A list of recommended books to learn about the Buddhist country of Sri Lanka - Buddhism, history, literature, and other unknown attractions!

Sri Lanka Buddhism in Sri Lanka, Nepal and Southeast Asia

Table of Contents

A list of recommended books to learn about the Buddhist country of Sri Lanka - Buddhism, history, literature, and other unknown attractions!

"For those who want to know more about Indian Buddhism, here are some books I highly recommend - from introductory to specialized books."In the article "The Buddhism of Sri Lanka", I picked up and introduced recommended books about Indian Buddhism, and in this article I will introduce my recommended books by genre, with a special focus on Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka is an island country that has attracted worldwide attention in recent years as a tourist destination. Sri Lanka is located right on the doorstep of the southern tip of India and has had a deep relationship with India since ancient times.

Many people may think, "If I want to learn about Indian culture and history, it's tough to go to Sri Lanka," but in fact, what you learn about Sri Lanka will change your view of Buddhism in India 180 degrees.

I studied Buddhism in Sri Lanka and was left shocked. I keep coming across things that I never thought possible. I would say that it has overturned my view of Buddhism from the very foundation. At the same time, it also made me think deeply about what "Buddhism" means to me. I think that by learning about the existence of others who are different from us, it gave us a chance to know more deeply what we believe in.

Sri Lanka is interesting! I was completely enthralled by the very country's Buddhism, its history and culture.

I actually visited Sri Lanka in November 2023 and had a very intense time thanks to reading the books presented here. There is always a world that you can see because you have read the books.

So let's get started.

What kind of country is Sri Lanka? Recommended guidebook for an introduction to Sri Lanka!

Akiko IshinoSri Lanka, the Island of Splendor! Sri Lanka, the Island of Splendor

Sri Lanka

This book, "Enjoy Sri Lanka with All Your Senses! Sri Lanka, the Island of Splendor" is a recommended guidebook to learn about Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. This book will definitely make you want to visit Sri Lanka. You will enjoy seeing the sights and gourmet food of Sri Lanka, which is full of charm.

The country is about 80% the size of Hokkaido, with a variety of climates, abundant nature, and world heritage sites all in one compact area, a miraculous land environment. In addition, the modern culture of urban Colombo is well developed, and the food, fashion, and relaxation are attractive.

No wonder this was chosen as one of the "Countries to Visit in 2019".

Moreover, in this book, you will see such a fascinating Sri Lanka with great photos.

Each location will be introduced with its own attractions, accommodations, cuisine, and activities. The photos are just wonderful! The author, Akiko Ishino, studied photography at Nihon University College of Art and was a contract photographer for the Asahi Shimbun Publishing Company. I can see why the quality of the photographs is so high.

The photos are amazing, by the way! Not only are the photos excellent, but I also feel the love for Sri Lanka. The layout is beautiful and easy to read.

This is a guidebook that I would highly, highly recommend.

Mamoru ShonoAdventures in Sri Lankan Studies."

Adventures in Sri Lankan Studies

This book provides an insight into Sri Lanka told from an unexpected angle. As you can see from the table of contents above, "Cashew Nut Distribution," "Soseki's Curry Study," "Crow Ecology," etc., may at first glance make you wonder, "What is this about Sri Lanka? But it is a brilliantly written book that gives us a clue to the world of Sri Lanka. It is extremely interesting.

Akashi ShotenFifty-eight chapters in Getting to Know Sri Lanka."

To get to know Sri Lanka

This book is highly recommended to get a general overview of modern Sri Lanka. Not only does it provide an overview of the country's political economy and history at the national level, but it also details the pattern of life of the local people. By looking at both, rather than just one or the other, you will get a better picture of Sri Lanka. It is also very helpful to learn about Sri Lanka's unique religious situation in a way that is easy to understand and intertwined with daily life.

The book also discusses local social issues and future challenges, but these are not only Sri Lankan issues, but also questions about what we Japanese should be like. It makes us think about ourselves through the eyes of Sri Lanka.

This book is an excellent introduction to modern Sri Lanka. And although it is an introductory book, it takes us quite deep into the country.

A list of recommended Sri Lankan reference books is also included at the end of the work, making it a convenient gateway to learning.

Mutsuko SuzukiThe Home of Sri Lankan Black Tea

Home of Tea

Many people think of Sri Lanka in terms of tea. I was one of them.

However, I must confess that I am more of a coffee drinker than a tea drinker. And I am a hardcore coffee drinker.

Recently, I had the opportunity to visit India, where I happened to drink Darjeeling tea. I was so excited that I decided to try it, and I was shocked at how good it tasted! It was shockingly delicious. Thanks to that one cup of tea, I became completely interested in black tea.

Moreover, I am planning to visit Sri Lanka in person. It is natural that I would want to know the history of Sri Lanka's tea. I immediately searched for a book about Sri Lankan tea and came across this book, "Sri Lanka, the Home of Black Tea: People who started to take a step toward hope.

