5. Buddhism and the Religious Other: Twenty-First Century Dambulla and the presence of Buddhist Exclusivism in Sri Lanka

Buddhist Responses to Religious Diversity - Theravāda and Tibetan Perspectives - Douglas Duckworth

Elizabeth J. Harris [+-]
University of Birmingham
Elizabeth Harris is an Honorary Senior Research Fellow within the Cadbury Centre for the Public Understanding of Religion, University of Birmingham, UK. Before this, she was an Associate Professor at Liverpool Hope University. She specializes in Buddhist Studies and inter-faith studies, and has published widely in both disciplines. Her publications include: What Buddhists Believe (Oneworld, 1998): Theravada Buddhism and the British Encounter: Religious, missionary and colonial experience in nineteenth century Sri Lanka (Routledge, 2006): Buddhism for a Violent World: A Christian Reflection (Epworth, 2010/now published by SCM).

Description

Buddhism is sometimes characterized as having an inclusivist attitude to the religious Other. In the second decade of the twenty-first century, however, an exclusivist approach to the religious Other emerged in Sri Lanka. Using the case study of a Buddhist temple in Dambulla, this chapter examines the conditioning factors behind this phenomenon. It is divided into four sections. The first examines recent theoretical approaches to Buddhism and inter-religious encounter, and argues that a spectrum of Buddhist approaches to the Other has long been present in text and tradition. The second offers background information about the Dambulla temple and its leading monk, Inamuluwe Sumangala Thero. The third explores three representations of the mosque attack, those of Sumangala, the Hindus of Dambulla, and secular analysts. The fourth suggests three conditioning factors for the dominance of Sumangala’s representation and the emergence of what could be considered an uncharacteristically exclusivist Buddhist approach to the religious Other within South Asian Buddhism.

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Citation

Harris, Elizabeth. 5. Buddhism and the Religious Other: Twenty-First Century Dambulla and the presence of Buddhist Exclusivism in Sri Lanka. Buddhist Responses to Religious Diversity - Theravāda and Tibetan Perspectives. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jul 2020. ISBN 9781781799055. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38393. Date accessed: 17 Oct 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38393. Jul 2020

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