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Buddhist Heritage in India and Sri Lanka (Rediscovery and Restoration)

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Buddhist Heritage in India and Sri Lanka (Rediscovery and Restoration)
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Item Code: NAN310
Author: R. P. Fernando
Publisher: Kaveri Books
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9788174792037
Pages: 101 (19 B/W Illustration)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5 inch X 6.5 inch
weight of the book: 390 gms
About the Book

Though the Buddhist sites in India and the ancient cities in Sri Lanka are visited by large numbers of tourists and pilgrims today, before the arrival of the British, the locations of these sites were mostly unknown. The story of how, firstly, amateur British Orientalists and then the colonial authorities rediscovered and restored these sites is a remarkable one and is the subject of this book.

The first part considers the legacy of the British Buddhism in India. It describes the achievements of the Archaeological Survey of India during the directorships of Sir Alexander Cunningham and Sir John Marshall. It then considers the rediscovery and restoration of the important Buddhist sites in the second part.

The third part considers the British legacy in Sri Lanka. It describes how after an initial difficult period, Buddhism revived. It details the restoration of the ancient sites, in particular the work of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon under the leadership of H C P Bell. Finally, it discusses the British contributions to the study of pali texts.

About the Author

The author was born in Sri Lanka and lives in the UK. He is by profession a scientist with a first degree and doctorate from Cambridge University. His professional publications have been in the field of energy and the environment. He has had an abiding interest in colonial India and Sri Lanka. He Published Selected Writings W A de Silva in 2009. An article by him and many letters have been published in the national press in the UK and Sri Lanka.

Preface

Though large numbers of tourists and pilgrims visit the Buddhist sites in India and the ancient cities in Sri Lanka today, few are aware that, before the arrival of the British, the locations of Indian sites were mostly unknown and the Sri Lankan historical cities had been abandoned and overrun by jungle. The story of how, firstly, amateur British Orientalists and then the colonial authorities rediscovered and restored these sites is a remarkable one and is the subject of this book. It will also consider how the British presence affected Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka. At the time of their arrival, the status of the Buddhist faith was very different in the two countries. The religion had been virtually eradicated in India. In Sri Lanka, Buddhism had endured a calamitous period under the Portuguese but the environment had improved somewhat under the Dutch. Though other Westerners were also involved with these activities, this book will focus on the leading role of the British, particularly the outstanding contributions of Sir Alexander Cunningham and Sir John Marshall in India and H C P Bell in Sri Lanka.

The first part considers the legacy of the British for Buddhism in India. It describes the activities of the early Orientalists and the explorations of Alexander Cunningham's early years. It then considers the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India. The bulk of this section consists of the achievements of the Archaeological Survey of India during the directorships of Sir Alexander Cunningham and Sir John Marshall. The second part details the rediscovery and the restoration of the important Buddhist sites at Lumbini, Buddha Gaya, Sarnath, Kushinagara, Sravasti, Nalanda, Sanchi and the Ajanta Caves. This part concludes with an account of the museums in India that were established during this period. The third part considers the British legacy in Sri Lanka. It describes how after an initial difficult period, Buddhism revived. The major portion of this part is devoted to the restorations of the ancient sites, in particular the work of the Archaeological Survey of Ceylon both in the Bell era and the post-Bell era. The next section is on the British contributions to the study of Pali texts. It concludes with the achievements of the eminent Pali scholars, Rhys Davids, F L Woodward and Lord Chalmers.

Much of the book is based on accounts of the history of archaeology surveys in the two countries in recent publications, in particular, the primary sources in the Bibliography. I have focussed on information relating to the individual sites which I have considered in detail. I have also consulted original publications produced at the time. I have paid particular attention to the views of eminent Buddhists of the period such as Anagarika Dharmapala and W A de Silva.

Hopefully, the book will help the reader to appreciate the extraordinary role of the British in the restoration of the Buddhist heritage in the two countries.

I would like to thank Ray Wright and Anne Carpenter for their help and encouragement.

Contents

  Preface V
  Glossary VII
1 Legacy in India 1
  Early in India  
  Cunningham - The Early Years  
  Archaeological Survey of India - The Cunningham Era  
  Archaeological Survey of India - The Marshall Era  
2 Restoration of Individual Sites 20
  Lumbini  
  Buddha Gaya  
  Sarnath  
  Kushinagara  
  Sarvasti  
  Nalanda  
  Sanchi  
  Ajanta Caves  
  Museums  
3 Legacy in Sri Lanka 44
  Buddhist Revival  
  Restoration of Ancient Cities  
  Archaeological Survey of Ceylon - H C P Bell era  
  Archaeological Survey of Ceylon - Post Bell  
  Colombo Museum  
  Study of Sacred Texts  
  Pali Scholars  
  Bibliography 95
  Index 99


Sample Pages





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