Buddha in Sri Lanka

Remembered Yesterdays

By Swarna Wickremeratne
Foreword by George D. Bond

Subjects: Asian Studies
Paperback : 9780791468821, 317 pages, September 2006
Hardcover : 9780791468814, 317 pages, September 2006

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Table of contents

Terminology and Related Concepts

1. Beginnings and Looking Beyond

2. Growing up in Sri Lankan Culture

3. Festival of New Beginnings: The New Year

4. Loving Worship and Loving Kindness

5. Givers: Many Motives, Many Fruits

6. Sri Lankan Buddhists and Their Rituals

7. Reminiscences of Bana Preaching

8. Buddhist Pilgrims’ Progress

9. Karma in Popular Buddhist Culture

10. To Die Only to Be Reborn

11. Death: Buddhist Ways and Other Ways

12. Bodhi Puja: All for the Sake of a Tree

13. Pirit Chanting and the Holy Thread

14. Sons of the Buddha

15. Varieties in a Single Saffron Robe

16. Quid Pro Quo Worship

17. Many Gods, Many Altars

18. God Kataragama

Glossary of Religious Terms

Combining memoir, history, and present-day narrative, this book describes how Buddhism is lived in Sri Lanka.


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.

Swarna Wickremeratne is a librarian at Oakton Community College and an independent scholar.