Prof. Alexander von Rospatt, University of California Berkeley

Change and Continuity. Remarks on the Survival of Indian Buddhism in the Kathmandu Valley

While Buddhism disappeared in the thirteenth century in India, it continues to exist to this day in the Kathmandu Valley (i.e. the historical Nepal), as the only remnant of Indic
Buddhism with Sanskrit as its sacred language. It does so side by side with Hinduism, with which it has shared the constrained urban spaces of the Valley for some two millennia. While this coexistence has been marked by a convergence of religious practices, Buddhism has remained for all this time a self-conscious distinct tradition, rather than being absorbed into the fold of Hinduism as happened in India. The talk will introduce to the key features of the Buddhist tradition of the Valley and assess their significance. Particular attention will be paid to the peculiar form of monasticism that developed in the Valley and to its critical role for the survival of Buddhism.

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Appr. 70 minutes, 104MB

Published May 7, 2012 11:00 AM - Last modified May 7, 2012 11:11 AM