Zoom talk on the Bicāraṇā Ālambanasaṅgaha

On 24th May at 21:15 (Bangkok time) Trent Walker will be giving a Zoom talk:

Nandapañño’s Bicāraṇā Ālambanasaṅgaha (1638 CE)

The registration link is in German but the talk will be in English.


The late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries have long been described as a golden age of Lanna or Northern Thai intellectual culture. Most of the key works by Lanna authors in Pali, including the impressive oeuvres of Sirimaṅgala and Ñāṇakitti, were composed prior to the establishment of Burmese suzerainty in 1558. By contrast, we know almost nothing about the intellectual culture of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

This lecture seeks to change that by revealing how new exegetical techniques were developed by Lanna monks and lay scholars during the first century of Burmese rule. Rather than writing exclusively in Pali, the leading exegetes of this period pioneered a distinctive bitextual Pali-Lanna style that drew on their deep erudition in and fidelity to Indic commentarial norms.

My focus is on an autographed composition by the former monk Nandapañño of Chiang Saen in 1638, namely his Bicāraṇā Ālambanasaṅgaha. This elegantly carved one-fascicle manuscript offers a learned excursus on a short section from the Abhidhammatthasaṅgaha and its ṭīkā, the Abhidhammatthavibhāvinī. By situating Nandapañño’s work within the context of other Pali-Lanna and Pali-Lao Abhidhamma commentaries inscribed between 1553 and 1638, I show how his use of bitextual analysis, ingenious mnemonics, and extensive quotations from scholastic and grammatical treatises reflects how Buddhist exegesis became a bilingual affair in the century that followed Lanna’s golden age.

1 Like

A link to a video of the talk should be available at the Numata Center for Buddhist Studies in about a week. In the meantime the talk may be viewed on Trent Walker’s Facebook page.