Thaen has wronged the ancient customary rite.
heavenly angel, how can he forget the ancient cutomary rite?
has he neglected to follow the ancient prescription?
done my rightful duties as a ruler of a city.
dare he twist and distort the facts, and harass us all here!
dare he stop the rainfall, which is awfully unseemly!"1
(Phya Khankhaak, the Toad King's speech on Phya Thaen's
violation of his duties.)
Lao folk law has been
known to Lao people since the remote time set in ancient Lao folk literature. The
above quote reveals that there are rules that both humans like Phya Khankhaak, the Toad
King and celestial beings like the rain god, Phya Thaen, must follow. The above
incident refers to the conflict between the Toad King and the rain god. The Toad
King followed his duties of providing for the people so much that they neglected to pay
homage to Thaen the rain god. Thaen became humiliated and refused to send rain to
earth which was one of his "prescribed" duties. He also sent
"hellish fire" to the earth causing all creatures to face dire
destruction. Thus, the Toad King produced the angry speech above.
The above law that the Toad King
mentioned describes duties of the king and the rain god. It was not recorded in
writing, but it had been practiced for a long time and it had become a "customary
rite," which is called ຮີດ (heet means old law,
rules, a ruling system ) or ຄອງ (khong means customs, laws,
rules) Much of the Lao ancient folk law is included in the rites.
Later, some of the ancient law has been recorded on palm leaf manuscripts. It is
interesting to note that some of the law has been taken from various literary and
religious sources. These sources of Lao law include some of the Lao folk tales,
Buddhist precepts, some Jataka tales, some Panchatantra tales, and so
on. It is also interesting that once the law had been recorded, stories have been
used to illustrate and elaborate the law to make it clearer. Jaruwan Thammawat has
done a good job in describing and analysing some of these points in chapter 3 entitled
"Isan-Lan Chang Law Literature" of her book on Folk Literature, a Case Study
of Isan-Lan Chang Literature.2
This chapter will present only the ritual law for commoners and for kings. The
ritual law to be presented is called ຄອງສຶບສີ່ (Khong Sip Si or the Fourteen
Laws) which comes in two sets: one for rules and kings; and one for commoners. For
commoners, there is another set of laws to follow called ຮີດສຶບສອງ (Heet Sip Song
or the Twelve Monthly Ritual). As for Lao written folk law, please refer to the list
of books in the notes.3
Back to top
The Fourteen Laws for Kings and Rulers4
The fourteen laws for kings and
rulers are the following:
First, a king must appoint honest,
industrious, attentive, and charismatic personages to be his
assistants and ministers.
Second, a king must call regular meetings with his assistants and ministers to administer
city so that it will flourish.
Third, a king must follow the Ten Royal Virtues: dana--charity, liberality,
moral character; pariccaga--self-sacrifice; ajjava--honesty, integrity; maddava--kindness
gentleness; tapa--austerity, self-control, non-indulgence; akkodha--non-anger,
avihimsa--non-violence, non-oppression; khanti--patience, forbearance,
andavirodhana--non-opposition, non-deviation from righteousness, conformity to
Fourth, on the New Year's Day (the fifth lunar month), invite monks to chant and bless the
people by sprinkling lustral water on them. The people, in turn, pour perfumed water on
the monks as a sign of thanks.
Fifth, on the New Year's Day, the king's assistants and ministers must present tributes to
king and humbly pour lustral water on the king.
Sixth, in the sixth lunar month, hold a royal oath ceremony which begins with the Buddhist
monks' chanting and pouring lustral water on all in the ceremony. Then the king's
ministers drink the lustral water and swear an oath to be loyal to their Lord of Life or
Seventh, in the seventh lunar month, hold a ceremonial feast for the patron spirit of the
city and a ceremony to worship the Devata of the Four Great Kings.
Eighth, in the eighth lunar month, invite Buddhist monks to chant and give a sermon before
adding supporting shims to the city post (Siva linga).
