As part of the upcoming ANU New Year Water Festival, this lecture on Thai Buddhism sheds light on the significant discussion around the theme of monastic behavior in contemporary Thailand. 

In contemporary Thailand, a significant topic of discussion is monastic behavior. Details matter for Thai Buddhist laity, who evaluate monks based on their appearance and physical comportment within the monastic robes. Transgressions of appropriate monastic behavior are omnipresent in Thai media. Major monastic scandals involving sex, drugs and money, as well as minor, everyday scandals of misbehaving monks appear regularly in Thai media outlets. At the same time, statues, wax figures, and photographs of well-respected monks are ubiquitous in temples, social media, and everyday life. Utilising analysis of Thai media from the last 10 years, and her recent research from August-December 2023 with over 10 focus groups of temple community members, the speaker Brooke Schedneck argues that monastic images provide a snapshot of the current state of Thai Buddhism, and demonstrate the ways faith and devotion are affected by monastic performance via mediated images.

Brooke Schedneck is Associate Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Rhodes College, USA. She has spent years teaching and conducting research in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Her work has been featured in academic journals and publications such as AeonThe Conversation, and Tricycle. In 2020, Dr Schedneck published a co-edited volume titled Buddhist Tourism in Asia and her second monograph, Religious Tourism in Northern Thailand, was short-listed for the EuroSEAS Humanities Book Prize 2022. Her introduction to contemporary Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Living Theravada, was published with Shambhala Publications in 2023.

This event kicks off the ANU New Year Water Festival, which will also feature a Book Party to celebrate the launch of Associate Professor Jane M Ferguson's latest book, Silver Screens and Golden Dreams.


Note: If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation Plan please contact the event organiser(s).