The Buddhist Visnu: Religious Transformation, Politics, and Culture

Kobo ebook | April 5, 2005

byJohn C. Holt

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John Holt's groundbreaking study examines the assimilation, transformation, and subordination of the Hindu deity Visnu within the contexts of Sri Lankan history and Sinhala Buddhist religious culture. Holt argues that political agendas and social forces, as much as doctrinal concerns, have shaped the shifting patterns of the veneration of Visnu in Sri Lanka.

Holt begins with a comparative look at the assimilation of the Buddha in Hinduism. He then explores the role and rationale of medieval Sinhala kings in assimilating Visnu into Sinhala Buddhism. Offering analyses of texts, many of which have never before been translated into English, Holt considers the development of Visnu in Buddhist literature and the changing practices of deity veneration. Shifting to the present, Holt describes the efforts of contemporary Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka to discourage the veneration of Visnu, suggesting that many are motivated by a reactionary fear that their culture and society will soon be overrun by the influences and practices of Hindus, Muslims, and Christians.

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John Holt's groundbreaking study examines the assimilation, transformation, and subordination of the Hindu deity Visnu within the contexts of Sri Lankan history and Sinhala Buddhist religious culture. Holt argues that political agendas and social forces, as much as doctrinal concerns, have shaped the shifting patterns of the veneration...

John C. Holt is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the Humanities in Religion and Asian Studies at Bowdoin College. He is the author of several books, including Buddha in the Crown: Avalokitesvara in the Buddhist Tradition of Sri Lanka, winner of an American Academy of Religion Book Award for Excellence, and The Religious World ...
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:April 5, 2005Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023150814X

ISBN - 13:9780231508148

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Table of Contents

Preface
Introduction: The Historical and Theoretical Problems
The "Hindu Buddha" and the "Buddhist Visnu"
"Unceasing Waves": Brahmanical and Hindu Influences on Medieval Sinhala Buddhist Culture in Sri Lanka
The Sandalwood Image: Upulvan Deviyo and the Origins of the Cult of Visnu in Sinhala Buddhist Sri Lanka
Transformed Deity: The "Buddhist Visnu" in Sinhala Literature and Liturgy
Introduction: The Cult of Visnu in Buddhist Sri Lanka
Seeking Protection: Cultic Life at the Udarata Visnu Devalayas
The Valiyaka Mangalya: The Curative Powers of the Mala Raja
Legacies of the "Buddhist Visnu": Myth and Cult at the Alutnuvara Devalaya
Minister of Defense? The Politics of Deification in Contemporary Sri Lanka
Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

John Holt's book is an impressive work of scholarship.