Senasinghe R. D. Local correspondents of Ivan P. Minayev: new evidences on his voyage (1874) to Ceylon
Ranjana Devamitra SENASINGHE — Postgraduate student, RUDN (Russia, Moscow; Sri Lanka)
ABSTRACT. The article draws upon the epistolary materials of Ivan Pavlovich Minayev, State Councilor, Professor of Oriental Faculty of the Imperial Saint Peters- burg University. During the last quarter of the 19th century, this prominent Russian Orientalist, Indologist and Buddhologist established strong scientific, educational, cultural, pedagogical, organizational and personal relations with the representatives of the Ceylonese Buddhist Sangha as well as with broader circles of the Ceylonese society. I. P. Minayev’s legacy is of perpetual interest in regard to his due to his valua- ble contribution to the formation of the Indological School in Russia. This remarkable scholar was primarily interested in studying southern Buddhism and Pali, the main language of the Buddhist canon in Ceylon. Contacts with local people were very im- portant for Minayev in to organising his travel around the island, without their assis- tance, obtaining Pali manuscripts, studying religion in Ceylon or to be acquainted with the learned monks as it was impossible to do so without their assistance. He even initiated warm relations with some getting monks such as Sri Subhuthi thero. However, Minayev also encountered incomprehension and alienation from some other scien- tists; and even jealousy on the part of some West European colleagues. Nevertheless, Minayev initiated the tradition of direct contacts between Russia and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka)which continued in the 20th century.
KEYWORDS: I. P. Minayev, Ceylon, correspondence, Sinhalese Buddhism
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