Chapter

Archaeological and Discursive Rebirths of Buddhist India

in The Holy Land Reborn

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780226356488
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226356501 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226356501.003.0010
Archaeological and Discursive Rebirths of Buddhist India

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Since the seventeenth-century rekindling of Tibetan interest in pilgrimage to India, many in the Tibetan community had directed their religious energy and attention toward India as a Buddhist holy land of pilgrimage. Radical and far-reaching transformations were occurring at the ancient holy sites of Indian Buddhism during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In close conjunction with the rise of monumental archaeology as a distinctive feature of British colonialism, these transformations established both the new material form and the new meaning that Indian Buddhist holy sites were to acquire during the age of modernity. They also played an important role in the way in which Buddhism came to be understood as a “world religion” in both Asia and the rest of the world. This chapter investigates two very different cases of how Tibet's most elite pilgrims—the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama—both had encounters with the emerging and politicized modern Indian Buddhist revival milieu which was deliberately focused upon the excavated and restored holy sites of the Buddha in India.

Keywords: Buddhism; archaeology; India; holy sites; Buddha; pilgrimage; Dalai Lama; Panchen Lama; Tibet; Asia

Chapter.  15567 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Buddhism

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