Rebuilding Buddhism

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $21.94
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 17%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $21.94   
  • New (9) from $24.15   
  • Used (5) from $21.94   


Rebuilding Buddhism describes in evocative detail the experiences and achievements of Nepalis who have adopted Theravada Buddhism. This form of Buddhism was introduced into Nepal from Burma and Sri Lanka in the 1930s, and its adherents have struggled for recognition and acceptance ever since. With its focus on the austere figure of the monk and the biography of the historical Buddha, and more recently with its emphasis on individualizing meditation and on gender equality, Theravada Buddhism contrasts sharply with the highly ritualized Tantric Buddhism traditionally practiced in the Kathmandu Valley.

Based on extensive fieldwork, interviews, and historical reconstruction, the book provides a rich portrait of the different ways of being a Nepali Buddhist over the past seventy years. At the same time it explores the impact of the Theravada movement and what its gradual success has meant for Buddhism, for society, and for men and women in Nepal.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

[The authors’] careful research and thoughtful analysis focus on the perceptible life of this movement in society, rather than doctrines or ideas. As such, this study of the contrasts and occasional conflicts between the growing Theravada movement and the established tantric tradition reveals much about the dynamic life of Buddhism in a changing world.
Todd Lewis
This is a well-researched and carefully documented study of the modernization of Buddhist traditions in Nepal, one that is centered upon compelling biographies of Nepalese monks and nuns. Through following the arcs of these lives that are skillfully contextualized by the authors, one can discern the various crosscurrents at work in the religious field in Kathmandu throughout the twentieth century. The ethnography is rich and important for the fields of Nepalese studies, religious modernization, gender studies and Buddhist studies.
Jan Willis
Accurate information about the Newar Buddhists of Nepal is difficult to come by. LeVine and Gellner's Rebuilding Buddhism makes an important contribution by allowing us to venture inside this multidimensional, yet fairly private, community. In this engaging work, we are introduced to fascinating individuals and to the compelling story of how religious traditions vie for territory and followers. It is therefore a welcome addition to the literature on Nepal and Buddhism.
Steven Collins
Lucidly and engagingly written, Rebuilding Buddhism is the first in-depth and sociologically sophisticated study of the Theravada revival in Nepal, whose Buddhism before the twentieth century was wholly Mahayanist. Its careful description and analysis of social, cultural, economic and above all gender dynamics make it required reading for anyone interested in Buddhism in the contemporary world, and recommended for anyone interested in comparative perspectives on modernity and gender.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674025547
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2007
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 396
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Sarah LeVine is Research Associate in Human Development and Psychology, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

David N. Gellner is Lecturer in the Social Anthropology of South Asia, University of Oxford.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


1. Introduction: The Origins of Modernist Buddhism

2. Theravada Missionaries in an Autocratic State

3. Creating a Tradition

4. Charisma and Education: Dhammawati and the Nuns' Order after 1963

5. The Changing Buddhist Laity

6. Organizing and Educating the Monastic Community

7. Raising the Status of Nuns: The Controversy over Bhikkhuni Ordination

8. Winds of Change: Meditation and Social Activism

9. Other Buddhist Revivalisms: Tibetan "Mahayana" and Newar "Vajrayana"

10. Conclusion: Nepal's Theravadins in the Twenty-First Century

Appendix 1: Dramatis Personae

Appendix 2: Complete List of Theravada Viharas in Nepal





Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)