Prof. Francesco Sferra

Constructing the Wheel of Time (Kālacakra). Doctrinal and Practical Strategies

The Buddhist Kālacakra system, which spread through Northern India and Tibet around the beginning of the 11th cent., has been studied relatively little according to the historical perspective. It is possible to show that the system's authoritativeness was established by the early teachers of the Kālacakra and by the first Tibetan historiographers through a precise intellectual 'operation', which involved, among other things, the definition of the Scriptures and of the qualities that their interpreter should possess, the fixing of hermeneutical criteria and the selection of specifi doctrines. Probably in order to effectively meet the new socio-cultural challenges that had arisen (first of all the Islamic invasion in the North India and the spreading and revival of the Brahmanical traditions), the first authors of the Kālacakra sought to establish, within a consistent framework, a new Buddhist orthodoxy and to close the Buddhist ranks around the undisputed authority of the monastic community. This was done in a slightly anti-secular vein.

The lecture is an attempt to shed light on some of the cultural forms and means through which the early Kālacakra authors utilized and shared semiotic construction strategies to legitimize their lineages and doctrine.

Appr. 85 minutes, 25MB

Powerpoint prsentation from the lecture

Published May 25, 2012 2:33 PM