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Mapping Buddhist Centres of Power in Sri Lanka

The study maps the various manifestations and centres of power in everyday Buddhism in Sri Lanka. It explores how Buddhism evolves in the current context of increased political polarisation, and commercialisation of the social sphere. The study also maps emerging trends and perennial themes which cut across this spectrum of the Buddhist establishment.

Some of the key themes explored involve relations between the state and Buddhism, which deals with issues such as the constitutional place of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, and even more fundamental questions such as the primacy of Buddhism over secular governance arrangements. Second, relations between Buddhism and other faiths, mainly Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. It also addresses inter-ethnic and inter-religious groups from a perspective of Buddhism as practice rather than religious philosophy. Further, the study examines links between land and Buddhist establishment, politicisation of Sri Lanka’s social sphere, and the proliferation of the party system and how this impacts dynamics within the Buddhist order.

DateMay 2022 - September 2023TitleApplied Buddhism in Sri Lanka: A Scoping StudySummaryThis study maps the key actors and centres of power of Buddhism in Sri Lanka; the key dynamics within the Buddhist order; and explores critical points of intervention and challenges in fostering a mainstream discourse of peace and harmony among Buddhist sangha and the public.Share