This book is a recommended introduction to the history and current plantation conditions of Sri Lankan tea.

Recommended commentaries for learning about Sri Lankan Buddhism

The books we are about to introduce are also a very exciting lineup. We highly recommend these works.

An Invitation to Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia."

This book is a recommended reference to learn about Buddhism in Southeast Asian countries. In Southeast Asia, Buddhism, which is completely different from our Japanese Buddhism, has taken root. To know the difference is not only to know "Japanese Buddhism" but also to think about "what is Japanese".

Rather than taking a detailed look at the Buddhist doctrines of each Southeast Asian country, this book takes the form of a look at what the lives and faith practices of Buddhists in those countries are like.

Of course, the first chapter of this book provides an easy-to-understand explanation of what Theravada Buddhism is in the first place, so it is designed to be friendly to those without specialized knowledge. In Japan, "Mahayana Buddhism" was introduced and continues to this day, but in Southeast Asia, a completely different lineage of Buddhism is practiced. This work is extremely valuable because it explains the differences between the two in an easy-to-understand manner. Moreover, since it is taught in a narrative style that even beginners can easily read, it is highly recommended for those who want to learn not only about Buddhism but also about the culture itself.

This book was very exciting to learn about Theravada Buddhism and what it is and what it is like at the level of the lives of the people living there. It was very interesting to read it while thinking about the differences and similarities with Japanese Buddhism.

Yoshio SugimotoBecoming a Fatalist in Sri Lanka, an Island of Buddhism and Caste."

This book is a valuable work that provides an insight into the religion of Sri Lanka and the real lives of the local people.

The religion of Sri Lanka is Theravada Buddhism, which is different from the Mahayana Buddhism that was introduced to Japan. The Theravada Buddhism itself is not discussed here, but it is often said that Theravada Buddhism is characterized by its beliefs being close to the teachings of the primitive Buddhism that originated in India.

Sri Lanka is often seen as a so-called holy land of Theravada Buddhism, but this book discusses how Buddhism is actually practiced there and how the local people interact with the Buddhist cult.

It was very interesting to see from the perspective of fieldwork that Buddhism is deeply connected to the issue of "life and death" in Sri Lanka as well.

Another gratifying aspect of this book is that you can learn about Sri Lanka's religion and real life not only from a religious perspective, but also from a political and economic one. If you look at Sri Lanka only as "a devout Buddhist country," you will be mistaken. In fact, the background of Sri Lanka is quite complex. It is also fascinating to learn about the complexity of the society.

This is a good book I have come across. It has made me more and more interested in Sri Lanka. I think this book will be a great inspiration for those who actually visit Sri Lanka.

Gombrich, Obesekara.Buddhism in Sri Lanka.

Although Sri Lankan Buddhism may be associated with Theravada Buddhism, which adheres to strict precepts, modern Sri Lankan Buddhism itself was actually a recent construction. Sri Lankan Buddhism is sometimes said to be the closest to the primitive cult, but that was actually an image that was created in the last few centuries. This book will certainly surprise you. I believe that your impression of Sri Lankan Buddhism will change drastically.

The obi of this book says, "Why does Buddhism, which died out in its birthplace, India, continue to live on in Sri Lanka?" and this is precisely the reality of modern Sri Lankan Buddhism that will be examined in detail in this book.

Since Sri Lanka became a British colony in 1815, the traditional village society that had existed until then was in decline, and Colombo experienced rapid urbanization. Furthermore, English-speaking elites actively absorbed British culture. In particular, they brought English Protestant religious views into the world of Sri Lankan Buddhism. This would have a decisive influence on modern Sri Lankan Buddhism.

Also not to be overlooked is the movement on the Buddhist side at the sacred site of Kataragama in southern Sri Lanka. This was originally the sacred site of the Hindu god Skanda (popularly known in Japan as Vikiten). Sri Lankan Buddhists are now flocking there in droves. This is a contradiction in terms of Sri Lanka's Theravada teachings, which claim to be faithful to primitive Buddhism. But this is clearly a trend. This is clearly a major trend, and it is also largely due to the political and economic problems in Sri Lanka.

This book does not simply look at Sri Lankan Buddhism from an ideological perspective, but makes use of the knowledge gained from fieldwork in the area. The reality of Sri Lankan Buddhism can be seen only from what I have actually seen in the field. This is very interesting. I was so excited that I read this book in one sitting. It is very interesting.

Noritoshi BabaBuddhist Orthodoxy and Heresy: The Establishment of the Pali Cosmopolis."

When studying Buddhism, we often come across the terms "Sanskrit source texts" and "Pali source texts. Sanskrit was not only the sacred language but also the common language of ancient Indian thought. Pali is likewise the classical language of Sri Lankan Buddhism. This is usually enough to understand the difference between these two languages, but there is a tremendous fact about the difference between Sanskrit and Pali. In this book, we will take a closer look at it.

