Merging Animism and Buddhism

The Cult of the Thirty-Seven Spirits (Nats) in Burma―Merging Animism and Buddhism is a study about the religious belief of the Burmese people that includes traditional (or indigenous) animistic worship of spirits and deities of Hindu-Buddhist origin to a specific concept within Theravada Buddhism.

Nat worship has a much longer history in Burma (modern Myanmar) than Buddhism, and worshipers believe that areas, places, objects and people are associated with and governed by particular nats.

When King Anawrahta of Bagan shaped the first Burmese nation by defeating the dominance of the Mon people in the 11th century, he also established a new religious belief system by combining Animism and Buddhism, which is still practiced by the Burmese people today.