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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 05 June 2020

Dharmapala and the British Empire

Dharmapala and the British Empire

(p.304) Chapter Five Dharmapala and the British Empire
Rescued from the Nation

Steven Kemper

University of Chicago Press

The British Empire was another universalizing project, and Dharmapala’s movements around the Empire produced an encounter between competing projects, one Buddhist and moralizing, the other British and legalizing. An overlooked part of Dharmapala’s life was his attempt to civilize village life and enhance its cleanliness and hygiene, not to rationalize village practice or make villagers Protestant Buddhists. Instead those efforts sought to give Sinhala people British recognition and respect. In this context Dharmapala appears as the loyal opponent of imperial rule. His sojourn in London from 1925–27 was an attempt to present the Buddha’s teachings in the metropole. But it was also an attempt to present an alternative form of civilization, Asian and Buddhist. The Empire was an interactive system. Giving Londoners Buddhism was a civilizing mission in the heart of Empire and an attempt to make them more compassionate to India and Sri Lanka.

Keywords:   British Empire, civilizing mission to villagers, Protestant Buddhists, Buddhism in London, cleanliness and hygiene, civilizing mission to Londoners

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