World Conqueror and World Renouncer is the first comprehensive and authoritative work on the relationship between Buddhism and the polity (political organization) in Thailand. The book conveys the historical background necessary for full comprehension of the contemporary structural relationship between Buddhism, the sangha (monastic order), and the polity, including the historic institution of kingship. Professor Tambiah delineates the overall relationship, as postulated in early Buddhism, between the monk's otherworldly quest on one side and the this-worldly ordinating role of the monarchy on the other. He also examines the complementary and dialectical tensions that occur in this classical relationship, the king's duty to both protect and purify the sangha being a notable example. ——
Cambridge University Press. 2007. 568 pages. Paperback.