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Buddhist Poetry and ColonialismAlagiyavanna and the Portuguese in Sri Lanka$
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Stephen C. Berkwitz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199935765

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199935765.001.0001

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Poetry and Buddhism

Poetry and Buddhism

(p.202) Conclusion Poetry and Buddhism
Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism

Stephen C. Berkwitz

Oxford University Press

The concluding chapter summarizes the arguments concerning the transformation of poetry and its visions of power and identity during a turbulent period of Portuguese colonial expansion in Sri Lanka. It examines and critiques several theoretical positions concerning the subjects of agency, local religious forms, lived religion, and the nature of religious identity under colonial rule. Arguments are then presented in regard to what power can be found and utilized in the genre of poetry. Finally, it considers Alagiyavanna’s articulation of an early concept for the Buddhist religion as a seventeenth-century precursor to the development of a modern Buddhist identity in the nineteenth century. The significance of Alagiyavanna’s poetry for understanding the transformations of Buddhist culture and identity under the effects of colonial rule and Christian missions in Sri Lanka is emphasized.

Keywords:   Alagiyavanna, poetry, Buddhism, Sri Lanka, modern Buddhism, identity, agency, lived religion

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