Which language is older, Sanskrit or Pali, and what was its origin? Why did Sri Lanka use Pali instead of Sanskrit?

This is where the historical background of India and Sri Lanka came into play. This was not only a matter of Buddhist thought, but also a political issue at the national and royal level.

Furthermore, although the image of Sri Lanka as "a Theravada Buddhist country that has inherited the teachings closest to primitive Buddhism" inevitably comes to mind, in fact, Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism coexist in the country, and it was once even a major center of Mahayana Buddhism in Southeast Asia. This also involves political issues.

Buddhism in Sri Lanka has been spun out of the relationship with royal authority. Buddhism has moved within a larger framework that cannot be defined simply at the level of religion or ideology. Of course, these issues of religion and history are not limited to Sri Lanka. However, Sri Lanka, as a country on the periphery of India, needs something solid to assert its identity and legitimacy. In Sri Lanka, this was the Pali language and "Buddhism," which most faithfully inherited Buddha's teachings. In this way, we can see that "the most faithful inheritor of Buddha's teachings" is not an objective fact, but rather "a claim made by Sri Lanka. This book also looks at this situation in detail.

Frankly, it is tremendously interesting. It may seem unlikely that there has been a look at Buddhism in India and Sri Lanka from the perspective of international and domestic politics. I highly recommend this book.

Noriyuki UedaExorcisms in Sri Lanka."

Exorcism in Sri Lanka

This work is about "exorcism" written by cultural anthropologist Noriyuki Ueda through his fieldwork in Sri Lanka.

The word "exorcism" tends to make us feel like an unscientific superstition, but in fact, there is something important in this "exorcism" that we have forgotten! This is what you will learn in this book.

The narration by Dr. Noriyuki Ueda is very easy to read and understand. Although the theme of "exorcism" may seem frightening at first glance, his narration is exquisite and draws you in in no time.

I have read this book and am impressed.

The book will discuss not merely Sri Lankan "exorcisms" but also what religion is all about and why people "heal" in the first place.

The Corona disaster has made us think about science, superstition, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, peer pressure, and many other things, but this is a wonderful work that will make us think again about the connection between our lives, our health, our vitality, and our "mind. It is a great book among great books that I hope many people will pick up.

Michiyo NakajimaShaku Souen and the Meiji Period: ZEN Crosses the Sea for the First Time.

Shaku Zong-en

The book traces the maverick footsteps of the high priest at the center of Zen culture during the Meiji period. From the temple of Engakuji to Keio University, to the Red Lantern Alley, to Ceylon, the land of Hinayana Buddhism, to the Universal Congress of Religions in Chicago. What is the secret of this remarkable energy that has planted the seeds of Zen in the West?

AmazonProducts Page.
Shaku Zong-en (1860-1919)Wikipedia.

The main character of this book, Shaku Zong-en, is an amazing Zen monk who, as mentioned in the book introduction above, was the teacher of big names such as D.T. Suzuki and Kitaro Nishida, and in his younger days studied under Yukichi Fukuzawa.

I highly recommend this book, which provides a dramatic look at the life of a giant of a man, Shaku Munen. We encourage you to pick up a copy.

Translated by Shinsuke OikawaWhat Brings a Taste of Honey: A Collection of Buddhist Discourses from Ancient India and Sri Lanka."

What brings the taste of honey

This book, "What Brings the Taste of Honey: A Collection of Buddhist Discourses from Ancient India and Sri Lanka," is a Buddhist discourse that is still popular in Sri Lanka and other Theravada Buddhist communities.

The Jataka, the story of Buddha's previous life, is a well-known Buddhist tale, but in this book you will witness a different kind of story.

This collection of stories will explain how Buddha's power transcends the world and how belief in Buddhism can overcome the hardships of the world. There are many stories about how one can escape from a predicament simply by remembering the Buddha in one's heart. This is also the same as the salvation by the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara in the Lotus Sutra.

In Southeast Asian Theravada Buddhism, the distinction between ordained and lay believers is strict.

This story is a teaching for lay believers. There is a difference between Buddhism for ordained believers, who live a life of single-minded asceticism toward enlightenment, and the teachings believed by ordinary people. However, Theravada Buddhism encompasses all of these differences. The relationship between the sacred and the secular in this area has been discussed in a previous article on this blog.An Invitation to Theravada Buddhism in Southeast Asia."and Yoshio SugimotoBecoming a Fatalist in Sri Lanka, an Island of Buddhism and Caste."I would like to recommend these books as well. For more specialized study, please refer to Baba NoritoshiBuddhist Orthodoxy and Heresy: The Establishment of the Pali Cosmopolis."and Gombrich and Obesekara co-authoredBuddhism in Sri Lanka.is also recommended.

This book was a very interesting work to learn about Sri Lankan Buddhism. I highly recommend this work.

Shoji ItoAn Introduction to Sri Lankan Buddhist Art.

