An idealized view of the lifestyle of a Buddhist monk might be described according to the doctrinal demand for emotional detachment and, ultimately, the cessation of all desire. Yet monks are also enjoined to practice compassion, and live with every other human feeling while relating to other monks and the lay community. This book looks at how emotion determines and influences the commitments that laypeople and monastics make to each other and to the Buddhist religion in general. By focusing on “multimoment” histories, it highlights specific junctures in which ideas about recruitment, vocation, patronage, and institution-building are negotiated and refined. The book illustrates how aesthetic responses trigger certain emotions, and how personal and shared emotions, at the local level, shape notions of beauty. It reveals the negotiated character of lay-monastic relations and temple management. In the fields of religion and Buddhist studies there has been a growing recognition of the need to examine affective dimensions of religion. The book breaks new ground in that it answers questions about Buddhist emotions and the constitutive roles they play in social life and religious practice through a close, poignant look at small-scale temple and social networks. The book conveys the manner in which Buddhists describe their own histories, experiences, and encounters as they relate to the formation and continuation of Buddhist monastic culture in contemporary Sri Lanka.