks of Lanna Buddhism”, in Paul Cohen, Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Volume 90, Part 2, No. 313, December 2017, Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, pp. 140-143 (Book review)
The book's focus on charisma is important, but it does not go far enough. It takes Weber's idea that charisma comes from the individual and combines this with the Buddhist cosmological notion of barami. But what is needed is a more in-depth and integrated sociological analysis of what constitutes the charismatic phenomena of these monks. Although Charismatic Monks does supply a great deal of evidence that could be used for such an analysis, the book's angle when discussing the devotees' side of the relationship focuses mainly on upland peoples. Although this is interesting in itself there is very little focus on other followers. For example, although some mention is made of Thai elites, we are not told very much about their actual relationship with the monks or about their importance to the movements. We are also told very little about these monks' relationship to kon muang (northern Thai people).