In pursuit of the sorcerer's power : Sacred diagrams as technologies of potency

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-231
Journal / PublicationContemporary Buddhism
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


Drawing upon research for a dissertation on lived religion in Myanmar as it pertains to various religious cults and followers whose devotions are directed towards Buddhist sorcerer saints (weizzā), this article examines the technologies at work in potency practices involving the production and use of in (cabbalistic squares) and sama (diagrams and drawings using specific Burmese syllables). In particular, the paper will examine how such devices are used by the devout traversing the weizzā path and explain how in and sama are employed to transform one’s self into a full-fledged weizzā. The paper will conclude with a discussion on how such an examination can help us reshape our understanding of Burmese Buddhism in contemporary Myanmar.