Ninth, in the ninth lunar month, make a proclamation for the citizens to make merit for
dead called Bun Khao Pradab Din (ບຸນເຂົ້າປະດັບດຶນ--ceremony of placing food on the ground).
Tenth, in the tenth lunar month, make a proclamation for the citizens to make merit for
deceased relatives called Bun Khao Saak (ບຸນເຂົ້າສາກ--the ceremony of offering food to monks by drawing donors' names).
Eleventh, in the eleventh lunar month, make a proclamation for the people to make merit at
the end of Buddhist Lent and make pilgrimages to royal temples.
Twelfth, at the end of the eleventh lunar month, make a proclamation for people to make
merit called Bun Kathin (ບຸນກະຖຶນ--making
merit by donating new monk's robes and other monastic necessities) in temples throughout
Thirteenth, in the twelfth lunar month, hold a gathering of all ministers, courtiers, and
the royal ground from which the king would be carried in a procession to the river and
water be humbly sprinkled on him for blessing purposes. Then, boat racing begins on the
thirteenth day of the waxing moon.
Fourteenth, the city ruler must provide for the fourteen auspicious qualities:
have the ear of the city which means to have wise diplomats.
have the eye of the city which means to have poets and wise men.
have the core of the city which means to have monks or holy men who are
knowledgable in the Dhammic Disciplines.
have the gate of the city which means to have sufficient weapons for the city's
have the foundation of the city which means to have able royal astrologers who can
foresee future events.
have the root of the city which means to have brave and just royal relatives and
have the crossbeam of the city which means to have courageous and strong
have the wall of the city which means to have honest and faithful village chiefs.
have the beam of the city which means to have able and moral ministers and
have the boundary of the city which means to have able ministers to take
surveillance of the city boundaries.
to have the sense of the city which means to have wealthy merchants and
have the heart of the city which means to have able physicians and royal
to have the resources of the city which means to have rich natural resources such
as gold and silver mines, trees, and quality citizens.
to have the clouds of the city which means to have the patron spirit of the city, the
city post, and guardian deities.
Back to top
The Fourteen Laws for Commoners6
The Fourteen Laws for commoners
includes the following:
First, after harvesting new rice or new fruits, offer them to holy personages first before
consuming them and distributing them among relatives.
Second, do not cheat the balance of the scale, do not lend money for interest, and do not
utter vulgar or indecent language.
Third, after erecting the house posts and walls, build a spirit house to worship guardian
in all four directions.
Fourth, wash one's feet before ascending to the house.
Fifth, on holy days (the seventh or eighth and the fourteenth or fifteenth days of the
month) hold ceremonies to apologize to house bricks, kitchen, ladders, and doors of the
Sixth, wash one's feet before going to bed.
Seventh, on holy days, wives should take candles, incense sticks, and flowers to beg
apologies from their husbands and to present worshipping units to the monks.
Eighth, on the fifteenth day of the waxing and waning moon, invite monks to chant in the
house and offer food to them.
Ninth, when monks come to take alms, do not let them wait. Do not touch the monks' bowls,
do not touch the monks or novices, do not carry children, and do not carry any weapon when
offering food to the monks.
Tenth, when monks take an annual penance, prepare trays of popped rice, flowers, candles,
incense sticks, and other necessities for them.
Eleventh, when a monk is passing, sit down and wai before and while speaking to him.
Twelfth, do not step on the shadow of a monk or holy personage.
Thirteenth, do not offer left-over food to monks or husbands.
Fourteenth, do not have sexual intercourse on holy days, the first day and the last day of
Buddhist Lent, Songkran Day (Thai New Year's day which falls on April 13), and on one's
Back to top
The Twelve Month Ritual7
The Twelve Month Ritual refers to the
custom of making merit for each of the twelve lunar months. According to ancient Lao
customs, the first merit making begins with the Thai/Lao
New Year which is in the fifth lunar month.
