South Asia vs Southeast Asia

Is Sri Lanka considered a part of South Asia or Southeast Asia?

In what respect do you ask? The answer might differ depending on the particulars.

Just generally. I don’t really know.

I was wondering if you could say that Theravāda Buddhism has an unbroken tradition of practice in South Asia or not, and I realized, that kind-of hinges on Sri Lanka. At least as far as I am aware, unless I’m forgetting a whole country, which is quite possible.

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I think it is part of South Asia, not Southeast Asia. I just looked at a proper globe, and it is very far away from Indonesia, etc.

Looking at maps online, everything tends to looks a bit clustered randomly.

This is very quick fire, in a brief moment of procrastination, so apologies if I’ve misunderstood your point, and likewise, if I’m mistaken, but how does it hinge on Sri Lanka? I was under the impression Buddhism died out in Sri Lanka at one point and they had to request a mission from… was it Burma or something?.. it reinstate it.


South Asia

They reinstated the sangha, afaik. They requested ordination lines and the presence of ordained monks.

But my thinking is they sent the request because they were still Buddhists, the monastic lines had simply ceased to produce new monastics at some time in the past.

Similar to when a Catholic communitiy runs out of priests and they send a letter to Rome.

Imagine if Rome ran out of priests (for X amount of time, a long while or a short while) and sent a letter to Ireland asking them to reinstate the priesthood. It strikes me as the same situation, hypothetically.

Obviously Catholic priests and Buddhist monks play different roles, but I think the parallelism remains.

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Nadine is right to ask this question. Geography, like most academic disciplines, creates categories that occasionally require subjective judgment. In the case of Geography specifically, when grouping together political units (e.g., countries) one has to take into consideration not only physical location, but also culture, history, language, religion, etc., not to mention political authority itself.

Thus, for example, Russia and Turkey are both said to straddle Asia and Europe, keeping in mind that “Asia” and “Europe” themselves are defined somewhat arbitrarily as two parts of the Eurasian land mass.

Having said that, I think most geographers would place Sri Lanka in what is commonly referred to as South Asia, as distinguished from Southeast Asia, to the extent that these are useful categories for evaluating theories of human interactions that take geography as a variable. To the extent that they are not useful categories they remain simply terms of convenience.


It’s a South Asian country, if this entry is considered accurate:

Also since I lived there for 30 years.

With metta

Matheesha :grin:

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