Graduate Students

Nilmani Abeywickrama Goonetilleke


Nilmani ( joined the Department for the Study of Religion as an MA student under the supervision of Dr. Christoph Emmrich in fall 2016. She has a background as an IT developer in the Production, Manufacturing, Telecommunication, Financial and Securities industry prior to pursuing academic studies at the University of Toronto. Nilmani received her Honours Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto in 2015, with a specialist in Anthropology and a minor in Environment Management. She is currently studying Pāli language under Dr. Libbie Mills and is interested in Buddhism and Anthropology, especially Theravada Buddhism in
Sri Lanka.
Nilmani will be analyzing the role of the popular Vessantara Jātaka narrative in funerary rites among Sri Lankan Buddhists. Her research will unveil how the Buddhist community of Sri Lanka copes with the separation from loved ones at death through Buddhist narratives that focus on the merit of giving in life. Nilmani will also analyze the Sinhala folk poems on the Vessantara Jātaka and examine rituals across religious lines in Sri Lanka. She intends her research to not only serve academic ends, but to have it benefit future generations beyond the scholarly community.