Adornments Of Virtue: The Production Of Lay Buddhist Virtuosity In The Upasakajanalankara

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The Upāsakajanālaṅkāra emerged as a medieval, Pāli language, Buddhist compendium sometime in the late 12th or early 13th century. This text represents one of the fullest, systematic approaches to the literary production of an ideal, Buddhist lay virtuoso known within Pāli Buddhist literature. The teachings that the text has selectively incorporated from other Buddhist texts, and strategically arranged according to the unique vision of the author, explain what the ideal lay virtuoso, upāsaka, must do in order to achieve the many rewards, or felicities, that it promises. I present a critical analysis of this Pāli compendium in order to arrive at a clear understanding of the intentions imbedded within the text. In doing so, I argue that this compendium seeks to provide an authoritative image of non-monastic religiosity, a project which complements a larger historical process in which monastic institutions expanded their hegemony outward to regions distant from the political and economic centers. I then examine the reemergence of this compendium, with its translation into Sinhala, during the final decades of the Kandyan kingdom (ca. 1800). I assess both the broader historical context of the rise of the Siyam Nikāya and the micro-historical context of the socio-political relationships within which the text's author, Moratoṭa Dhammakkhandha, lived. In this second part of the dissertation, I conclude that Dhammakkhandha may have shared similar concerns to those found in the Pāli original. However, I also conclude, through an examination of the Sinhala version of the text, that Dhammakkhandha was not concerned solely with representing and clarifying the teachings of the Pāli for a Sinhala readership, but with the display of literary cultural capital, courtly prestige, and the protection and well being of the kingdom.
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Buddhism; Buddhism-Sri Lanka; History of Religion; Pali; Sinhala
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Blackburn, Anne M.
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Sangren, Paul Steven
Loos, Tamara
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Asian Religions
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Ph. D., Asian Religions
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Doctor of Philosophy
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Government Document
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dissertation or thesis
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