This volume explores the relation of Buddhism to Greek cosmology, its contacts with West Asia, and parallels to Christianity. The interpretation of Adibuddha as a theistic concept has been elucidated Buddhist period of Classical Afghanistan, a new identification of the colossi of Bamiyan, and the 108 symbols on the feet of the Buddhas are the way on the physical and divine planes. Several Khotanese panels, murals and icons have been identified anew on the six Annals of the kingdom in Tibetan. The role of the Suvarnabhasa-sutra in the polity of Central Asia and thence in East Asia had been discussed. The Lotus sutra was transmitted to China and Japan and become a dominant underpinning of their political and religious culture. The mind-group of East Asian art is a general survey of the aesthetic principles evolved in this region. The walling up of the Library cave of Tunhuang was due to a fundamentalist threat, the artistic journey of fourteen centuries of Japanese Buddhism is presented. Silent letters in Tibetan orthography and the ambulatory of the Tabo cella are discussed. Buddhism in Mongolia gave a splendid art and rich literature to the people. Ajanta as the aesthesis of beauty and beyond the thirtythree koti deities, Tantras as transcendence and tumescence, the cousin cultures of India and Iran, Chandi Sukuh as a political statement, the Indonesian word Candi as an architectural term, identification of Buddhist bronzes of Java, and Central Asia as the Path of Sutras (and not as the Silk Route), and other studies enrich our understanding of the art and thought, polity and civilization of the countries of Asia.
This volume of 477 pages is a collection of the research papers of Prof. Lokesh Chandra written over the last fifteen years on the evolution of Buddhist thought and its spread over vast areas of Asia.
Areas of interest: Buddhism, history of art, philosophy and the general history of various countries (India, Afghanistan, Iran, central Asia, China, Japan, Tibet, Mongolia, Cambodia, Indonesia), and Cultural globalism.
Prof. Lokesh Chandra is a renowned scholar of Tibetan, Mongolian and Sino-Japanesa Buddhism. He has to his credit over 400 works and text editions. Among them are classics like his Tibetan-Sanskrit Dictionary, Materials for a history of Tibetan Literature, Buddhist Iconography of Tibet, and the Dictionary of Buddhist Iconography in 15 volumes. Prof. Lokesh Chandra was nominated be the president of the Republic of India to the parliament in 1974-80 and again in 1980-86. He has been a vice-president of the Indian Council for cultural Relations and chairman of the Indian Council of Historical Research, presently he is Director, International Academy of Indian culture.
This volume gathers my thoughts across the silent void of the decade, penned down as responses to questions raised about the substance and shadows of values in Buddhist texts and traditions; or to identify images freed from the illusion of time; or contributions to seminars. Buddhism is homocentric as compared to the revealed, religious and a Human way to wisdom, morality and meditation to "develop a boundless heart towards all creatures" (Sutta-nipata). The volume begins with Buddhist values as the human imperative. The Bodhi of the Buddha has its precursor in the ksatriya traditions of Brahman in the Upanisads. The open palm of the Buddha, the immense horizons of sunyata, the multiformity of truth (S) and the enigmatic semantics of nirvana are the manysplendored expansion of the Human spirit. I go on to the magnificent role of Emperor Asoka in giving a social content to Buddhism and to spread its lofty message across the world in a new vision of international dialogue to enrich humanity in the floating splendour of the multiple (30-37). With his eightyfour thousand stupas across the vast stretches of India, Emperor Asoka integrated local variations as life-friendly trends, in full participation of the people, leading to the gradual evolution of patterns that were given the name of Mahayana in later times. The within and the beyond were the centrality of human existence (38-43). The Bodhisattva did not go into nirvana and worked for the welfare of all beings till they attain nirvana.
The comparison of Buddhism to Greek through and its cosmology, the principle of Papa and Punya in the matrix of karma vis-s-vis 'original sin' and the potential Buddhahood of all beings has been detailed in a creative encounter so vital to our present times. The contacts of India with West Asia have led to parallels in Buddhist legends and the Bible, to the Holy Grail which was the alms bowl of the Buddha that went from Parthia to the West, and to many other points of contact (49-60). The philosophy of existentialism is in contrast to transcendence: Nietzsche's God is dead' is human are potential Buddhas' of Buddhas (61-62). Besides several political events that led to the decline of Buddhism in India, was its lack of ritual the cornerstone of social relevance of any religion (63-66).
Buddhism was visual presence on the table of Mahatma Gandhi in the form of three monkeys presented to him by the Japanese bhiksu Venerable Fuji Guruji. They were mi-zaru, kika-zaru, iwa-zaru "not to see evil, not to speak evil and not to hear evil" (67-71). Japan played a crucial role in the cultural development of India via the dialogue between Okakura Tenshin and poet Rabindranath Tagore. I have tried to see the wealth of this sharing in the common Buddhist heritage of India and Japan (72-75).
