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A Political Geography of Deities: Space and the Pantheon in Sinhalese Buddhism
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 43, No. 2 (Feb., 1984), pp. 273-291
Published by: Association for Asian Studies
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2055314
Page Count: 19
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Deities, Buddhism, Vishnu, Territories, Religious rituals, Political systems, Rice, Political integration, Delegation of authority, Kingdoms
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The author of this article examines the role of Sinhalese Buddhist deities within the long Sinhalese tradition of using Buddhism to support political authority. Extensive contemporary information on deity territories suggests that because state political integration involves territorial integration localized deities have both reflected and been used to bring about an integration of local people into state administrative structures. However, this integration is not brought about by having the territories of the deities parallel administrative units (which they do not); it is brought about by having people think that they do, think that the territories of the gods correspond level by level to the administrative villages, districts, and provinces. As the relationship between these levels and the state has changed historically, that is, when center-hinterland integration has gone from strong to weak to strong again, people's understanding of the pantheon appears to have changed as well.
The Journal of Asian Studies © 1984 Association for Asian Studies