Dr Greg Bailey will discuss Problems in Determining the Effect of Early Buddhism on the Development of Classical Hindu Society and Culture.
Since approximately 1850 Western Indologists have been concerned about the extent of the interaction between Buddhism and Hinduism as distinctive religions and cultural systems. Much of this research has focused on intertextuality, the origins of shared doctrines and, more recently, the question of whether Buddhism originated outside of a geographical/cultural context where Hindu ideas and practices were present. Of course, the whole subject begs the question of the definition of Hinduism and Buddhism as rather porous/inclusivistic cultural entities.
In this presentation, I explore the hypothesis that the appropriation of the Mahābhārata narrative by groups of Brahmins was done in part to acquire a means with which to confront the material success of Buddhism. Archaeological evidence is quite conclusive in showing how wealthy the saṃgha (monastic community) had become in its ownership of land and other forms of capital, and how successfully it was integrated into local economies. Becoming increasingly concerned about patronage from political and economic elites, the Brahmins were compelled to answer, what I hypothesise as, a Buddhist challenge to their increasing hegemony.
Dr Greg Bailey was reader in Sanskrit in the Asian Studies program, La Trobe University. He has published translations and studies of the Ganeśa Purāna, Bhartṛhari’s Śatakatrayam and books on the god Brahmā, early Buddhism and many articles on Sanskrit literature. At present he is working on the relationship between early Buddhism and the Mahābhārata.
Location: Graduate Seminar Room 2, Old Arts, University of Melbourne
Dinner: The seminar will be followed by dinner at around 7pm at a nearby restaurant within walking distance of Melbourne University. All are welcome!
RSVP: An RSVP is appreciated for booking dinner (an RSVP to the seminar is not necessary).
Email list: To be included on the Melbourne South Asian Study Group emailing list, please contact Michelle Hannah on firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue details: Graduate Seminar Room 2 is located upstairs in Old Arts.