The concept of Adibuddha has been clarified for the first time from the Buddhist tradition itself, after freeing it from the theistic (aisvarika) imposition of Hodgson (83-89).
A general survey of the flow of Buddhism from India to other Asian countries (96-110) is followed by a study of the classical culture of Bhutan leading to the revolutionary concept of Gross National Happiness enunciated by his Majesty the King of Bhutan (112-116). The Buddhapada worshipped for centuries has 108 symbols each on the soles of both feet. They represent the realm of humans, of gods and of Braham, to which Buddhism Journeys in the physical level as well as on the planes of the divine (deva) and meditation (Brahman, 117-139).
The Prajnaparamita if Ta Prohm in Cambodia was sanctification of the power of Jayavarman VII by his mother enshrined as the mother of Jinas (140-146). Classical Afghanistan was Gandhara or the land of the perfume of Cultural from the Rgveda down to the Buddhist period, celebrated in many ways including ga (ndhara) as the name of one of the seven notes of the Indian musical scale (147-156). The etymology of the name colossi have been identified afresh, along with the specification of the Sutra they represent (157-166)
Several Khotanese panels and murals have been identified anew on the basis of the six annals of Khotan in Tibetan and the Suvarna-bhasottama-sutra (Suv). The Suv was a palladium of the kingdom of khotan. The drum of desana (ch.3), the four Lokapalas (ch.6), Sri (ch.8), the earth Goddess (ch. 10), Samjnaya and Twentyeight Yaksa Generals (ch. 11), Devendra-samaya or textbook on polity (ch. 12), yaksas (ch.14), and Hariti are represented in the Khotanese tradition from this Sutra (167-185). The glamorous mural from the shrine DII at Dandan-uiliq represents Hariti from the Suv. (186-196). The ivory plaque from Yotkan is a poignant reminder of the tenth century when rituals were undertaken for the protection of Khotan during the forty years of a war with Islamised Kashgar (197-205).
A mural from Qumtura showing Bodhisattva Siddhartha's first day at school is a vivid depiction of the scene as narrated in the Lalita-vistara (206-209)
Transmission of the Louts Sutra to China and thence to Japan recounts the historic contribution of Kumarajiva in making it a dominant underpinning of the political and religious culture of East Asia (210-213). The next write up is a general statement of Sanskrit in China (214-217), followed by the practice of ahimsa in China from ancient times till today in the rite of buying and releasing animals to be slaughtered (218-220). The subtle and profound expression of the mind in Chinese art from the third millennium BC to its classical enunciation in the Six aspects of Hsieh ho vis-à-vis the six elements of painting in the Kamasutra, the relationship of art and through/religion, the seven characteristics of Zen aesthetics are detailed in 'The mind-ground of East Asian art' (221-233). The impending dangers of fundamentalism in the 10th century led to the walling up of the Library Cave 17 of Tun-huang (234-242). Cultural and civilization accents impart distinctive qualities to Indian and Chinese thought (244-252).
The cultural interflow between India and Japan had been across the centuries is discussed, alongwith the threat of globalism to Japanesa identity (253-264). Japan has been centuries evolution of Buddhist sculpture and painting since the beginning if the sixth century. The interflow of art between india and Japan is a survey of this artistic journey of fourteen centuries (265-283). The many-sided virtues of the Louts Sutra in the thought of Nichiren Daishonin are the sacred order of values, power and humanism (287-299).
The silent letters of Tibetan orthography initiated by Thon.mi Sambhota (305-306), and the paintings in the ambulatory of the cella of Tabo monastery are discussed (307-309).
The cultural relations of india and Mongolia and lead us to the history of the translation of the Kanjur and Tanjur the pearl of our literature (310-322).
Ajanta as the aesthesis if beauty and beyond (323-341). Popular misconception of the Tantra has been clarified in a philosophic context (345-349).
Studies on Indonesia include a general survey, Borobudur and Vairocana, the political statement of Candi Sukuh on the eve of the decline of the classical culture of java, Candi is an architectural term that has nothing to do with the goddess Candi a new identification of two Javanese bronzes of Vasudhara and Sastra the Sankara Inscription and the Pasir Panjang Inscription.
The cousin cultures of India and Iran are a study in the cataltytics of the dialogue of sharing (403-418).
Central Asia was more a Path of Sutras then the Silk Route. Sericulture was an economic foundation of the state of Khotan. The polychromic diversity of Central Asian history has been discussed on the basis of archaeological findings from the sand buried ruins (419-430).
Iconography of Buddha was continuing theogony of interiorization of deities. It has been illustrated by the drastic changes even alteration in sex, in the case of Avalokitesvara, who finally assumes the ubiquitious role of a Lokesvara (431-435).
The volume ends with a miscellaneous section to include some of my important forewords to books, and a few keynote addresses to research seminars where new interpretations are proposed. Flickering ideas to illuminate dark corners beyond the eyes.
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