Also wei'za, a practitioner of occult or supernatural arts who acquires special powers through alchemy, magic amulets, mantras, magic letters (Burmese "runes"), and other devices, and can aid people in distress. Belief in weikzas and the growth of cults (gaing) associated with them seem to be relatively modern developments, perhaps a response to the shock of British colonial occupation. They are neither members of the Sangha nor nats, but are an important element in the folklore of popular Buddhism. Although occult figures going back at least to the Pagan Dynasty are identified by Burmese sources as weikzas, along with the devout Mon king, Dhammazedi (r. 1472-1492), the most prominent example is Bo Bo Aung, a contemporary and adversary of King Bodawpaya (r. 1782-1819). Belief in these figures seems to flourish in times of stress and uncertainty. Although the governments of U Nu and Ne Win attempted to suppress the more extreme weiksa cults in favor of orthodox Buddhist practices, the cults retained their popularity, even among military officers who supposedly espoused modernist, socialist ideology. Apparently, they remain important in the religious life of Burmese people under the State Peace and Development Council.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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