Sri Lanka

This book will look at major Buddhist sites such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, and Kandy, as well as other distinctive Buddhist sites.

This book, in any case, contains a large number of photographs, which make it easy to visualize the local situation. In addition, the explanations are written in an easy-to-understand manner for beginners, making this a very welcome introductory work.

For my part, I was particularly impressed by the commentary on seagirias among them.

Sigiriya RockWikipedia.
Sigiriya LadyWikipedia.

Sigiriya is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Sri Lanka, but surprisingly, there are not many books that explain the history and art of this place. This book explains the history of this rocky mountain and the Sigiriya Lady painted on it in an easy-to-understand manner, which was very helpful for me as I am planning to visit the area.

I highly recommend this work to anyone who is going to Sri Lanka or is interested in Sri Lankan Buddhism. This book can be a guidebook for sightseeing. Why not pick up a copy?

Recommended reference books for learning about the Sri Lankan Civil War

I have studied religion and violence from many different perspectives. In particular, I will never forget the experience of visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019 to learn about the ethnic conflict.

After returning to Japan, I have also considered the violence and danger of religion in relation to war, totalitarianism, and Marxism in my study of "Shinran and Dostoevsky".

Especially by Toby Green, who read it in the vein of "Don Quixote".The Inquisition: The Reign of Terror That Undermined Spain's Great Power.is precisely the work that has given me great insight into religion and nationalism. Although there is no clear-cut nationalism in this period, the way we distinguish between our religious group and others and use it for political purposes is exactly the same.

I have studied mainly the history of religion and violence in the West. My impression there was that monotheistic religions are still easily used as ideologies for the execution of war.

In contrast, I thought that Buddhism, by its very nature, does not advocate an absolute God, or justice, but rather appeals to non-violence, making it difficult to be an ideology of war. Of course, there are facts in Japanese history, such as the fact that warlords were deeply devoted to Buddhism, that temples were burned down, and that Japan was involved in the war in World War II. However, I felt that Buddhism may not appear as the primary ideology of conflict.

But here in Sri Lanka, this was not the case. Buddhism became associated with Sinhalese identity, and even the concept of jihad was born. The book I am about to introduce here will take a close look at the process of such a connection between Buddhism and nationalism. This is very interesting. The "no way" things were happening here in Sri Lanka.

What exactly is Buddhism in the Buddhist country of Sri Lanka?

Here is a world very different from the Buddhist world we imagine.

Toshio ShibuyaSri Lanka Today Magazine.

As the title suggests, this book is about contemporary Sri Lanka and the conflict. While this blog has featured various books on Sri Lankan history and Buddhism, this is the first book to focus specifically on Sri Lanka's civil war that lasted from 1983 to 2009.

The civil war in Sri Lanka was largely a civil war between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Tamil Hindu minority. In other words, religion was one of the major causes of the civil war.

Of course, religion was not the only major factor, but history and political and economic issues up to that time were also a major factor, and I was shocked to learn that Buddhism had become involved in the civil war. I was shocked to learn that Buddhism was involved in the civil war.

The civil war in Sri Lanka has seen a strong form of Buddhism being used for nationalism. We will look at this process in this book, "Sri Lanka Today". You will also learn in this book why the ethnic conflict deepened and why Buddhism, which was supposed to be a peaceful teaching, took a radical turn.

The book is written in a way that it can be read by those who have no knowledge of Sri Lanka, so I would highly recommend this work to first time students. It is a very useful work to learn about contemporary Sri Lanka. It is also a great book for those who want to learn about ethnic conflicts and religious conflicts.

Yoshio SugimotoThe Legacy of Buddhist Modernism."

The Legacy of Buddhist Modernism

In this book, you will learn more about the background to this civil war.

The major catalyst for this civil war was the conflict between the Sinhala Buddhists, who make up the majority of Sri Lanka's population, and the Hindu Tamils, who constitute a minority. However, this conflict did not begin in the beginning. It was the unique religious and ethnic outlook of Sri Lanka, where Buddhism and nationalism are linked, that intensified the conflict.

A huge influence on this Sinhala Buddhist nationalism was a man named Dharmapala, who is also the subtitle of this book.

Anagarika Dharmapala (1864-1933)Wikipedia.

Sri Lankan scholar Ovesekara called the Sri Lankan Buddhism created by Dharmapala "Protestant Buddhism (Reform Buddhism). Sri Lankan Buddhism may give the impression that it is the inheritance of the oldest Buddhism, but in fact it was not, but rather a movement that became active in the 19th century. This book takes a detailed look at the history of how Buddhism and Sinhalese nationalism became linked and led to civil war. In particular, we will take a close look at the life of Dharmapala, as if he were a biography. The book is a unique history of Sri Lankan Buddhism.

Koji KawashimaSri Lankan Politics and Caste."

Sri Lankan Politics

This book is a shocker...!

