Article

Pagan (Bagan)

Tilman Frasch

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online April 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0022
Pagan (Bagan)

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For about 250 years, from c. 1044 to 1284 ce, Pagan (or Bagan, in modern Burmese transcription) was the capital of a kingdom covering most of what is modern-day Myanmar (Burma). During this period, more than 2,500 Buddhist monuments—stupas, temples, and monasteries—were built in and around the city alone; further religious edifices were erected in the provincial centers of the kingdom, such as Pakkoku, Sale, Salin, and Myinmu. The people of Pagan were in close contact with other Buddhist communities of South and Southeast Asia, most notably Sri Lankans, Northeast Indians, and the Khmers, and perhaps with the Tibetans and Chinese as well. Between these regions and communities, there was a regular flow of royal ambassadors, Buddhist monks, artists, pilgrims, and other travelers, who exchanged letters and Buddhist scriptures, skills, and ideas. Given this position as a nodal point in a wider Buddhist network, the Buddhism of Pagan was cosmopolitan in nature, embracing influences from various sources and different traditions. Particularly in the late 12th and the early 13th centuries, when increased contact with external Buddhist communities coincided with the maturation of internal developments, Pagan became the crucible in which the major features of Burmese Theravada were mixed.

Article.  7195 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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