Article

Borobudur

John N. Miksic

in Buddhism

ISBN: 9780195393521
Published online June 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0046
Borobudur

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The Buddhist monument Borobudur is located in central Java, Indonesia. It was constructed between the late 8th and the mid-9th centuries. Buddhism entered Java in the early 5th century, by which time Java had already been in commercial contact with Bengal and Southeast India for several centuries. Chinese monks beginning with Faxian around 400 ce visited Java on their voyages to India to collect sutras. When a center of culture and government arose in the hinterland of central Java in about 700 ce, Hinduism, principally the worship of Shiva, initially claimed more adherents than Buddhism. By 780 ce a dynasty known as the Sailendras, staunch adherents of Buddhism, came to power. During their relatively short reign of fifty years, they left numerous inscriptions and Buddhist sanctuaries around the base of Mount Merapi, one of the world’s most active volcanoes. The monument known as Borobudur was built during the heyday of the Sailendras. During this time Buddhism was evolving rapidly, and Borobudur’s plan was changed to accommodate new religious ideas. Technical considerations also contributed to the evolution of the monument. After 830 ce the Sailendras and the previous Saivite dynasty, the Sanjayas, intermarried. Both Hindu and Buddhist monuments were built for the next few decades. An unexplained catastrophe struck central Java around 919 ce. No more temples were built in central Java. Borobudur was largely abandoned until it was restored in the early 20th century.

Article.  13187 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism ; Tibetan Buddhism ; Zen Buddhism

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