Lecture: Dr. Charles DiSimone – Buddhism in Greater Gandhāra

Written By University of the West Author

Buddhism in Greater GandharaUWest welcomes Dr. Charles Simone from Ghent University for a guest lecture on Friday, April 29, 2022 at 1:00 PM PDT. Dr. Simone’s lecture is titled, “Buddhism in Greater Gandhāra as Witnessed by Manuscript Evidence.”

The lecture will be held remotely on Zoom. No registration is required and everyone is welcome.

Zoom ID: 970 4442 9175
Passcode: 190384

The event is organized the Department of Religious Studies and the REL Graduate Council.

Abstract

The three-hundred-year period spanning the 6–8th centuries CE was a time of Buddhist predominance throughout the area known as Greater Gandhāra encompassing modern Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan and Northern India. A testimony to the strong Buddhist influence in this period may be seen in the numerous Sanskrit manuscript materials from this time and area that have been uncovered throughout last century, which are still appearing into the present. These manuscripts were copied in two distinct scripts, Gilgit/Bamiyan Type I (sometimes referred to as Round Gupta Brāhmī) and Gilgit/Bamiyan Type II (also known as Protośāradā) and may be referred to collectively as ‘Gilgit/Bamiyan Type Manuscripts’. They were produced on birch bark folios with carbon-based ink by an unclear number of what appear to have been professional scriptoriums located variously around Greater Gandhāra and were collected into caches. In this talk, I will provide an overview of Buddhist textuality as it appeared and developed within this area and period based on evidence provided by manuscript witnesses discovered as early as the 1930s and as recently as last year. Both the development of these works as a rich textual tradition and the production of manuscript copying traditions will be considered in this journey into Buddhism as a lived tradition in the latter half of the first millennium of the Common Era, a time when the Mahāyāna and Mainstream Buddhist traditions were cultivated and transmitted side by side within Greater Gandhāra and beyond.

About Our Guest

Charles DiSimone is FWO Postdoctoral Researcher at Ghent University. He received his doctorate from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München and has held positions at the Buddhist Digital Resource Center, LMU Munich, and Mahidol University. His research primarily focuses upon the applications of philological, codicological, and critical analysis of Buddhist sūtra manuscripts and literature, both Mahāyāna and Mainstream. He works with Buddhist literary traditions in a number of languages and has a keen interest in the translation of this material. His most recent research surrounds the analysis of new discoveries of manuscript materials created in Greater Gandhāra. Recent publications include research on scribal practices in the Gilgit area, new manuscript discoveries at Mes Aynak (JIABS 2022), and Greater Gandhāra, and a forthcominig book on the (Mūla-)Sarvāstivāda Dīrghāgama manuscript (Wisdom 2022).

 

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