The Religious World of Kirti Sri: Buddhism, Art, and Politics in Late Medieval Sri Lanka

Synopsis

In this interdisciplinary inquiry, John Clifford Holt seeks to uncover how Buddhism was understood and expressed during the waning years of indigenous political power in Asia's oldest continuing Buddhist culture. Holt focusses on King Kirti Sri Rajasinha and how, despite powerful and persistent Dutch colonial threats and a deeply suspicious Kandyan Buddhist Sinhalese aristocracy, he successfully revived Sinhalese Theravada Buddhism. As Holt demonstrates, Kirti Sri succeeded in formulating his vision of an orthodox Buddhism in a number of ways: through the patronage of monastic sanha and re-establishing traditional lines of ordination, translating the Pali suttas into Sinhala, sponsoring public Buddhist religious rites, and refurbishing almost all Buddhist temples in the Kandyan culture region. The ultimate aim of Holt's study is to describe and interpret Kirti Sri's articulation of a normative Buddhist world, the essentials of which remain normative for many Buddhists in the Kandyan region of Sri Lanka today. Scholars and students will find The Religious World of Kirti Sri is an indispensable resource for the understanding of orthodox Buddhism at this important historical juncture, as well as the present day.

Additional information

Contributors:
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1996