Item Code: IDC071
by Udaya Meddegama, Edited with an introduction, glossary and notes by John Clifford HoltHardcover (Edition: 2010)
Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited
Size: 8.8" X 5.5"
Weight of the Book: 253 gms
Price: $16.50 Shipping Free
This Sinhala recension of the Anagatavamsa, here translated into English for the first time, is but one of several texts forming a genre of Buddhist apocalyptic literature generated by the cult of Maitreya in South and Southeast Asia. It is a prophetic text revealing a rich religious imagination focused upon the advent of the future Buddha in a time when those who have long persevered in the religious quest will gain an opportunity to realize the highest spiritual attainment.
Udaya Meddegama is Associate Professor in the Department of Sinhalese at the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. He graduated with a B.A. (First Class with gold Medal) from the University of Ceylon and with a Ph.D. from the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies. He has been a visiting professor of South Asian Studies in the USA at Swarthmore, Bowdoin and Hobart and William Smith Colleges. He is the author of many studies focused on Sinhalese literature and has published two anthologies of poetry. He is currently writing a novel based upon his many and varied experiences as a Theravada Buddhist bhikkhu.
John Clifford Holt is Professor of Religion at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, USA. His recent book, Buddha in the Crown: Avalokitesvara in the Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka, was awarded the 1992 American Academy of Religion Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion. He is also the author of Discipline: The Canonical Buddhism of the Vinayapitaka, also by Motilal Banarsidass.
The series editor has elsewhere pointed out that after Gautama Buddha's Parinirvana, he continued as a presence in the absence, while the other two 'Jewels' (The Dharma and Sangha) continued in the presence. The Mahasanghika sect was mainly responsible for the popular symbolic formations to fill in this presence in the absence, thus promoting the Jewel of the Buddha. One preeminent solution to this presence in the absence was the cult of the future Buddha, Maitreya, that was even accepted in the Theravada by the Pali name Metteyya.
The Maitreya cult has occasioned rather considerable scholarly study, and the fine text of 'references' give by john Holt does not exhaust the Western Studies since it takes no account of the French Studies.
It is a pleasure to include in the Buddhist Traditions Series this English translation from the Sinhalese of the Anagatavamsa which is a Theravada version for the prophecy of the future Buddha, Maitreya.
It is our hope that colleagues working in the fields of history of religions, Buddhism and South Asian studies will find this publication helpful in their research and teaching enterprise. While not a canonical text per se, the Anagatavamsa Desana is a paradigmatic example of apocalypticism and eschatology at work in the popular religious imagination.
In transliterating and editing this work from the original Sinhala, Sanskrit and Pali, we have followed the conventions of C. Carter's Sinhala-English Dictionary, Monier Monier-Williams' A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, and T.W. Rhys Davids' and William Stede's The Pali Text Society's Pali English Dictionary.
We are especially grateful to Professor P.B. Meegaskumbura of the Department of Sinhala at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and to Dr. Sunil Goonasekera of the Institute of Fundamental Studies in Kandy, Sri Lanka, for their very helpful and valuable contributions and insights. WE also acknowledge the support of the National Endowment of the Humanities in Washington, D.C., U.S.A., and Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine, U.S.A.
Regarding Professor Wayman's comment in the "Foreword", we are unaware of any significant French scholarship on the Anagatavamsa Desana. Our list of references was not intended as a comprehensive bibliography for "Maitreya Studies". It is only a list of works cited in the "Introduction."
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