Prof. Jason Neelis (Religious Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University)
Shipping Dharma: Long-distance Mobility and Cross-cultural Transmission between South Asia and Southeast Asia
Friday, April 19, 2013 / 2:00-4:00pm
Location: UTM, 262 North Building, Dean’s Lounge. A limited number of bus tickets will be available for those commuting from St. George Campus.
Abstract: In the early phases of Buddhist expansion, highly mobile missionary agents (including monks, nuns, merchants, and pilgrims) crossed geographical and cultural boundaries throughout and beyond the Indian subcontinent by following overland paths through mountain valleys and shipping routes across the Indian Ocean. Literary motifs of trade caravans, archaeological patterns of the distribution of stupas and monasteries, and epigraphic references to patronage by mercantile groups reflect symbiotic relationships between Buddhist institutional expansion and trade exchanges. A comparison and contrast of overland and maritime religious mobility may help to test the extent to which models of long-distance transmission and transformation rather than gradual diffusion can be applied to the initial stages of Buddhist expansion to Southeast Asian ports linked to coastal areas of South Asia.
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