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Thus in practical life the gap between the "great tradition" of canonical Buddhism and the average person's world of everyday experience is bridged by a complex round of ceremonies, rituals, and devotional practices that are hardly visible within the canonical texts themselves.

Rather, they should come to recognize the devotional manifestation of Buddhism as an essential feature of the tradition, needed to mediate between its exalted ideals and the everyday concerns of the vast majority of its followers. However, side by side with this austere, intellectually sophisticated Buddhism of the texts, we find in Sri Lanka a warm current of devotional Buddhism practiced by the general Buddhist populace, who may have only a hazy idea of the Buddhist doctrine.

Certainly they would have done so shortly after the Parinibbana, as is amply demonstrated by the funeral rites themselves, according to the testimony of the Maha-parinibbana Sutta.

The Buddha also encouraged a devotional attitude when he recommended pilgrimages to the four places that can inspire a faithful devotee: the places where he was born, attained Enlightenment, preached the first sermon, and attained Parinibbana (D.ii,140).

Madhudvisa dasa My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there.For Buddhism, devotion does not mean submitting oneself to the will of a God or taking refuge in an external Saviour, but an ardent feeling of love and affection (pema) directed towards the Teacher who shows the way to freedom from suffering.Such an attitude inspires the devotee to follow the Master's teaching faithfully and earnestly through all the hurdles that lie along the way to Nibbana. Thus the votaries of a "pristine pure Buddhism" posited on the basis of the canonical texts should not ignore or devalue this aspect of Buddhism as an alien encroachment on the Buddha's original doctrine. This school of Buddhism emphasizes the Four Noble Truths as the framework of Buddhist doctrine and the Noble Eightfold Path as the direct route to Nibbana, the final goal of the Teaching. I also hope that this survey will demonstrate that the expression of Buddhist piety in devotional forms is a necessity if Buddhism is to survive at the popular level as a vital and vibrant force in the daily life of its adherents. Kariyawasam Sri Lanka is generally regarded as the home of the pure Theravada form of Buddhism, which is based on the Pali canon.

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