Popularizing Buddhism

Popularizing Buddhism : Preaching as Performance in Sri Lanka

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The first book to focus on the ritual practice of Buddhist preaching in Asia, Popularizing Buddhism examines the role of preaching in Buddhist devotional life and its relationship to the vernacular Sinhala literature of late medieval Sri Lanka. Blending ethnography, textual and doctrinal studies, and an analysis of untranslated Sinhala vernacular Buddhist texts, Mahinda Deegalle traces the development of Buddhist preaching within the Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhist tradition. He explains the preaching ceremony popularly known as bana and offers a rich depiction of preaching styles, events, and specific preachers. The book delves into the debates surrounding the preaching ritual's origin and its potential beginning and continuity within the bhanaka (reciter) tradition, and explores the interactions between vernacular religious traditions of Sri Lanka with cosmopolitan Buddhism. Deegalle advances previous research on the transmission of Buddhist teachings by constructing a vivid picture of the way Sri Lankan Buddhist traditions have shaped the nature of Theravada Buddhism.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 255 pages
  • 160.53 x 236.22 x 20.57mm | 481g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791468976
  • 9780791468975
  • 1,618,184

Review quote

"In his research Deegalle has examined the most important and relevant sources and has demonstrated a sense of priority in recognizing the most pertinent discussions within them. I applaud his sense of historical perspective, his acute sensitivity to the Sri Lankan Buddhist religious and cultural context, and his willingness to make critical assessments of previous scholarship when needed. His book fills a vacuum." -- John Clifford Holt, coeditor of Constituting Communities: Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultu
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About Mahinda Deegalle

Mahinda Deegalle is Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions at Bath Spa University in England. He is the editor of Buddhism, Conflict, and Violence in Modern Sri Lanka and coeditor (with Frank J. Hoffman) of Pali Buddhism.
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