Thus I Have Seen: Visualizing Faith in Early Indian Buddhism

Hardcover | December 20, 2008

byAndy Rotman

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This book offers a new approach to understanding Buddhist lay and monastic practice by recognizing the crucial role that visual practices played in Indian Buddhism in the early centuries of the Common Era. In the genre of Indian Buddhist narratives known as avadana, most lay religious practiceconsists not of reading, praying, or meditating, but of visually engaging with certain kinds of objects. The key for understanding the Buddhist conceptualization about the world and the ways it should be navigated is found, in these stories, in ways of seeing and the results of seeing. His analysisis based primarily on stories from the Divyavadana (Divine Stories) -- one of the largest and most important collections of ancient Buddhist stories written in Sanskrit from the early centuries of the Common Era -- that have since spread throughout Asia, leaving an indelible mark on Buddhist thoughtand practice. Rotman examines the functioning in these stories of the mental states of sraddha and prasada -- terms often, though problematically, translated as "faith." In particular, he analyzes how these mental states relate to practices of "seeing" (darsana) and "giving" (dana), and what this configurationof seeing, believing, and giving can tell us about Buddhist doctrine, the power of images, the logic of pilgrimage, and the market-based morality of early Indian Buddhism.

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This book offers a new approach to understanding Buddhist lay and monastic practice by recognizing the crucial role that visual practices played in Indian Buddhism in the early centuries of the Common Era. In the genre of Indian Buddhist narratives known as avadana, most lay religious practiceconsists not of reading, praying, or medita...

Andy Rotman is an Assistant Professor at Smith College, Northampton, MA.

other books by Andy Rotman

Format:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 6.42 × 9.29 × 1.1 inPublished:December 20, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195366158

ISBN - 13:9780195366150

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