Khruba Bunchum: The Shift in a Millenarian Movement at the Thailand-Myanmar Border
“Buddhist Holy Man Khruba Bunchum: The Shift in a Millenarian Movement at the Thailand-Myanmar Border” Sojourn. 31(2): pp. 377-412
The study of holy men active in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar between the seventeenth and the twentieth centuries has associated them primarily with millenarian movements. In the twenty-first century, Thailand–Myanmar border has seen the emergence of a holy man to whom the concept of millenarianism is, in the current changing religious environment, not applicable. Khruba Bunchum, a contemporary Thai with a significant ethnic minority following in Myanmar, rose to fame in Thailand after being forced to leave Myanmar and spending three years meditating in an isolated cave. He has gained followers among wealthy and middle-class Thais. His case illustrates the effect of mobile media technology in transforming the practice of venerating holy men. It suggests the need for a new approach to studying religious movements, one that draws on religious, political and media sources.