In the fifth lunar month, Songkran Ceremony (ກຸດສງການ--kudsongkaan or Lao New Year's Festival) should be held. In
this ceremony, people splash water on each other, have a Songkran parade, clean, wash, and
pay homage to the Buddha images, pour lustral water on Buddhist monks, respected persons,
and bring sand to build sand stupas on the temple grounds.
Click to see video of Lao New
Year's Festival in Luang Phra Bang
Back to top
There is a story told in Laos to
explain why Lao people pour water on each other on the New Year in the fifth lunar
month. The story is called Nang Sangkaan.8
Once a rich man had a son, Thao Thammapaala,
who was a most intelligent and wise man. Once he had learned all kinds of knowledge,
he established his own school. He taught his pupils and other people until he
became well-known all over the land.
At that time, Thao Mahaphom,9 also called Kabinlaphom, descended to ask Thao Thammapaala a
riddle with the condition that if Thammapaala could solve the riddle, Kabinlaphom would
behead himself in acceptance of Thammapaala's wisdom. But if Thammapaala could not
solve the riddle, his head would be cut off.
The riddle was:
|"Where does the human
grace dwell in the morning, noon, and evening?"
|mue sao sili yuu bon
dai mue suai sili yuu bon dai
mue kham sili yuu bon dai
Thammapaala could not solve the
riddle right away. So, he asked for an extension of seven days to ponder the
riddle. His request was granted. But after three days, he still could not
solve the riddle. He became so ashamed of himself that he fled from his own home and
wandered aimlessly in the forest for many days. He became so exhausted that he had
to take a rest under a palm tree on the top of which was a nest of two eagles, a husband
and a wife. Thammapaala overheard the conversation between the two birds.
The female eagle asked, "What are we going to
have for lunch tomorrow?"
The male eagle replied, "We are going to have
Thammapaala's corpse for lunch. He will be killed because he cannot solve
The female eagle asked again, "What is the
The male eagle replied, "Where does the human
grace dwell in the morning, noon, and evening? (ມື້ອເຊ້າສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ
ມື້ອສວາຍສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ ມື້ອຄ່ຳສີລີຢູ່ບ່ອນໃດ). The answer is quite
simple. In the morning, human grace dwells in the face. Thus, to be
propitious, we must wash our face after we wake up. At noon, human grace dwells in
the chest. Thus, to be propitious, we must rub our chest with water at
noon. In the evening, human grace dwells in the feet. Thus, to be propitious,
we must wash our feet before we go to bed." After hearing the conversation,
Thao Thammapaala hurriedly got up and rushed home.
In the morning, Kabinlaphom came to see
Thammapaala. Once Thammapaala could solve the riddle, Kabinlaphom kept his
promise. But before he behead himself, he called his seven daughters to see
him. He then gave them instructions:
"I will cut off my head to pay homage to
Thammapaala for his profound wisdom. But if my head falls on the earth, it will
cause hellish fire. If it is thrown in the air, there will be no rain. If it
is thrown in the sea, the sea will go dry. So, you must bring a tray to receive my
head and then place the tray in a small hall called mondob (ມົນດົບ or
Lao people call it ຫໍຜີ hophii--the ghost's hall). This hall is in a cave
called Khanthumaalii in Kailash mountain." So, all was done according to
his instructions. When the aniversary of his death arrived, each year one of his
seven daughters would go to recover her father's head and wash and clean it. Then,
they would go in a procession around Mount Sumeru. When that was done they would
bring the tray to keep in the same place.
Back to top
Maha Sila Viravongs further explains that the
above celabration is not Buddhist, but Brahmanism. Later, Lao people changed the
tradition, but kept the idea of carrying the Buddha image and respected persons in the
procession and pouring water on them.
In the New Year's festival, Lao people also build
miniature mountains made of sand. This is to remember the above story. The
sand mountains represent Mount Sumeru in the story. Later, it has become a tradition
of Lao people to bring sand to build the miniature mountains on the temple ground and
leave them there. Later, the temple could make use of the sand for construction or
to cover up weeds.
