Departmental Bulletin Paper Something in the Air: A Study of Religio-Cultural Narratives of Optical Orbs in Thailand

Nakai, Senjo

7pp.21 - 41 , 2015-03-31 , 名古屋大学大学院国際言語文化研究科
This study examines print media narratives on orb photographs in order to understand how this optical phenomenon represents celestial beings descending to celebrate human affairs in the mind of Thai Theravada Buddhists. The findings indicate that the seemingly least religious phenomenon is incorporated into the religio-cultural landscape of Thai society with the aid of modern digital technology. Drawing on time-honoured references to the Buddhist cosmology, such as the Great Assembly, the karmic law and a variety of deities, Thai Theravada Buddhists have come to see orbs as a religious symbol. Such a narrative of orbs, which is disseminated by the mass media, envisions the metaphysical world of the Buddhist cosmology despite public concerns about the diminishing influence of the religion in Thai society.

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