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Living Buddhist History

1 reviewHabaraduwa, Sri Lanka

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Experience hosted by Mary

3.5 hours
Includes food, drinks
Up to 8 people
Hosted in English

What you'll do

Over a snack and tea, we will start by planning the day and a consideration of Sri Lanka’s religious history. We will discuss the Buddha in his historical context of the 5th c. BCE. We will ask ourselves, how did Buddhism differ from other contemporary Indian religious traditions, why and how did it travel beyond the borders of India? What did this religion bring to Sri Lanka, why was its message so compelling to Sinhalese society?
After this introduction, we will go out to explore the arts and symbolism of a Buddhist temple. We will ask: how does the exuberant imagery define the religious message? What are the rituals and teaching methods of the faith? What is the difference between philosophical and performative traditions in Theravada Buddhism? What is the place of the monastic community? How is Sri Lankan Theravada Buddhism both similar and different from other expressions of the faith? What are the challenges facing Buddhism in the 21st century and how can Sri Lankan Buddhism adapt to the ethical concerns of an increasingly secular world? There will be time for photography and quick sketching, valuable observation skills.
We will conclude our exploration with a traditional vegetarian meal and a brief discussion of the Dhammapada, an essential Theravada text, beloved by millions of Theravada practitioners.
Over a snack and tea, we will start by planning the day and a consideration of Sri Lanka’s religious history. We will discuss the Buddha in his historical context of the 5th c. BCE. We will ask ourselves, how did Buddhism differ from other contemporary Indian religious traditions, why and how did it travel beyond the borders of India? What did this religion bring to Sri Lanka, why was its message so compelling to Sinhalese society?
After th…

Mary's commitment to safety

This host committed to Airbnb’s COVID-19-related safety and cleaning guidelines—including adhering to social distancing guidelines, practicing good hygiene, and ensuring that all participants wear a mask.
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What's included

  • Food
    Our meal will be a traditional Sri Lankan vegetarian Buddhist meal.
  • Drinks
    Drinks will be provided with a traditional Sri Lankan vegetarian lunch.
From $30
/ person
Mon, Nov 2
9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
$30 per person
$30 per person
Mon, Nov 16
9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
$30 per person
$30 per person

Meet your host, Mary

Host on Airbnb since 2015
  • 1 Review
  • Identity verified
I have lived in South Asia for 25 years. I have a MA in East Asian Studies (Stanford University 1986) and a Ph.D. in South Asian Art History (UCLA 1999). I am the author of numerous articles and a book on the religious arts of the Indian Subcontinent. I have taught art history and archaeology at both American and Indian universities. Classrooms are great places to learn, but on site exploration is priceless. Let me guide you on a visit to a local Buddhist temple and a consideration of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Learn the how and why of Buddhism in Sri Lanka and its long historic expression in the arts and architecture of the country.
I have lived in South Asia for 25 years. I have a MA in East Asian Studies (Stanford University 1986) and a Ph.D. in South Asian Art History (UCLA 1999). I am the author of numerous articles and a book on the religious arts of the Indian Subcontinent. I have taught art history and archaeology at both American and Indian universities. Classrooms are great places to learn, but on site exploration is priceless. Let me guide you on a visit to a local Buddhist temple and a consideration of Theravada…
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Where you'll be

We will visit Buddhist temples in Galle Fort and at Yattigala., both temples have the basic structure: stupa, image hall and lecture hall. the Yattigala is famous for its ancient Bodhi tree and cave shrines. Our traditional lunch will be at Sri Mathie in Habaraduwa.

1 review

Srinivas
February 2020
Best Airbnb experience ever! I and my wife had a great time learning about Sri Lankan Buddhism. Mary gave us typed notes and took us to a nice Buddhist temple. We really enjoyed talking to her on various topics in her lovely home full of art and antiques set in a 7 acre plantation. The lunch was sumptuous and a very generous multi-course Sri Lanka vegetarian meal followed by dessert and tea. Mary even gave us fresh pepper from her property to take away. The whole experience was seamless and well executed, from Tuk Tuk pick up from our hotel to drop off. Don’t miss this intellectually stimulating experience in a relaxing environment.
Best Airbnb experience ever! I and my wife had a great time learning about Sri Lankan Buddhism. Mary gave us typed notes and took us to a nice Buddhist temple. We really enjoyed ta…

Choose from available dates

2 available
  • Mon, Nov 2
    9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
    $30 per person
  • Mon, Nov 16
    9:30 AM - 1:00 PM
    $30 per person

Things to know

Cancellation policy

Any experience can be canceled and fully refunded within 24 hours of purchase, or at least 7 days before the experience starts.

Guest requirements

Up to 8 guests ages 15 and up can attend.

More tips

Please dress modestly, sleeves on shirts, long trousers or mid-calf skirts. Sri Lankans are deeply devout. It is traditional, although not strictly, necessary to wear white clothes when visiting a temple. Be prepared to remove your shoes.

What to bring

Notebook and pen, camera or sketch pad