By Lars Fogelin
An Archaeological historical past of Indian Buddhism is a complete survey of Indian Buddhism from its origins within the sixth century BCE, via its ascendance within the 1st millennium CE, and its eventual decline in mainland South Asia by way of the mid-2nd millennium CE. Weaving jointly reports of archaeological is still, structure, iconography, inscriptions, and Buddhist historic resources, this publication uncovers the quotidian issues and practices of Buddhist priests and nuns (the sangha), and their lay adherents--concerns and practices frequently obscured in stories of Buddhism premised principally, if no longer completely, on Buddhist texts. on the middle of Indian Buddhism lies a power social contradiction among the need for person asceticism as opposed to the necessity to continue a coherent neighborhood of Buddhists. sooner than the early 1st millennium CE, the sangha relied seriously at the patronage of kings, guilds, and usual Buddhists to aid themselves. in this interval, the sangha emphasised the communal parts of Buddhism as they sought to set up themselves because the leaders of a coherent spiritual order. through the mid-1st millennium CE, Buddhist monasteries had develop into robust political and financial associations with huge landholdings and wealth. This new monetary self-sufficiency allowed the sangha to restrict their day by day interplay with the laity and start to extra absolutely fulfill their ascetic wishes for the 1st time. This withdrawal from standard interplay with the laity resulted in the cave in of Buddhism in India within the early-to-mid 2d millennium CE. not like the ever-changing spiritual practices of the Buddhist sangha, the Buddhist laity have been extra conservative--maintaining their non secular practices for nearly millennia, while they nominally shifted their allegiances to rival spiritual orders. This publication additionally serves as an exemplar for the archaeological learn of long term non secular swap in the course of the views of perform concept, materiality, and semiotics.
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Extra info for An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism
While valuable, Mitra’s division of stupas into four distinct categories is also problematic. In practice, individual stupas often blended elements of different categories. , Sarnath; Cunningham  1997). The stupas of key disciples were sometimes erected near Buddha stupas, with the disciples’ stupas serving simultaneously as votive stupas to the Buddha and as the focus of worship themselves. Finally, it must be noted that stupas were not always the central focus of pilgrimage. I n t r o d u c t i o n ( 2 5 ) At Bodh Gaya, ritual focused on the Bodhi tree, a descendant of the tree under which the Buddha gained enlightenment.
It should be noted that Weber developed his thoughts about the routinization of charisma in part through studies of Buddhist, Muslim, and Christian history (Weber 1978). In this sense, it is not surprising that the sectarian struggles within Indian Buddhism concord with Weber’s theories. T h e M a t e r i a l o f R e l i g i o n ( 41 ) Marxist or neo-Marxist approaches. Throughout the following analysis, I use legitimations to refer to the attempts by some to legitimize their position vis-à-vis the Buddha.
In the end, however, the collective asceticism of the sangha planted the seeds that led to the collapse of monastic Buddhism in the second millennium ce. When the sangha withdrew from day-to-day interaction with the laity, the laity returned the favor by converting to Hinduism and other faiths. With the loss of monastic lands and royal support at the hands of Central Asian Turks in the second millennium ce, monasteries no longer had a laity to fall back on. Without monasteries, Buddhist monasticism failed in India, with the last vestiges of lay Buddhism and Buddhist pilgrimage centers following soon thereafter.
An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism by Lars Fogelin