Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism: Alagiyavanna and the - download pdf or read online

By Stephen C. Berkwitz

Many researchers have explored the impression of British and French Orientalism within the reinterpretations of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia through the 19th and early 20th centuries. much less spotted, even if, and occasionally mentioned is the influence of Portuguese colonialists and missionaries upon Buddhist groups within the 16th and 17th centuries throughout Asia. Stephen C. Berkwitz addresses this topic through interpreting 5 poetic works through Alagiyavanna Mukaveti (b.1552), a well known Sinhala poet who participated at once within the convergence of neighborhood and trans-local cultures in early smooth Sri Lanka. Berkwitz follows the written works of the poet from his place within the courtroom of a Sinhala king, in the course of the cultural upheavals of struggle and the growth of colonial rule, and eventually to his eventual conversion to Catholicism and employment lower than the Portuguese Crown. In so doing, Berkwitz explores the changes in faith and literature rendered through what used to be arguably the earliest sustained come across among Asian Buddhists and ecu colonialists in global history.

Alagiyavanna's poetic works provide expression to either a discourse of nostalgia for the neighborhood non secular and cultural order within the overdue 16th century, and a discourse of cultural assimilation with the recent colonial order in the course of its ascendancy within the early 17th century. applying an interdisciplinary technique that mixes Buddhist reviews, background, Literary feedback, and Postcolonial reviews, this ebook yields vital insights into how the colonial adventure contributed to the transformation of Buddhist tradition in early modernity.

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In the 1570s, the Portuguese conducted raids along coastal cities and destroyed numerous temples at Kelaniya, Negombo, Alutgama, and elsewhere. The Sītāvaka forces led by Rājasiṃha occasionally turned their attention to their opponents in Kandy, whose kingdom was led by Karaliyaddē Banḍāra, a Christian convert, who sought Portuguese assistance in gaining independence for the hill kingdom. Unable to conquer a combined Kandyan and Portuguese force in the mountainous upcountry and distracted by other Portuguese forces who continued to sack coastal villages by sea, R ājasiṃha withdrew and, in 1579, marched a formidable attacking force of about 25,000 soldiers and a large corps of elephants toward the Portuguese fort in Colombo.

Early on, in Sävul Sandēśaya, he depicted religious identity in terms of a pluralistic combination of ritual practices and symbols taken from Buddhist and Hindu traditions. This dynamic enactment of religious identity, wherein one could worship the Buddha and deities in various locations while participating in rituals led by different kinds of religious specialists, was quite common in Sri Lanka in the medieval period. 65 Although the increased vitality of Hindu religious elements occasionally provoked some resistance and backlash from Sinhala Buddhist monks—such as Vīdāgama Maitreya, who ridiculed Hindu deities in one of his texts— there is clear evidence of the widespread integration of Hindu practice and symbols in fifteenth-century Sri Lanka.

In the same year, the arrival of a skilled and combative captain-general named Dom Jerónimo de Azevedo helped the Portuguese to turn these events in their favor. Azevedo consolidated Portuguese authority over 22 bu ddhis t p oe t r y a nd col oni a l ism the Koṭṭe kingdom. Following the defeat suffered at Danturē in a failed Portuguese attempt to conquer Kandy, periodic revolts broke out throughout the lands under their control. In response, Azevedo had a number of forts constructed between the coast and Kandy to strengthen Portuguese authority.

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