A little-known Thai woman has been identified by Dr Martin Seeger (EAST ASIAN STUDIES) as the most likely author of an important Buddhist treatise, previously attributed to a highly revered monk.
Together with his Thai co-researcher Naris Charaschanyawong, Dr Martin Seeger (School of Languages, Cultures and Societies) has traced the authorship of an important Thai Buddhist treatise to Khunying Yai Damrongthammasan (1886-1944), a wealthy and very devout woman who not only developed an impressive knowledge of Buddhist scriptures but was also an accomplished practitioner of meditation.
Dr Seeger said: “There is compelling evidence that Khunying Yai wrote this book. I believe this makes her the first woman in Thailand, or one of the first two, to write an important Buddhist treatise. The deplorable lack of sources on her life has made this search rather difficult. For nearly 60 years she has been virtually unknown although she produced one of the most profound Buddhist texts.
Despite her extraordinarily interesting biography, her brilliant contributions to Thai Buddhist literature, her donation of historically significant Buddhist edifices and the fact that she was rather close to a number of the most well-known and influential Buddhist monks of her time, there is hardly any surviving historical evidence on Khunying Yai’s biography.”
For more on these findings, click here.
Dr Martin Seeger also talked about his research to Johnathan L’Anson on BBC Radio Leeds Sunday Morning Breakfast show on Sunday 31st March 2013. Listen here.
The BBC has also reported on Dr Seeger's research on their News Asia website: to view the article click here.
The BBC World Service also broadcast a report on Dr Seeger's research on 29 March 2013. Listen here.