History of Southeast Asia

History of Southeast Asia

Episode 77: What Buddhism is All About

November 01, 2019

This is another special episode, prompted because a donor to the podcast asked three questions that I should have answered two or three years ago. May you find the answers enlightening (pun intended). You may want to go back and re-listen to the early episodes that discussed Buddhism's impact on Southeast Asia, especially Episodes 2, 3, 5, 6, and 7, after hearing this.


Here is a documentary I watched forty years ago about the Torajas, a tribe living on the eastern Indonesian island of Sulawesi. Because of the work of Dutch missionaries, most of the Torajas converted to Christianity in the first half of the twentieth century, and because this is Indonesia, the world’s largest Moslem country, a few have converted to Islam, but a core group in the tribe still practice the old-time animism, which involves water buffalo sacrifices and an elaborate cult of the dead. I am posting the link because the Torajas are mentioned in this episode.

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