Chaos, Order, and Emotion: Pali Textual Culture in Sri Lanka, 1153 to 1270


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellowships in Buddhist Studies




This book is a social history of Pali literature in late medieval Sri Lanka, focusing on over a century of literary production lasting from the middle of the 12th century to the end of the 13th. During this politically tumultuous period over forty new Pali texts were composed, accounting for almost a third of all major works of post-canonical Pali literature. This book provides the first detailed explanation of this textual production and explores the role of Pali literature in late medieval social life. The main thesis of the book is that scholar monks composed works in Pali, in particular, grammars, commentaries and poems, as a means of enframing their chaotic social landscape within an ordered, conceptual space in which they could think, act, and induce others to act as well.