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Protestant Buddhism

Protestant Buddhism refers to a certain genre of Buddhist beliefs and practices that developed in the mid-to late 19th century, particularly in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), among middle-and upper-class urban Buddhist laity as a result of contact with European and American Protestant missionaries, colonial officers, and Orientalists. The term Protestant Buddhism was first coined by the Sri Lanka historian/anthropologist Gananath Obyesekere in 1970 as constituting a theoretical ideal type, and it represents an early form of global religion in two senses: On the one hand, the historical phenomenon that Obeyesekere describes, the collaborations and contestations between Theravada Buddhists and Western Protestants, constitutes one significant 19th-century type of transregional religious encounter. On the other hand, the theoretical category that Obeyesekere creates represents an important early attempt to ...

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