Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War - Suren Raghavan

Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War - Suren Raghavan

A Paradise Poisoned? Burden of the Past—Blunder of the Present

Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War - Suren Raghavan

Suren Raghavan [+-]
University of Oxford
Suren Rāghavan Ph.D. is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Buddhist Studies – Wolfson College University of Oxford and a visiting professor at St Paul University Ottawa- Canada. He turned to academic research after extensive fieldwork in peacebuilding in Sri Lanka during its thirty years of civil war. His multilingual expertise, bi-ethnic background and lifelong studies of Sinhala Buddhist society have provided a rare position for an in-depth and unique analysis of the Sinhalas, the war and especially the historical role of the Mahā Saṅgha, – Buddhist Monks. Rāghavan won the first Asian award for Political Studies from James Madison Trust in 2005. He won the British Government Overseas Research Scholars Award in 2008 and the Swiss Federal Government Scholarship for Minority Studies in 2011. His current research includes the role of religions in post-conflicts democratization, critical religion analysis of Buddhism and textual deconstruction of the Mahāvaṃsa

Description

This introductory chapter lays out the purpose of the book, which is to explore how a country permeated by the supposedly peaceful teachings of Theravāda Buddhism became a “killing field”. This broad question has generated a considerable volume of literature. This book will focus on a crucial segment of these complex developments: the powerful role of the Saṅgha Buddhist monks in the contemporary politics of war and peace in Lanka. The chapter outlines the theoretical approaches and fieldwork undertaken in the course of writing the book. The chapter also provides a history of Lanka with particular attention to the colonialist period (from 1505) to the present day and the creation of a 'federal system'. It concludes that In Lanka, the notion of independence did not come from secular forces but through an attempt to re-establish and re-assert the legitimacy of Buddhism and its chief-interpreters, the Saṅgha, eventually restorin them at the center of power and at the center of the conflict.

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Citation

Raghavan, Suren . A Paradise Poisoned? Burden of the Past—Blunder of the Present. Buddhist Monks and the Politics of Lanka's Civil War. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 1-42 Apr 2016. ISBN 9781781795743. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=24501. Date accessed: 20 Jul 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24501. Apr 2016

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