So far, Yoshio Sugimoto on Sri Lankan politics and religion.The Legacy of Buddhist Modernism."and Toshio ShibuyaSri Lanka Today Magazine.has been introduced to the public.

What became clear from reading these books was that Buddhist nationalism was strongly linked to politics in contemporary Sri Lanka. One of the most frequently mentioned politicians who reinforced this trend was Bandaranayaka, about whom this book tells a shocking story.

He is best known for his strong promotion of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, which led to his sweeping electoral victory in 1956, but there was a remarkable person hiding behind him. But behind him hid an astonishing figure: N.Q. Dayas, the man who is the subtitle of this book. The main theme of this book is to reveal the mysterious N.Q. Dayas. I was shocked by this person, N.Q. Dayas.

It will also make a very important point about caste in Sri Lanka, as the title of this book suggests. This is a remarkable work. I highly recommend this great book.

Tomoyuki WadaIn Search of the Hijackers: Sri Lanka's Heroes

Visit the hijackers.

This work, "Hunt for the Hijackers - Heroes of Sri Lanka" is highly recommended to learn about the Sri Lankan Civil War that lasted from 1983 to 2009.

As the title suggests, the author's own encounter with a hijacker led the author to Sri Lanka. The book is told through an exquisite cross between the character of the hijacker, Seppala, and the contemporary history of Sri Lanka.

The hijackers cannot be said to have been directly involved in the Sri Lankan civil war in any significant way. In fact, he can even be said to have been a passive participant. However, if we want to know more about him, we need to understand the historical background of Sri Lanka at that time. Therefore, the author will follow the complex political and economic situation in modern Sri Lanka.

As soon as I started reading this book I was immediately amazed at how easy and interesting this book was to read. Who is the author, Tomoyuki Wada? A look at the author's profile revealed that he was neither a Sri Lankan expert nor a scholar, but a trading company employee! This shocked me even more.

The history of the civil war described in this book is quite detailed. So far in this blog about the civil war in Sri Lanka, Yoshio Sugimoto, author ofThe Legacy of Buddhist Modernism."and Koji KawashimaSri Lanka and Ethnicity: The Formation of Sinhala Nationalism and Minority Groups., ,Sri Lankan Politics and Caste: N.Q. Dayas and His Times 1956-1965.The work has a different reading experience from the works written by experts.

It is truly a non-fiction rather than an academic book! The story of the civil war is told in a way that is easy to understand and realistic for the average reader. The book is easy to understand and realistic. I read the book in one sitting. It is very interesting.

Etsuyo AraiSri Lankan Politics After the End of the Civil War."

Sri Lankan Politics after the End of the Civil War

This book provides an overview of the political situation in Sri Lanka from the end of the civil war that took place between 1983 and 2009 until 2016.

It was gratifying to hear a detailed account of the main character in the book, President Rajapaksa, a politician who ruled the country on an almost dictatorial level and whose family and close associates went on to acquire enormous wealth and power. This is the very person who was forced to flee the country during the Sri Lankan riots of 2022. I remember that the 2022 Sri Lankan riots were well covered in the news.


And above all, the relationship between Sri Lanka and China. We have seen many times in the news the debt trap of Sri Lanka's inability to pay back its debts and the port of Hambantota in the south falling under Chinese control. How did Sri Lanka get into this situation? We will also learn what the honeymoon relationship between President Rajapaksa and China was like.

However, this book was published in 2016, so it is not possible to learn about events after that time. This book is only a commentary on the political situation from the end of the civil war to 2016.

Recommended works of Sri Lankan literature - masterpieces that are not well known in Japan!

Sri Lankan literature is not well known in Japan, but here is a remarkable masterpiece.

I must say that these books are all new to me after learning about Sri Lanka this time, but they are as wonderful as Western literature. I highly recommend this gem.

Martin WickramasingheThe Changing Village.

A Changing Village
Martin Wickramasinghe (1890-1976)Wikipedia.

Martin Wickramasinghe, the author of this work, is not well known in Japan, but he is known as a world-class writer representing Sri Lanka. I myself became aware of his existence while studying Sri Lanka.

In this book, "The Changing Village," you will learn about the reality of the caste system in Sri Lanka. For more information on the caste system in Sri Lanka, please refer to the previous article by Koji KawashimaSri Lanka and Ethnicity: The Formation of Sinhala Nationalism and Minority Groups.andSri Lankan Politics and Caste: N.Q. Dayas and His Times 1956-1965.But it is in this work that we can experience it as a living story, as explained in detail in the following section.

In the above two books, it is often said that "Sri Lanka, unlike India, does not have such a caste system," but in the level of daily life, the influence of caste clearly remains strong even today. In this book, too, many such scenes are depicted. Caste is especially visible in the issue of marriage, which Wickramasinghe symbolically depicts in the phrase "caste conceit".

The great thing about novels is that you get to know the raw reality of the country through stories that you cannot feel from reference books alone. It was a gratifying opportunity to feel Sri Lanka more on a living level.

