Distant Shores of Dharma: Religious Historiography in Sri Lanka from the Fourteenth Century


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


This dissertation explores convergences in Sri Lankan Buddhist history writing with Hindu visions of the island’s past from the 14th century, with special attention given to the incorporation of Sanskrit Puranas and the Ramayana epic. The source of this increasingly accommodating perspective is sought in the religiously and linguistically plural courts of the island’s southwest in the 14th-16th centuries (Gampola, Kotte and Kandy). Intersections with the cosmologies and royal genealogies of Sri Lankan Tamil works of the same period are examined, revealing insights into Tamils’ own perspective on their historical relationship to Buddhists and Buddhist kings.