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Other titles in the Buddhism and Modernity series:
Locations of Buddhism: Colonialism and Modernity in Sri Lanka (Buddhism and Modernity)by Anne M. Blackburn
Synopses & Reviews
Anagarika Dharmapala is one of the most galvanizing figures in Sri Lankaand#8217;s recent turbulent history. He is widely regarded as the nationalist hero who saved the Sinhala people from cultural collapse and whose and#147;protestantand#8221; reformation of Buddhism drove monks toward increased political involvement and ethnic confrontation. Yet as tied to Sri Lankan nationalism as Dharmapala is in popular memory, he spent the vast majority of his life abroad, engaging other concerns. In Rescued from the Nation, Steven Kemper reevaluates this important figure in the light of an unprecedented number of his writings, ones that paint a picture not of a nationalist zealot but of a spiritual seeker earnest in his pursuit of salvation. and#160;
Drawing on huge stores of source materialsand#151;nearly one hundred diaries and notebooksand#151;Kemper reconfigures Dharmapala as a world-renouncer first and a political activist second. Following Dharmapala on his travels between East Asia, South Asia, Europe, and the United States, he traces his lifelong project of creating a unified Buddhist world, recovering the place of the Buddhaand#8217;s Enlightenment, and imitating the Buddhaand#8217;s life course. The result is a needed corrective to Dharmapalaand#8217;s embattled legacy, one that resituates Sri Lankaand#8217;s political awakening within the religious one that was Dharmapalaand#8217;s life project.and#160;
Modernizing and colonizing forces brought nineteenth-century Sri Lankan Buddhists both challenges and opportunities. How did Buddhists deal with social and economic change; new forms of political, religious, and educational discourse; and Christianity? And how did Sri Lankan Buddhists, collaborating with other Asian Buddhists, respond to colonial rule? To answer these questions, Anne M. Blackburn focuses on the life of leading monk and educator Hikkaduve Sumangala (1827–1911) to examine more broadly Buddhist life under foreign rule.
In Locations of Buddhism, Blackburn reveals that during Sri Lanka’s crucial decades of deepening colonial control and modernization, there was a surprising stability in the central religious activities of Hikkaduve and the Buddhists among whom he worked. At the same time, they developed new institutions and forms of association, drawing on pre-colonial intellectual heritage as well as colonial-period technologies and discourse. Advocating a new way of studying the impact of colonialism on colonized societies, Blackburn is particularly attuned here to human experience, paying attention to the habits of thought and modes of affiliation that characterized individuals and smaller scale groups. Locations of Buddhism is a wholly original contribution to the study of Sri Lanka and the history of Buddhism more generally.
About the Author
Anne M. Blackburn is associate professor of South Asian and Buddhist studies at Cornell University and the author of Buddhist Learning and Textual Practice in Eighteenth-Century Lankan Monastic Culture.
Table of Contents
A Note on Translations, Sources, Dating, and Language
1. Hikkaduve Sumangala at Adams Peak
2. Hikkaduve Sumangala at Vidyodaya Pirivena
3. Learning and Difference
4. Engaging the Adventurers
5. Sasana and Empire
6. Horizons Not Washed Away
What Our Readers Are Saying
Biography » Religious