It is a wonderful novel that is not well known in Japan, but is highly acclaimed around the world. I have actually read it and enjoyed its excellence.

It is a highly immersive novel, as if life in Sri Lanka appears before your eyes. This work is especially fitting for those who like Dostoevsky and Chekhov.

Martin Wickramasinghe, The Age of Change.

Age of Change

This work is a follow-up to Martin Wickramasinghe's "The Changing Village" and is the second part of a trilogy. While the first part, "The Changing Village," chronologically depicted the disintegration of a privileged rural family, this book, with masterful brushwork, depicts the children and grandchildren who grew up in wealthy families, but are tormented and tossed about by differing values.

Daido Life International Cultural FoundationProducts Page.

The story in this film centers on the main characters of the previous film, the upstart merchant Piyar and his wife Nander.

In the previous film, Piyar was portrayed as a good young man who, despite his low caste, was able to use his natural talents to expand his business, but in this film, we see the pain he has fallen into.

Piyar has become a person who only cares about money, status, and honor. Gone are the vestiges of the days when he worked as a kind-hearted governess. The novel is set in the first half of the 20th century, a time when, like Piyar, we also saw emerging merchants rise to power and rise quickly in society. The author, Wickramasinghe, skillfully depicts this historical phase in his novel.

In particular, the depiction of Piyar and Nander's fanciful domestic life is reminiscent of the French literary giant Emile Zola.

The emergence of new merchants and their attempts to break into the existing class society with their wisdom, talent, and financial power is similar to that of 19th century France as seen in Zola's novels. Moreover, the way in which they rapidly rose in status through money and scheming, only to pay the price in the end, is also very much like the French of the 19th century.

In Zola's novel, this"A Share of the Prey."andThe Gobbledygook.It seems to me that the "Age of Change" coincides exactly with the "Age of Transformation".

Of course, I do not mean to imply that just because it resembles Zola, Wickramasinha imitated it or anything like that.

Zola thoroughly observed 19th century Paris in Zola and incorporated it into his work of fiction.

And Wickramasinghe is Wickramasinghe, which means that the novel is an excellent depiction of Sri Lankan society in the first half of the 20th century. This novel is truly an excellent resource for understanding Sri Lanka in the first half of the 20th century. For those of us living far away in Japan, there is no other picture scroll of Sri Lanka more gratifying.

In "The Age of Change," we see Sri Lankan society from a variety of perspectives, including the Piyars' money- and status-obsessed world of pretense, the feelings of their son's generation that rebel against it, and the gap between them and the people of the village, who cannot abandon the traditions of the old society.

This is a brilliant piece of work. As in the previous work, Wickramasinghe's fearsome descriptive power is felt in this work as well.

Martin WickramasingheThe End of Time.

end of time

This work has been introduced in the past.The Changing Village., ,The Age of Transformation."and "The End of Time," the final film in the Wickramasinha trilogy.

The main theme of the film will be Sri Lanka, which is rocked by class struggle.

His son Merlin strongly rebels against Sawiman, a big capitalist who rose to power by exploiting the workers. The two of them are already mentally corrupt. There is no one around to make their parents repent! he confides to his best friend, doctor Alawinda. His rebellion is no longer a domestic issue, but develops into a political movement involving the citizens of Colombo.

The film also depicts these struggles and riots between capitalists and workers. This novel embodies the story of what was happening in Colombo at that time, as told by Wickramasinghe, who was once a journalist. As we have seen in his trilogy so far, Wickramasinghe's sensitive psychological portrayal is also evident in this work.

And we cannot overlook the presence of Tissa, who takes a step back from Merlin's infatuation with socialist ideology and his infatuation with the labor movement. He sees that simply raising ideals and starting a riot to criticize the capitalists will not save many ordinary citizens. So what should we do?" With these questions in mind, Merlin, Tissa, and Alawinda, a doctor, each try their best to survive.

I found Wickramasinghe's deep human insight in not simply saying, "Capitalists are evil. I felt that Wickramasinghe's deep insight into human beings was in the fact that he did not stop at "defeating them will solve everything.

In this trilogy, Wickramasinghe depicts Sri Lanka in a turbulent period of long colonial rule, caste issues, ethnic conflict, widening inequality, and political turmoil.

Wickramasinghe's novels will be the best guide to the state of Sri Lanka.

Martin WickramasingheThe Path of the Lotus

lotus-shaped path

The trilogy introduced above is just wonderful, and I have become a fan of Wickramasinghe's work, but "The Lotus Path" introduced here also has a slightly different atmosphere from the above trilogy, while still feeling Wickramasinghe's style.

The above trilogy was a novel that also had a journalistic aspect, as it depicted Sri Lankan society in the first half of the 20th century.

In contrast, "The Lotus Path" dives deeper and deeper into the inner life of a single person. There are no major incidents in this novel. However, the protagonist's sensitive and complex inner life is skillfully portrayed.

