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Chapter Summary

In the last decades of the nineteenth century, all the widespread indigenous faiths in Ceylon-i.e. Buddhism, Hinduism and the Islam-went through so-called religious revivals. The Christian missionaries' belief that Buddhism in Ceylon was practically dead stemmed mainly from their misinterpretation of Buddhist tolerance. The American Mission, arriving in 1816, was only admitted to the Jaffna peninsula for political reasons. Malalgoda gives several examples for the Buddhist monks' tolerance towards the Christians. The Buddhist sangha lacked the financial and organisational means to set up schools that could fulfil the grant-in-aid eligibility criteria. The common goal of the Buddhist Theosophical Society and the Buddhist sangha was the propagation of Buddhism and the resistance against Christian proselytising efforts. The emergence of political nationalist overtones in the Buddhist revivalist movement during the 1890s also had an impact on Buddhist- Hindu relations.

Keywords:Buddhism; Buddhist; Buddhist sangha ; Ceylon; Christian missionaries; Hinduism; Jaffna peninsula; revivals



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