In the sixth lunar month, the following ceremonies
and rites should be practiced: celebration of Wisakhabucha Day (ວັນວຶສາຂະບູຊາ--the
anniversary of the Buddha's birth, enlightenment, and nirvana ), ceremony of
pouring lustral water over revered and learned monks, the ploughing ceremony to mark the
beginning of the rice planting season, and the construction of new houses or newlywed
housing.Bun Bangfai (ບຸນບັ້ງໄຟ--the rocket festival or fertility rite). It is believed that the shooting of the local bamboo rockets in the sky is
a signal for the rain god, Phya Thaen, to send rain to earth. In this festival, the
story of Phadaeng Nang Ai is related.
Click here to see the
video of the Rocket Festival in Laos. Legend, Parade and Dance
Back to top
In the seventh lunar month, the following ceremonies and rites should be observed: the
ceremonial feast for the city spirit and siva linga of the town or city called
Mahesak Lakmuang (ລຽ້ງມະເຫສິກຫລັກເມືອງ). In the Twelve Monthly Ritual, it is prescribed
that a feast for celestial beings inside and outside of the city (Vientiane) walls must be
organized. In the Fourteen Rules for Kings, it is prescribed that "the King or
ruler of a city must hold a feast for celestial beings, the siva linga, the ears
of the city, the eyes of the city, the clothes of the city, the body of the city. He
must humbly invite all celestial beings mentioned to clean the city and to be on guard for
the city to be safe from all dangers and diseases." There was a legend to
explain why the above ceremony must be held.
Back to top
In the eighth lunar month, Preecha Phinthong cites two Buddhist holy days which should be
observed--Asanhabucha Day (ອາສານຫະບູຊາ, the full moon day
of the eight lunar month which marks the anniversary of the day on which the Buddha
delivered the First Sermon to his first 1250 disciples at Deer Park in Benares) and
Buddhist Lent (the day after Asanhabucha Day). Activities relating to these holy
days include preparation of candles to offer to monasteries, offering monks' robes,
incense sticks, candles, and oil to the monks to use in their meditation and study of
Buddhist Scriptures during Lent, and listening to sermons. Maha Sila Viravong
mentions only the Buddhist Lent in his Heet Sipsong (The Twelve Monthly Ritual).
He also gives a story which was the origin of Buddhist Lent.
During the rainy season, most traders would stop
travelling because the paths were mostly muddy. Yet, the Buddha's disciples did not
stop their travelling. The people began to complain about how those disciples
trampled on their rice fields, spoiling the rice crops. When the Buddha heard those
complaints, he set up the rule that Buddhist monks must stay in their temple for three
months beginning from the first waning moon of the eighth lunar month until the first
waning moon of the eleventh lunar month. During this time, the monks must not stay
overnight anywhere else except for their own designated temple unless there were specific
urgent matters specified in the Scripture.
Back to top
In the ninth lunar month on the fourteenth night of the waning moon, Bun
Khao Pradab Din (ບຸນເຂົ້າປະດັບດຶນ--the rite of placing foods on the ground) should be observed.
People are required to prepare four sets of rice and food (main staples and desserts) in
small banana leaf packets. The first set is for monks, the second for members of the
family, the third for relatives, and the last for the dead. This last set will be
placed on the branches of trees or temple walls before sunrise. After that, the donors
will pour water on the ground to dedicate the merit to the dead. Listening to a sermon all
day is another activity that can be observed. Maha Sila Viravongs again gives a
story to tell the origin of this ritual.
Once in the Buddha's lifetime, relatives of King
Phimphisaan of Rajakue were preparing meals to offer to the Buddha and his
disciples. While they were cooking, the children came and asked to have some.