What came to me as I read this piece was, "Oh...! Literature! I thought to myself, "This is literature.

It's literature, THE literature.

This work has been called a milestone in Sri Lankan literature. Well, this is a profound work.

Edirivila SarachandraThe Deceased.

the deceased

I picked up this piece from Mamoru Shono, whom I have previously mentioned on this blog.Adventures in Sri Lankan Studies."It was introduced in the following way in

Through the medium of television, "Oshin" became the most famous Japanese female name in Sri Lanka. However, until "Oshin" appeared in Sri Lanka, "Noriko" was the most popular name. On the streets of Colombo, there are several women's clothing stores with signs saying "NORIKO". This is because a famous Sri Lankan contemporary novel describes a Japanese woman named "Noriko".

The author Edirivila Saratchandra's two novels set in Japan, "Malagi at (The Deceased)" (1959) and "Malange auruda (The Day of the Dead)" (1965), are two of the most read Sinhala novels to date. These two novels are probably the most widely read Sinhalese novels to date. The Japanese edition of "The Deceased" and "Omeibi" has been published in two parts, one part and the other part, in a single novel volume. The translator is Tadashi Noguchi, whose life's work is the study of Sinhalese literature. Mr. Noguchi majored in Sinhalese literature at the University of Peradeniya.

The encounter and parting of a Sri Lankan painter returning from London and a Japanese woman. The story takes place in Okusawa, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo in the 1950s, when Sri Lanka was economically richer than Japan. In those days, Sri Lankans and Japanese may have met on a more equal footing than now.

Noriko, who works at Midori Izakaya, meets the painter Dewendra, with whom she slowly falls in love. The main character, a Sri Lankan living in Japan, seems to be the alter ego of the artist, who was invited and spent a year in Japan. Noriko and the Sri Lankan painter talk about traditional Japanese arts such as kabuki, tea ceremony, and Japanese cuisine. The artist, attracted by ukiyoe, came to Japan to study woodblock prints.

When I arrived in Japan, the first thing I noticed was the abundance of color everywhere I turned, and I had never seen such a country before. Even the knick-knacks we use every day, such as matchboxes and teacups, are beautifully shaped and painted with beautiful colors, and this way of life, surrounded by such beauty, is what I saw as the ultimate aesthetic sense that the Japanese respect."

Sinhalese readers learned about Japan through this novel. The text's expression, filled with a sense of color, captivated readers and became a bestseller. (omitted).

Parts of this novel were published in textbooks from the 1960s to the 1970s, and had a major impact on the perception of Japan among young Sri Lankans at the time.

Do you know Noriko?"

And the fact that Sri Lankans would suddenly ask, "How did you get here?" is a testament to the novel's influence.

Minamifune Hokumasha and Mamoru Shono, Adventures in Sri Lankan Studies, p. 171-174.

I was surprised that there was a Sri Lankan novel that had more influence than that "Oshin" novel.

The author, Saratchandra, actually visited Japan in 1955, and it is evident that the intense experience he had there has strongly influenced this book.

In particular, in the first part, "The Deceased," the narrative is primarily directed at Dewendra, a Sri Lankan painter. The story vividly depicts what Japan was like at that time as seen from his gentile perspective. As the above commentary has already given a glimpse of, Sri Lankans at that time imagined the country of Japan from reading this novel.

I picked up this book thinking that this work must be valuable in understanding how Sri Lankans viewed Japan at that time.

And after reading the book, I cannot help but wonder how the author, Saratchandra, was able to describe in such detail the mind of a Japanese woman, the unique mental climate of Japan, and the work environment. If I were to visit Sri Lanka, I am not at all confident that I would be able to observe the society in such detail. I can only take my hat off to Saratchandra's powers of observation and insight.

It was very meaningful for me to be able to taste in this way the works of two of Sri Lanka's greatest artists, along with Wickramasinghe.

Edirivila SarachandraTomorrow won't be so dark."

Tomorrow won't be so dark.

In contrast to "The Deceased," which is set in Japan, this film is about the 1971 armed uprising that rocked Sri Lanka.

I picked up the book not because I wanted to learn more about the 1971 riots, but out of curiosity that Saratchandra's other novels besides "The Deceased" were available in Japanese.

However, when I read this "For Japanese Readers," I was shocked to learn that "Sri Lanka, like Japan, also had an armed uprising by students who were inspired by Marxist thought.

Moreover, the year 1971 is very close to the time when student conflicts were taking place in Japan.

I have been Toshio ShibuyaSri Lanka Today Magazine.and Yoshio SugimotoThe Legacy of Buddhist Modernism."I have been reading books about the civil war in Sri Lanka, such as, and I had a strong image in my mind that the riots and civil war in Sri Lanka were due to Buddhist nationalism and ethnic conflicts.

However, through this novel, I became painfully aware that the armed uprising of 1971 was clearly an aspect of class struggle by students influenced by Marxist ideology.

