Anagarika Dharmapala


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Also known as Venerable Devamitta Dharmapāla. Born in 1864 as David Hevāvitārana, he was the founder of ‘Protestant Buddhism’. Born into a Buddhist family, he was educated at Christian mission schools. In 1880 he came into contact with theosophy and after renouncing his European name, he moved to their Society headquarters, near Madras, where he studied Buddhism and learned Pāli. Once he returned to Sri Lanka he became manager of the Buddhist Theosophical Society.which he left in 1890. In the following years he travelled extensively, making Buddhists in different Asian countries aware of each other and promoting Buddhism in the West. In 1891 he founded the Mahabodhi Society, whose primary goal was to regain control of the site of the Buddha's enlightenment (Bodhgayā) and to sponsor Sinhala Buddhist monasteries outside Sri Lanka. He was exiled in 1915 for political activities and ended his days as an ordained member of the Saṃgha. See also anagārika.

Subjects: Buddhism.

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