The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation, Politics, and Culture [NOOK Book]

Overview

John Holt's groundbreaking study examines the assimilation, transformation, and subordination of the Hindu deity Visnu within the contexts of Sri Lankan history and Sinhala Buddhist religious culture. Holt argues that political agendas and social forces, as much as doctrinal concerns, have shaped the shifting patterns of the veneration of Visnu in Sri Lanka.

Holt begins with a comparative look at the assimilation of the Buddha in Hinduism. He then explores the role and rationale...

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The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation, Politics, and Culture

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Overview

John Holt's groundbreaking study examines the assimilation, transformation, and subordination of the Hindu deity Visnu within the contexts of Sri Lankan history and Sinhala Buddhist religious culture. Holt argues that political agendas and social forces, as much as doctrinal concerns, have shaped the shifting patterns of the veneration of Visnu in Sri Lanka.

Holt begins with a comparative look at the assimilation of the Buddha in Hinduism. He then explores the role and rationale of medieval Sinhala kings in assimilating Visnu into Sinhala Buddhism. Offering analyses of texts, many of which have never before been translated into English, Holt considers the development of Visnu in Buddhist literature and the changing practices of deity veneration. Shifting to the present, Holt describes the efforts of contemporary Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka to discourage the veneration of Visnu, suggesting that many are motivated by a reactionary fear that their culture and society will soon be overrun by the influences and practices of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

This is a scholarly but eminently readable and accessible study of the multilayered resonance of Sri Lankan culture... Highly Recommended.

Journal of the Royal Asiatic Soceity

John Holt's book is an impressive work of scholarship.

Choice

This is a scholarly but eminently readable and accessible study of the multilayered resonance of Sri Lankan culture... Highly Recommended.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231508148
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2005
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

John C. Holt is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. He is the author of several books, including Buddha in the Crown: Avalokitesvara in the Buddhist Tradition of Sri Lanka, winner of an American Academy of Religion Book Award for Excellence, and The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka, and is the editor of Constituting Communities: Theravada Buddhism and the Religious Cultures of South and Southeast Asia.


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Table of Contents

Part I : introduction : the historical and theoretical problems 3
Ch. 1 The "Hindu Buddha" and the "Buddhist Visnu" 8
Ch. 2 "Unceasing waves" : brahmanical and Hindu influences on medieval Sinhala Buddhist culture in Sri Lanka 32
Ch. 3 The sandalwood image : Upulvan Deviyo and the origins of the Visnu cult in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka 62
Ch. 4 Transformed deity : the "Buddhist Visnu" in Sinhala literature and liturgy 102
Part II : introduction : the cult of Visnu in Buddhist Sri Lanka 157
Ch. 5 Seeking protection : cultic life at the Udarata Visnu Devalayas 160
Ch. 6 The Valiyak Mangalya : the curative powers of the Mala Raja 225
Ch. 7 Legacies of the "Buddhist Visnu" : myth and cult at the Alutnuvara Devalaya 247
Ch. 8 Minister of defence? : the politics of deification in contemporary Sri Lanka 331
Index of texts (translated or cited) 423
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