Author affiliation: SOAS University of London, London, England
This article explores how meditation is inculcated throughout the life of Shan Buddhists using poetic phrasing and texts, culminating in several forms of meditation as part of the practice of temple-sleeping undertaken by lay Buddhist seniors from the age of 40 upwards. I look at how the poetic texts, lik loung, that form the basis of temple-sleeping practice, may have shifted in content in the 19th to 20th centuries to focus on meditation topics, in a move parallel to the development of vipassanā in lowland Burma in reaction to the threat colonialism posed to Buddhism. I then document the rise of separate vipassanā meditation centres in Shan regions from the 1930s and their ambiguous status as either representatives of Burmese hegemony or drivers of Shan revival. I note the influence of Shan lik loung on practice at such centres, as well as a more recent development, the uptake of vipassanā within temple-sleeping contexts.