Historical, anthropological, and philosophical in approach, Buddha in the Crown is a case study in religious and cultural change. It examines the various ways in which Avalokitesvara, the most well known and proliferated bodhisattva of Mahayana Buddhism throughout south, southeast, and east Asia, was assimilated into the transforming religious culture of Sri Lanka, one of the most pluralistic in Asia. Exploring the expressions of the bodhisattva's cult in Sanskrit and Sinhala literature, in iconography, epigraphy, ritual, symbol, and myth, the author develops a provocative thesis regarding the dynamics of religious change. Interdisciplinary in scope, addressing a wide variety of issues relating to Buddhist thought and practice, and providing new and original information on the rich cultural history of Sri Lanka, this book will interest students of Buddhism and South Asia.
"Holt beautifully articulates the assimilation and transformation of Avalokitesvara in Sri Lanka by weaving together evidence drawn from historical and religious treatises, stone inscriptions, oral traditions, and icons."--Journal of Asian Studies
"This is an important book for a number of reasons....Holt adds to a small but increasing body of works that are slowly redirecting Buddist studies from transnational to national issues."--Theosophical History
"A well-written, systematically organized, and coherent account of Mahayanism...An excellent overview of the history and "Global" significance of the Avalokitesvara cult in Buddhist culture."--History of Religions