Buddhist Monastic Centers of Eastern India and Southeast Asia: Revisiting their Cross-Cultural Linkages

Bhattacharya, Abira (2018) Buddhist Monastic Centers of Eastern India and Southeast Asia: Revisiting their Cross-Cultural Linkages. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

The paper would aim to look at the historical, conceptual and monastic development of the Buddhist monasteries (mahāvihāras), built under the aegis of the Pala and Bhaumakara rulers (8th-12th century CE) of the Eastern India, while outlining the cultural, artistic and architectural interrelationships which these religious edifices shared with the contemporaneous Buddhist buildings of Southeast Asia. These edifying buildings stood the test of time as the cultural landmarks reminiscent of the religious, pedagogic and artistic endeavours and served an archetypal model for the Southeast Asian traditions. While serving as institutional strongholds, these monastic universities upheld the idea of faith, peace and harmony. Grounded on the ideals of Vajrayana Buddhism, they ministered the notion of all-inclusiveness, gradually eliminating the patriarchy and misogyny as seen in their radical approach. They also efficaciously manifested the notion of geographical diffusionism by encouraging the mobility of pilgrims and scholars, not only spreading the religion but creating a closed cultural network between far-flung kingdoms. In addition, the grandiose scale of the monastic complexes bespeaks the role of the patrons, state craft and the efflorescence and cosmological symbolism of Vajrayana Buddhism during this period. By examining the socio-political and religious milieu as referred in the epigraphic, textual and artistic sources, the paper would attempt to re-examine the role of such establishments in Eastern India in reinforcing cross-cultural connections with the Southeast Asian traditions. Traces of cultural linkages and influences are seen in the Southeast Asian monastic establishments of the later period also. The paper would shed light on the modern monastic discipline and the architectural spaces and their engaging role in restoring the Buddhist heritage and faith in the contemporary phase. By taking up select case studies of monastic establishments, a comparative study would be undertaken, in order to understand the transmission of ideas, practices and visual forms.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Bhattacharya, Abira
Languages: English
Keywords: cultural landmarks; cross-cultural interactions; Buddhist monasteries; mahāvihāra; Eastern India; Vajrayana Buddhism; inclusion; restoration; transmission; Religious heritage; Buddhism; Monastic and conventual buildings; cultural significance; social aspects; Architectural heritage
Subjects: E. CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
O. INTANGIBLE HERITAGE > 04. Social practices, rituals and festive events
P. GEOGRAPHIC AREAS > 04. Asia and Pacific islands
H. HERITAGE TYPOLOGIES > 19A. Places of religion and ritual
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2019 10:27
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2023 14:14
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URI: https://openarchive.icomos.org/id/eprint/2007

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