This book examines culture, religion and polity in the context of Buddhism. Gananath Obeyesekere, one of the foremost analytical voices from South Asia develops Freud’s notion of ‘dream work’, the ‘work of culture’ and ideas of no-self (anatta) to understand Buddhism in contemporary Sri Lanka. This work offers a restorative interpretation of Buddhist myths in contrast to the perspective involving deconstruction. The book deals with a range of themes connected with Buddhism, including oral traditions and stories, the religious pantheon, philosophy, emotions, reform movements, questions of identity and culture, and issues of modernity.

This fascinating volume will greatly interest students, teachers and researchers of religion and philosophy, especially Buddhism, ethics, cultural studies, social and cultural anthropology, Sri Lanka and modern South Asian history.

chapter |17 pages


Tellers of stories, writers of histories:essays on the Buddhist past

part I|139 pages

chapter 1|35 pages

The Death of the Buddha

A restorative interpretation 1

chapter 2|20 pages

The Demoness Kali and the Lord Buddha

A parable for our times 1

chapter 3|33 pages

Duṭṭhagāmani (Dutthagamani)

The Buddhist conscience of a warrior king 1

chapter 4|49 pages

Sigiriya Narratives

Tellers of stories, writers of histories *

part II|90 pages

chapter 8|20 pages

Buddhism and the Idea of the Self

A critique of ethnography 1

part III|58 pages

chapter 9|26 pages

Colonel Olcott

Buddhist modernism in the Theosophical movement 1

chapter 10|23 pages

Personal Identity and Cultural Crisis

The Buddhist reforms of Anagarika Dharmapala 1

chapter |7 pages


The Buddha in the market place and the movement of edifices 1