Imagining A Place For Buddhism
Literary Culture And Religious Community In Tamil-Speaking South India

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The cover features S. Anvar’s photograph of a 12th century statue of the Buddha at the Paravai bus stop, Perambalur, Tamil Nadu. Non-Hindu communities such as Buddhists, Jains and Ājiīvakas played such an important role in South Indian literary and religious culture and in the administration of the state between the fourth and seventh centuries that the later Śaiva traditions labeled this period the Kalabhra interregnum—the interruption of the wicked ones. Despite their presence in Tamil inscriptional, archaeological and literary record, their significance has been undermined in historical narratives that have valorised the triumph of Tamil Śaivism, casting Buddhists and Jains as ‘foreigners’ to be spurned, ridiculed and dismissed as anti-Tamil. In this pioneering study, focusing on two extant Buddhist Tamil texts—Maṇimēkalai (a sixth-century poetic narrative) and Vīracōliyam (an eleventh-century treatise on grammar and poetics)–Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School, sheds light on the role of literature and literary culture in the formation, articulation and evolution of Tamil Buddhist religious identity and community.

‘Monius's lucidly written book greatly broadens our understanding of early Tamil Buddhist identity formation and evolution … a very welcome and creative addition to Tamil scholarship that sets a high standard for future work in the field.’—The Journal of Religion

AuthorAnne E Monius
Height118 mm
Length1142 mm
Width787 mm
Weight110 g
Language TypePublished
Number Of Pages257
Product GroupBook
Publication Date2009
PublisherNavayana Publishing
StudioNavayana Publishing
Sales Rank191031

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