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 throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. much less spotted, although, and occasionally mentioned is the impression of Portuguese colonialists and missionaries upon Buddhist groups within the 16th and 17th centuries throughout Asia. Stephen C. Berkwitz addresses this subject matter via reading 5 poetic works by way of Alagiyavanna Mukaveti (b.1552), a popular Sinhala poet who participated at once within the convergence of neighborhood and trans-local cultures in early sleek Sri Lanka. Berkwitz follows the written works of the poet from his place within the courtroom of a Sinhala king, during the cultural upheavals of war 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 adjustments in faith and literature rendered through what used to be arguably the earliest sustained come across among Asian Buddhists and ecu colonialists in international history.
Alagiyavanna's poetic works provide expression to either a discourse of nostalgia for the neighborhood non secular and cultural order within the past due 16th century, and a discourse of cultural assimilation with the recent colonial order in the course of its ascendancy within the early 17th century. utilising an interdisciplinary procedure that mixes Buddhist stories, background, Literary feedback, and Postcolonial experiences, this booklet yields vital insights into how the colonial adventure contributed to the transformation of Buddhist tradition in early modernity.
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Additional resources for Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism: Alagiyavanna and the Portuguese in Sri Lanka
55 24 bu ddhis t p oe t r y a nd col oni a l ism These rebellions proved to be major distractions to the Portuguese, who eventually had to forge alliances with Kandy to subdue them. 56 Signiﬁcantly, it was this same captain-general who deprived Alagiyavanna of his title and some of his lands. 57 In 1618 a new, more able captain-general was sent to Ceilão. Dom Constantino de Sá de Noronha, the recipient of much praise in Portuguese chronicles as well as in the Konstantīnu Haṭana, arrived in the island and set out to quell the rebellion in the lowlands.
Rājasiṃha’s success in war notwithstanding, there are signs that a number of his own subjects began to turn against him. 45 When this failed, the king exacted his revenge, executing those suspected of conspiring against him, including a number of Buddhist monks. Rājasiṃha’s last major siege on Colombo lasted between May 1587 and February 1588, a contest in which he again gained the upper hand against the beleaguered Portuguese and local inhabitants, but he failed to prevent supplies from India from reaching the seaside fort.
Dahamsoňḍa Kava (Poem of King Dhammasoṇḍa), his next work, combines richly descriptive verses with the narrative account of one of the Bodhisattva’s previous lives—a popular, conventional subject of classical Sinhala verse. Subsequently, Alagiyavanna composed his longest work, Kusa Jātaka K āvya (Poem of the Birth-Story of King Kusa), in which he devotes comparatively less attention to aesthetic ﬁgures of speech and places more emphasis on the narrative illustrating moral lessons from the Bodhisattva’s career.