By Lars Fogelin
An Archaeological background 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 stories of archaeological continues to be, structure, iconography, inscriptions, and Buddhist old assets, this booklet uncovers the quotidian matters and practices of Buddhist priests and nuns (the sangha), and their lay adherents--concerns and practices frequently obscured in reviews of Buddhism premised principally, if no longer solely, 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 keep a coherent neighborhood of Buddhists. earlier than the early 1st millennium CE, the sangha relied seriously at the patronage of kings, guilds, and usual Buddhists to help 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 non secular order. by way of the mid-1st millennium CE, Buddhist monasteries had turn into robust political and financial associations with huge landholdings and wealth. This new financial self-sufficiency allowed the sangha to restrict their daily interplay with the laity and start to extra absolutely fulfill their ascetic wants for the 1st time. This withdrawal from normal interplay with the laity resulted in the cave in of Buddhism in India within the early-to-mid second 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, at the same time they nominally shifted their allegiances to rival spiritual orders. This e-book additionally serves as an exemplar for the archaeological learn of long term spiritual switch throughout the views of perform idea, materiality, and semiotics.
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Extra info for An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism
Upon his departure from India, Alexander left governors to rule over the territories he conquered. Many of the most useful Western accounts of early India are derived from court officials posted in these territories. The best of these sources is the Indika of Megasthenes, a Greek ambassador who traveled in India during the fourth century bce (McCrindle  2000). Unfortunately, Megasthenes’ writings are only preserved as long quotations in later, secondary works. , Ptolemy, Arrian, Strabo, Pliny, and Herodotos), but are generally based upon secondhand accounts and are of lesser value (see McCrindle  1979,  2000).
The first were those that contained the cremated remains of either the Buddha or one of his principal disciples. , begging bowl or robes). ). Finally, surrounding many primary stupas (of the above three types) were numerous votive stupas—small stupas containing the cremated remains of devotees. Votive stupas allowed devotees to engage in perpetual worship of the Buddha, even after death (Schopen 1997:ch. 7). While valuable, Mitra’s division of stupas into four distinct categories is also problematic.
The point here is that legitimations leave material traces in the archaeological record—material traces that archaeologists can employ to study legitimations in the past. Emile Durkheim Emile Durkheim was a contemporary of Max Weber. Where Weber extended and refined Marxist understandings of legitimate domination, Durkheim drew on Marxist views concerning the division of labor and false consciousness to investigate the ways that religion could serve to unify communities. In Durkheim’s terms, religion promoted feelings of social solidarity among members of a community.
An Archaeological History of Indian Buddhism by Lars Fogelin