Milindapañha & the Fifth and Sixth Councils in Myanmar

Speaker: Tony Scott (University of Toronto).


The Milindapañha (Questions of King Milinda) is a seminal but enigmatic text in Theravada Buddhist history, considered part of the Tipiṭaka only in Myanmar. This talk will explore how the Milindapañha was interpreted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in South and Southeast Asia as Theravada Buddhists were trying to reconcile their textual corpus with competing colonial worldviews.

At the same time, this very textual corpus was being transformed from a more open ‘Tipiṭaka’ in the centuries prior to a closed ‘canon.’ Hence the place of the Milindapañha in the Fifth and Sixth Councils in Myanmar will be examined to shed light on what was at stake in this transformation.