The cooks wanted the children to go away, so they gave some food to the children. After
the children died, they were reborn in hell to repay for eating the food intended for
monks. After that they were born as wandering ghosts. One day King
Phimphisaan presented food to the Buddha and his disciples. But, he did not dedicate
the merit to his deceased relatives. So, the wandering ghosts who had been King
Phimphisaan's relatives could not have any food. That night as the king was falling
asleep, he heard a moan and cry and knocking sounds on the walls all night. He could
not sleep. In the morning he went to recount the events that happened to him at
night. The Buddha explained that the sounds came from the wandering ghosts who were
the king's relatives. They came to beg for food and merit. The Buddha advised
the king to make merit and dedicate it to them. So the king did and all his relative
wandering ghosts were reborn in heaven. There were still many wandering ghosts
around and they would be released from hell on the fourteenth night of the waning moon in
the ninth lunar month. Thus, people observe this ritual of placing food on the
ground for these wandering ghosts and spirits to take just one night a year.
Back to top
In the tenth lunar month, Sartkaan ( ສາຣະທະ--mid-year ceremony)
includes the following
activities: Bun khao saak (ບຸນເຂົ້າສາກ--the drawing of donors' names by monks)--in this ceremony a monk
draws a donor's name and the particular donor will offer food to the monk; offering monks'
under-robes; listening to a sermon from the Buddhist Scripture all day; and placing small
banana leaf packets of rice on the ricefields. Maha Sila Viravongs explains that
this ritual is much the same as the bun khao padab din previously mentioned with
a minor difference.
This ritual is also called bun ho khao yai (ບຸນຫໍເຂົ້າໃຫຍ່) because in the packages to be placed on the ground, a special
kind of rice called khao mathupaayaat or khao saat
(ເຂົ້າມະທຸປາຍາດ ຫລື ເຂົ້າສາຣທ) is included. The ritual previously mentioned is
called bun ho khao noi (ບຸນຫໍເຂົ້ານ້ອຍ) because khao mathupaayaat
or khao saat (ເຂົ້າມະທຸປາຍາດ ຫລື ເຂົ້າສາຣທ) is not included.
Back to top
In the eleventh lunar month, the end of the Buddhist Lent (ອອກວັດສາ ຫລື ອອກພິນສາ ຫລື ປະວາລະນາ) includes many important ceremonies: the torch lighting
(lantern) ceremony; floating of the lit boats; boat racing to celebrate the Naga Kings'
well-being; offering wax castles; offering monks' blankets, and beginning the Kathin ceremony.
Maha Sila Viravongs states that this ritual does
not concern lay people. Later, Lao people adopted some Brahman rituals and included
them into this ritual. In Brahmanism, the people would make floats and lanterns to
worship Brahma, Vissanu, and Siva from the full moon night of the twelfth lunar month
until the first waxing moon of the first lunar month. After that they would float
all the floats and lanterns in the river for cleansing off their sins and
misfortunes. Later, Lao people adopted all activities, changing the original purpose
of the ritual to the worshipping of the Buddha and to thank the river goddess for
providing water for human consumption. In Thailand, people include one more activity
in this ritual; Devo Rohana offering food to
monks, and listening to the Devo Rohana sermon.10
Back to top
In the twelfth lunar month, Bun Kathin (ບຸນກະຖຶນ--offering
of new monks' robes and other
necessities) includes the following activities: offering new monks' robes, making wax
castles, offering monks' robes in a symbolic forest; offering winter blankets to monks;
and preparing popped new rice for monks. Besides bun
kathin, Lao people also hold the worship of the Buddha's relics during this
time. It was believed that after the Buddha's nirvana, his disciples took
pilgrimage to various places in Asian to distribute the Buddha's relics in various
temples. Each temple would build a stupa to contain the relics. In the twelfth
Lunar month, people would hold a celebration to pay respects to the Buddha.
In the twelfth lunar month, people in Thailand
include one more activity called the float festival or Loy
Kathong Festival (ລອຍກະທງ--the floating of banana leaf floats with lit candles inside them
in the river) in the twelfth lunar month.
