Is Myanmar's 'Buddhist Nationalist' movement a force of reform?

Dr Matthew Walton argues that the 'Buddhist Nationalist' movement, formerly known as the Ma Ba Tha, can be seen as a vehicle for challenging Myanmar's formal religious hierachy.

The buddhist nationalist movement is often portrayed as xenophobic, anti-muslim and as the tool of previous military governments.  Speaking at the Southeast Asia Seminar, Dr Walton, Ma Khin Mar Mar Kyi and Aye Thein argued that the movement has an increasingly difficult relationship with Myanmar's formal political and religious authorities.  Through its  persistent and widespread popularity it is developing as an alternative centre of spiritual influence.

Listen to the seminar  'Is Myanmar's 'Buddhist nationalist' movement (also) a religious reform movement?'

In a separate blog, Dr Walton explores the persistence of the Ma Ba Tha.  

Read "Rowdy monks" or a crisi of monastic authority?  Tea Circle, Oxford.

Dr Walton sets out the key ideas and understandings that Buddhists use to make sense of the poliitcal world in his book, Buddhism, Politics and Political Thought in Myanmar?

Read more about it in Buddhism and Politics in Myanmar: An Author Interview on the Religious Dispatches website.


Dr Matthew Walton is Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies, St. Antonys College