An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism

Paperback | April 1, 2015

byLars Fogelin

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An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism is a comprehensive survey of Indian Buddhism from its origins in the 6th century BCE, through its ascendance in the 1st millennium CE, and its eventual decline in mainland South Asia by the mid-2nd millennium CE. Weaving together studies ofarchaeological remains, architecture, iconography, inscriptions, and Buddhist historical sources, this book uncovers the quotidian concerns and practices of Buddhist monks and nuns (the sangha), and their lay adherents--concerns and practices often obscured in studies of Buddhism premised largely,if not exclusively, on Buddhist texts. At the heart of Indian Buddhism lies a persistent social contradiction between the desire for individual asceticism versus the need to maintain a coherent community of Buddhists. Before the early 1st millennium CE, the sangha relied heavily on the patronage of kings, guilds, and ordinary Buddhiststo support themselves. During this period, the sangha emphasized the communal elements of Buddhism as they sought to establish themselves as the leaders of a coherent religious order. By the mid-1st millennium CE, Buddhist monasteries had become powerful political and economic institutions withextensive landholdings and wealth. This new economic self-sufficiency allowed the sangha to limit their day-to-day interaction with the laity and begin to more fully satisfy their ascetic desires for the first time. This withdrawal from regular interaction with the laity led to the collapse ofBuddhism in India in the early-to-mid 2nd millennium CE. In contrast to the ever-changing religious practices of the Buddhist sangha, the Buddhist laity were more conservative--maintaining their religious practices for almost two millennia, even as they nominally shifted their allegiances to rivalreligious orders. This book also serves as an exemplar for the archaeological study of long-term religious change through the perspectives of practice theory, materiality, and semiotics.

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An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism is a comprehensive survey of Indian Buddhism from its origins in the 6th century BCE, through its ascendance in the 1st millennium CE, and its eventual decline in mainland South Asia by the mid-2nd millennium CE. Weaving together studies ofarchaeological remains, architecture, iconography, i...

Lars Fogelin is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. He is the author of Religion, Archaeology, and the Material World as well as Archaeology of Early Buddhism.

other books by Lars Fogelin

Archaeology of Early Buddhism
Archaeology of Early Buddhism

Kobo ebook|Feb 9 2006

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.09 × 6.1 × 0.79 inPublished:April 1, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199948232

ISBN - 13:9780199948239

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements1. Introduction2. The Material of Religion3. From the Buddha to Ashoka: c. 600 - 200 BCE4. The Sangha and the Laity: c. 200 BCE - 200 CE5. The Beginnings of Mahayana Buddhism, Buddha Images, and Monastic Isolation: c. 100 - 600 CE6. Lay Buddhism and Religious Syncretism in the First Millennium CE7. The Consolidation and Collapse of Monastic Buddhism: c. 600 - 1400 CEConclusionBibliography