Back to top
In the first lunar month, Bun
Khao Kam (ບຸນເຂົ້າກຳ--monks' penance ceremony) in which monks take the vow of
penance for any unconscious or conscious sins or violation of monk's precepts. This
ceremony takes seven days and lay people tend to the monks' well-being by providing food
and other necessary services. After the monks have been declared innocent of their sins or
violations, a day-long sermon for lay people is held. Before Laos adopted
Buddhism in King Faa-ngum's reign, there was an ancient ritual of liang phii faa phii thaeng (ລຽ້ງຜີຟ້າ ຜີແຖນ-- giving a feast to the sky god and the rain god, Phya
Thaen). During the reign of King Phothisaalaaj who was a devout Buddhist, this
ritual was abolished because the king thought it was against Buddhist belief.
Back to top
In the second lunar month, haa fuen maa wai (ຫາຟືນມາໄວ້--collecting
fire wood) in preparation for the next ritual of offering roasted glutinous rice.
Actually, Maha Sila Viravongs states that the first and second lunar months had not that
many secular activities. Later, some actitivities were added.
In northeast Thailand, one activity is observed: Bun Khoonlaan (ບຸນຄູນລານ--the ceremony of
piling rice on the threshing ground) includes the following activities: at the end of the
month rice ears in bunches are placed on the threshing ground and the people begin
threshing rice bunch by bunch; monks chant and sprinkle lustral water over the rice on the
threshing ground for blessing; monks give sermons on the Scripture about the Rice Goddess,
Mae Phosop; and the people deliver the blessed rice to their rice granary.11
Back to top
In the third lunar month, Bun
Khaochi (ບຸນເຂົ້າຈີ່--the offering of roasted glutinous rice to monks). This
ceremony had an origin in a story. Maha Sila Viravongs told the story of a rich
man's servant who tried to prepare some food to eat while she went to fetch some drinking
water. She spent the entire night pounding rice chaff from the grains. Then,
she tried to roll the cooked sticky rice into lumps to make it convenient for
carrying. While she was rolling the rice, it was sticky. So, she spread the
rice bran around the sticky rice. Then, she roast the sticky rice wrapped in rice
bran. The next day, she wrapped the roasted sticky rice in the waist band of her
skirt and went out fetching water. On her way, she met with the Buddha and felt
moved to offer something to the Buddha, but she did not have anything except the lowly
roasted sticky rice. She offered a lump of roasted rice, but she was feeling ashamed
of herself. The Buddha understood her thought. So, he stopped and ate the
roasted rice. The servant girl was overwhelmed with joy. Thus, Buddhists offer
roasted sticky rice to the monks in the third lunar month as a Lao saying goes:
|duan saam khoi
chao hou khoi kin pan
|pan khao chii
bo sai nam taan
bo chaan nam oiy
chou noi bo un chai
|As the third lunar month
approaches, the abbot awaits the taste of roasted sticky rice;
|Roasted sticky rice without
white or brown sugar is not the little novice's favorite food.
In northeast Thailand, this ritual
also includes the following activities: adding fertilizer in the rice fields in the
morning; ceremony of calling rice spirit to reside in the granary; ceremony of chanting
the praise of the rice spirit; preparation of roasted glutinous rice during the day and
offering it to the monks. Maha Sila Viravongs explains that one of the rituals
practiced in northeast Thailand was not included in Laos until the past thirty
years. This ritual is the making merit on Makhabucha Day (ບຸນມາຄະບູຊາ--the
anniversary of the day the Buddha gave a sermon called the exhortatory Patimokkha, the
Fundamental Teaching of Buddhism, to 1,250 monks who had been ordained by the Buddha and
who came to gather at Veruvan Monastery by chance on the day of the full moon in the third
lunar month; offering unmilled rice grains from the fields to the temple nine times;
spinning cotton, and doing the preparation of Bun Pha Wet (ບຸນພະເຫວດ
--the Sermon of the Great Life of the Buddha).
