Maung Htin Aung

Burmese Monk’s Tales

Burmese Monk’s Tales

The tales contained in this collection were first told in the dark decade of Burmese history (1876–85) during the coming event of the British conquest.

The stories combine exotic background with strong details that offer the Western reader both a picture of Burma in the nineteenth century and an understanding of the basic good sense, gaiety, and gentleness of the Burmese people and the Buddhist clergy. The characters that appear in the book illustrate timeless truths about human nature, which today’s reader can apply to existing people and situations.

For the first time since the eleventh century the future of Burmese Buddhism became uncertain, and there was widespread fear, both in Upper Burma still under a Burmese king and in Lower Burma already under British rule, that the final fall of the Burmese kingdom would result in the total extinction of both the national religion and the Burmese way of life. Told with the purpose of allaying this anxiety and fear, these tales give a full and faithful résumé and appraisal of the position of Burmese Buddhism on the eve of the British conquest of 1886.

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About Maung Htin Aung

Maung Htin Aung (18 May 1909 – 10 May 1978) was a writer and scholar of Burmese culture and history. Educated at Oxford and Cambridge, Htin Aung wrote several books on Burmese history and culture in both Burmese and English.

His English-language works brought a much-needed Burmese perspective to the international study of Burmese history, previously written by British historians of the colonial era. His important works include A History of Burma, Folk Elements in Burmese Buddhism, Selections from Burmese Folk Tales, Thirty Burmese Tales and Burmese Drama.

Htin Aung, as the rector of the University of Rangoon from 1946 to 1958, was the highest ranking academic in the Burmese education system, at the time. He was one of the founding fathers of the Association of Southeast Asian Institutions of Higher Learning.

You yourselves must strive, the Buddhas only point the way

Buddha, Dhp 276