This chapter provides a synopsis of Dharmapala’s early career. He perceived his mission to be the restoration of Buddhism in its place of birth, India, and the refashioning of its practice in Sri Lanka. His predominant aim was to reclaim for the Buddhists the custody of Buddhagaya. He also had an interest in propagating a modern philosophy and practice of Buddhism and forging links among Buddhists world-wide. Dharmapala was also an early enthusiast of the American theosophists led by Col Olcott who took a keen interest in the Buddhist revival in Sri Lanka. However, Dharmapala soon became disillusioned with them and parted company, forming his own organization, the Mahabodhi Society, to spearhead the Buddhagaya campaign. The chapter concludes with a description of the economic and social transformations that took place under the aegis of colonialism around the turn of the twentieth century and the beginning of the Buddhist revival as a reaction to it.
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