After all, Marx has shown his face here as well...and I was left scratching my head.

That being said, I also learned about Marx in the course of my previous study on the subject of "Shinran and Dostoevsky". And in the process, I updated the article with the question, "Is Marx a religious phenomenon?

In the process, I also learned about the student conflicts in Japan and why students fought so hard and why terrorists caused so many incidents. The world depicted in this novel seemed to overlap with these very things.

'The same thing was happening in Sri Lanka...'

I thought the civil war in Sri Lanka was primarily about Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, but apparently I may have oversimplified that..."

These thoughts came to my mind.

In fact, I picked up this book exactly two days before I left for India and Sri Lanka. The book arrived to me at the very last minute.

I was indeed astonished when I read this "For Japanese Readers" on a trial basis, thinking that I had no more time to read it. I had no choice but to read this book! I threw away all my preparations for departure and other things, and read this book in one sitting.

I am so glad I came across this book before my departure. I feel that my feelings about Sri Lanka have deepened because I was able to read this book. After all, Marx's influence was powerful in the hearts and minds of the youth here as well.

The novel is brilliant in that it does not present a single point of view, but rather depicts the armed uprising of 1971 from various perspectives, including those of the main character, the students, the professors, and the police. Moreover, each of the students and professors has his or her own thoughts and position. I felt that the film did not depict them in a formulaic manner, but rather realistically depicted the development of the events in line with their actual lives.

Dr. Barton will show understanding to his students, but will also suffer from an irresistible fear that things will get worse. We, the readers, will share that fear and confusion.

The more I read, the more words I want to wrap my head around. Marxism incites hatred. Will the world really be a better place after all the destruction and carnage based on that hatred? In the end, the revolutionary elites will remain in their positions of power and the world will suffer even more. One cannot help but feel this fear when studying the history of the Soviet Union and the former communist bloc.

I cannot help but feel a sense of connection with this novel and its timing. I strongly feel that I had to read this novel before going to Sri Lanka.

This work is also a very important insight into the student conflict in Japan.

As a novel, it is very easy to read and I read through it in one sitting. He is indeed a leading Sri Lankan writer.

Translated by Yoshio Takeuchi, ed.The Three Princes of Serendip.

selenium dip

Here are some recommended literary works about Sri Lanka, although they are not exactly Sri Lankan literature.

The Three Princes of Serendip is known as the origin story of the word serendipity.

"We discover by chance and wisdom that which we do not seek."

This is the meaning of the word serendipity.

And surprisingly, the book "The Three Princes of Serendip" itself was not told in Sri Lanka, but is a Sri Lankan fairy tale that was told in Persia. Sri Lanka is merely the country of origin of the princes and the setting of the story. However, even for the Persians of the time, there must have been something about Sri Lanka that made them long for it and imagine it as a paradise.

In this book, illustrations are inserted and kanji characters are furigana-ed so that even children can read easily. This book is recommended for children's education, as well as for students and adults.

It is quite an exciting experience to be able to read the work that is the originator of the famous word serendipity.

In my case, I also wanted to learn more about Sri Lanka, which made it even more interesting reading.

Arthur C. ClarkeLooking at the World from Sri Lanka.

Viewing the World from Sri Lanka

Arthur C. Clarke is a master of science fiction who, along with Stanley Kubrick, created that film "2001: A Space Odyssey.

How Arthur C. Clarke loved Sri Lanka and wrote an essay expressing his feelings about Sri Lanka!

When I learned of this, I did not hesitate to pick up this book.

The book begins with the essay "Of Serendipity". The word "serendipity" is a word associated with Sri Lanka. Serendipity is a word that is associated with Sri Lanka: "When you are looking for something, you will find an unexpected find. The word "serendipity" originally comes from the Sri Lankan term "serendip". Arthur C. Clarke begins the book by explaining the origin of the word and how he himself came to serendipitously discover the island of Sri Lanka.

In the middle of the book, there is a 20-page introduction about Sri Lanka, which is a great commentary by a master.

As someone who wants to know more about Sri Lanka, it was very satisfying to read this gem of an essay about the country.

2001: A Space Odyssey" is one of the most well-known masterpieces of all time, but this is the first time I have learned that the author loved Sri Lanka. I am sure that some of you may have been surprised by this. I would be very happy if this book could be a starting point for you to become interested in Sri Lanka. I highly recommend this book.


Now that we have introduced various genres of Sri Lankan books, what do you think?

There are many more books that we could not introduce in this article.

To learn more about Sri Lankan Buddhism, we have also included a book on this blog, which you can read here.Category pageWe hope that you will refer to the following.

Sri Lanka is interesting! I never imagined that I would be so absorbed in it. This country will be a very important comparison for Japan.

The above is a list of recommended books to learn about the Buddhist country of Sri Lanka - Buddhism, history, literature, and other unknown attractions! The above is the "List of recommended books to learn about the Buddhist country of Sri Lanka!

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