Fieldwork in Sri Lanka

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Description

The commentarial list of “Ten ways of making merit” (puññakiriyavatthu) outlines the recommended religious and ethical behaviour for Buddhists in positive terms. It has received very little comment in the scholarly literature, despite it being well known in Theravāda Buddhist countries. Verses on the “Ten ways of making merit” first occur in the 5th-century Abhidhammāvatāra (attributed to Bhuddhadatta) and commentaries (attributed to Buddhaghosa). During my fieldwork I found more material including: Saddhammopāyana (a 10th cent Pāli work attributed to Abhayagirikavicakravarti Ānanda Mahāthera) and the Kāvyaśekharaya (a 15th cent Sinhala work by Toṭṭagamuwe Rāhula). I have also collected some Sinhala handbooks and Dhamma School books. Interviews with monastics and laypeople provided further insights into the relevance of the concept of the “Ten ways of making merit” for contemporary practice in Sri Lanka.
Period6 Sep 20184 Oct 2018