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Rescued from the NationAnagarika Dharmapala and the Buddhist World$
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Steven Kemper

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226199078

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226199108.001.0001

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World Renunciation in a Nineteenth-Century World

World Renunciation in a Nineteenth-Century World

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: World Renunciation in a Nineteenth-Century World
Source:
Rescued from the Nation
Author(s):

Steven Kemper

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226199108.003.0007

The Introduction begins with Dharmapala’s role today in Sri Lankan public life, moving on to academic treatments of his life project, which emphasize his reforming Buddhism and reinventing Sinhala ethnic identity. It does so by situating his life between rising nationalism and a burst of universalizing movements such as Theosophy and a newly self-conscious Buddhist world. Dharmapala reveals his own self-understanding in his diaries and notebooks, organized around his innerliness, hypercritical temperament, comChicagoment to celibacy, and identification with the Buddha. Seeing him in these terms makes it hard to think of him as a Protestant Buddhist, and renders him more a world renouncer than a pious lay reformer.

Keywords:   Buddhist reform, Sinhala ethnic identity, Protestant Buddhism, world renunciation, universalism v. Nationalism

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