are not a lesser kind of Buddhist literature; they are signposts of the adaptation and the localization of Buddhist teaching, thought, and prac-tice. They may not be authentic in the sense that they truly go back to the origins they claim to have, but they are signiﬁcant and relevant for the audience they address. Taking the example of a rare anonymous Arakanese
I would like to show how an apocryphal text has authority because it is socially and politi-cally meaningful. Bearing in mind that “writing history is not a simple matter of generating non-literary facticity,” this essay is an exercise in “listening for history” in texts hitherto neglected as sources of historical writing (N R, S-, and S ). As such, this article attempts to make a contri-bution to a segment of the religious and political history of Burma (Myanmar).
Arakan (now commonly spelled Rakhine or Rakhaing) is today a state in the Union of Myanmar. Until its conquest by the Burmese in , it was for several centuries an independent Buddhist kingdom; its language is a dialect of Burmese. The presence of Buddhism can be traced back to at least the ﬁfth century , but little is known in detail about Arakan’s religious and political history before the ﬁfteenth century .
Arakanese historical texts share a common stock of essential myths, pieces of factual information, narrative episodes, and astrological calculations. Over decades and even centuries, they have been formulated and shaped, and refor-mulated and reshaped, in various textual expressions for various needs. No texts were immutable, no texts were immune to insertions and accretions, no texts have been left unscathed by copyists. The text presented here is of such a com-posite nature. I assume that it is a mid- to late-eighteenth-century composition built on earlier narratives, but it probably underwent some changes in the nine-teenth century (most likely during the British colonial period that started in Arakan in ).
is a Burmese term that could be generally translated as “pagoda history,” that is, the history of the foundation of a pagoda, donations received, refounding, extensions, embellishments, and occasional miracles.
presented here is of a somewhat diﬀerent type. It is more con-cerned with relics and predictions on the kings than with pagodas. From a formal
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