Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

5 - Monastic Connections between Burma and Sri Lanka from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries

Saturday, July 7
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Maple, Lower Ground Floor

Addressing Burma's contacts with Sri Lanka, the existing scholarship has provided quite different evaluations of their extent. While some earlier scholars, as well as the prevailing opinion in the Buddhist communities of both countries, hold that there existed strong and stable historical relationship between Burmese and Sinhalese monks that was strengthened by mutual import of monastic ordination, more recent studies have argued that there existed substantial barriers to sustained exchanges.


This paper will reexamine the available evidence on the communication Burmese Buddhist monks had with the saṃgha of Sri Lanka between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries and factors that likely were instrumental in this process. Besides providing a timeline and general overview of known missions, the presentation will discuss the issues of mobility of Burmese monastics, the significance of religious travel for monastic careers, transportation networks available for travel to Sri Lanka, and non-Buddhist agents that facilitated long-distance communication for landlocked communities in Upper Burma.


Alexey Kirichenko

Moscow State University, Russia

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5 - Monastic Connections between Burma and Sri Lanka from the Fifteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries



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