Tamil Buddhism in Sri Lanka

Found an interesting article confirming most of what I already knew. Figured I’d share

It’s interesting to me that in Sri Lanka/Tamil Nadu there’s this big argument that buddhism= sinhalese and hinduism= tamil. It seems Sri Lankan government is the main proponent for this ideology, forgetting that the majority of Tamil had been buddhists.

I wonder if Tamil Buddhism will ever come back in my life time. I imagine it would do alot of good for clearing out Sinhalese nationalism.


More interesting posts on Tamil Buddhism. Upon doing further research, it seems that the problem in reality boils down to Sinhalese/Theravada nationalism vs Hindutva supremacy. Dalits converting to Buddhism in the Tamil Nadu are accused of being sinhalese and are abused for trying to escape their caste. Then the Sinhalese nationalists abuse the Tamil and attempt to take over their land.

Ultimately it’s just racist nationalism under a thinly veiled guise of religious conflict.
What a heart breaking and bizarre situation.


That’s a nice article, thanks!

FYI, we have some Tamil translations on SuttaCentral. And when we did our major SC launch in Sri Lanka, Deepika, though not a native Tamil speaker, took the trouble to translate and read her address in Tamil.

I’d also like to just acknowledge the Sri Lankan community of Australia, who have stood up for peace and reconciliation, as have, in my experience, the diplomatic community here. The problem, as usual, is not with people, but with money and power.


The flip side of this is that many Sinhala Buddhist practice things that an outside observer would clearly classify as Hindu. My understanding is also that mainstream Thai culture is also infused with Hinduism in ways that have been papered over, also in the name of nationalist Theravada Buddhsm.

For example, many people in SL will make vows to gods at shrines hoping for some positive outcome. A single coin is wrapped in cloth and tied to part of the shrine. Sinhala people use white cloth and Tamil people use red.


In Sydney, they love to visit the local Murugan temple, which is very lovely.


Love this :heart_eyes:

No problem Bhante!

Wait, we have tamil translations?? That’s amazing. I feel like I learn new things about SuttaCentral sometimes and it always makes me happy inside.
Deepika has a good heart, took alot to be the one to translate them! I’m glad for her existence X).


Oh my gosh, yes! I think, in my opinion, that the nature of buddhism inherently allows for heavy syncretism. What we see in places like mainstram thai and sri lankan culture shows the wonderful capability buddhism has to play with and enhance and be enhanced by the local customs. We see reflections of this in tibetan, japanese, filipino, Middle eastern and mongolian cultures fantastically.

I think the tragedy of buddhist nationalism isn’t just the fixture of a self used to hurt people, though it’s a big part of it, but that the beautiful jewel that is dhamma and how open it is universally under a heap of flesh and blood. When we deny the ability of the Dhamma to be seen in different lenses, we stop seeing the glitter of the jewel and cover it up with foulness.

Though, the jewel is still there of course :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

On that note, eventually the flesh and blood of nationalism will be wiped off from the jewel.

Woah. I wonder why the cloth, and those colours in particular? Reminds me of khata in tibet.