chapter  1
Cultivating Religious Experiences: Doctrine and Diṭṭhi
Pages 27

The more intractable puzzles in comparative religion arise because human experience has thus been wrongly divided. 1

Since the European discovery of Buddhism toward the end of the eighteenth century, studies of Buddhism in Europe and in the United States have been conducted largely through the examination of Buddhist textual material. Collections of Buddhist sacred texts were brought back to Europe by diplomats, missionaries, and travellers in the first half of the last century; and, as chairs were established in European universities for the study of Sanskrit and other languages, a majority of scholarly attention was focused on the evidence located in these textual sources.2 This attention was not restricted entirely to scholars. Missionaries such as Daniel ]. Gogerly, who worked for the Wesleyan mission in Sri Lanka, published a number of articles on Buddhist rituals and beliefs between 1837 and 1876. Similarly, Bishop Paul Ambrose Bigandet published a study of Buddhism in 1858 that was based on texts that he had received in Burma; the book went through four editions by 1912.3 In general, first-hand accounts of rituals observed in South and Southeast Asia did not inform the emerging corpus of scholarship on Buddhism: scholars in Europe and in the United States were engaged in untangling the wealth of information contained in the texts.