Back to top
In the fourth lunar month, Bun Pha Wet or Bun Mahachaat
(ບຸນພະເຫວດ ຫລື ບຸນມະຫາຊາດ--the ceremony of the penultimate life of the Buddha as Pha
Wetsandon (Vessantara Prince or the Festival of the Great Birth) includes the following
activities: a procession of Phaa Phawet (the Vessantara Prince Story Cloth)
through town to the temple; procession of one thousand balls of glutinous rice to the
temple; listening to the non-stop sermon on the Great Birth at the temple (this sermon
consists of fourteen sets of palm leaf manuscripts which have a total of one thousand
verses); making merit to dedicate it to deceased relatives.
Click to see the Vessantara Prince
Preecha Phinthong makes a note that in the old
times in northeast Thailand, this festival marked the end of the year and that there would
be no more important festival or ritual that year. Thus, men usually took buffaloes
for sale in distant lands in "caravan" right after Bun Pha Wet was
Back to top
Notes to Chapter 7: Lao Folk Law
1. Phya Khankhaak, The Toad King: A Translation of
an Isan Fertility Myth into English Verse, original trancription by Phra Airyanuwat
Khemajari, translated by Wajuppa Tossa, Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 1996, p.
2. Jaruwan Thammawat, "Isan-Lan Chang Law
Literature" in Wannakam thongthin: korani isan lan chang (Folk Literature: a Case
Study of Isan and Lan Chang (Laos), Mahasarakham: Mahasarakham University, nd.
3. Here is a list of books on Lao folk law:
The Literature Department, Ministry of Education, "Ban kodmai thammasaat khun
bulom," in Phuen Khun Boromrajathirat sabab buhan tae (The Myth of Lord
Boromrajathirat, the truly ancient version), Vientiane: The Literature Department,
Ministry of Education, 1967, pp. 66-147.
________. Khamphii pha thammasaat buuhaan (The Sacred Ancient Law),
Vientiane: The Literature Department, Ministry of Education, 1954.
Samlid Buasisawat, Nangsue munlatantai (The Facts about Tantra Books),
Vientiane: The Government Printing Press, 1992.
________. Khamphii pha thammasaat kodmai buuhaan lao (The Sacred Ancient
Lao Law), Vientiane: The Ministry of Education Printing Press, 1993.
4. Unless otherwise noted, this section of the Fourteen
Rules for Kings is taken from Preeha Phinthong, ປຣະເພຮີ,ບຣາຮອີສານ (Thai/Isan Ancient
Customs), Uboniajathani: Siritham, 1982, pp. 164-8 and Phra Ariyanuwat
Khemajari, "ກາຣບຣຣຍາຍປຣະເພຮີອີສານທາງວິທຍຸ (A Series of
Lectures on Isan Customs on the Radio" in ພຣະອຣຶຍານຸວັດ ນັກປາດອີສານ (Phra Ariyanuwat, the Isan Bard), Bangkok: Trirongkanphim,
1981, pp. 63-4].
5. Phrarajaworamuni, Dictionary of Buddhism,
6. Pho Phuangsaba, ປະເພນີລາວບູຮານ (papheniilaobuhaan--Ancient Lao Customs), Vientiane: The
Lao Government Printing Press, 1992, p. 24.
7. Unless otherwise stated, the Twelve Monthly Ritual is
from Sila Viravongs, Maha, ຮີດສຶບສອງ (Heet Sip Song--the Twelve Month Ritual),
Vientiane: The Lao National Library, 1996.
8. Ibid., pp. 7-11.
9. Mahaphom is the third form of the sixteen forms of
Brahma. Brahma is the creator god in Hinduism (Allen D. Kurr, Lao-English
Dictionary, Washington, D. C.: Consortium Press, The Catholic University of America Press,
10. Thai Customs and Beliefs, Bangkok: The Office of
the National Culture Commission, Ministry of Education, 1988, pp. 42-3.
11. Preecha Phinthong, Thai/Isan Ancient Customs,
12. Ibid, pp. 160-3 and Phra Ariyanuwat Khemajari, ibid, pp.