This book provides both an erudite and intimate look at how Buddhism is lived in Sri Lanka. While India is known as the birthplace of Buddhism, Sri Lanka is its other home; Buddhism extends back over twenty-five hundred years on the island and remains at the center of its spiritual traditions and culture.
Throughout the book, author Swarna Wickremeratne incorporates a personal view, sharing stories of herself, her family, friends, and acquaintances as they “lived Buddhism” both during her Sri Lankan girlhood and during more recent times. This personal view makes the traditions come alive as Wickremeratne details Buddhist beliefs, customs, rituals and ceremonies, and folklore. She also provides a fascinating discussion of the Sangha, the institutional monkhood in Sri Lanka, including its history, codes of conduct, and evolution and resilience over time. Wickremeratne explores the recent attempts by many monks to reinvent themselves in a society characterized by secularization, globalization, and a tide of aggressive Christian evangelization.