The impressive growth of Buddhist Studies in recent years is the result of several factors. Important collections of manuscripts have been found, and monuments unearthed, in nearly all parts of Asia where Buddhism existed; political and social events bringing East and West together have increased interest in both scholarly research and Buddhist religious practices. The spread of Buddhism outside its birthplace, Madhyadesa, first in India and soon throughout Asia, prompted its followers constantly to invent new discursive strategies and to adjust the rules to local customs and administrations. The essays presented here illustrate how why Buddhist literature adapted to a new and specific context, particularly in North-west India. They also discuss hermeneutical and exegetical practices of Indian Buddhism, the complex interrelation between the Brahmanical and the Buddhist milieu, as well as the role of the social and political context in determining the rules of the monastic code (vinaya).
About the Author(s)
Richard Gombrich is Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies. From 1976-2004 he was Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University and a Professional Fellow of Balliol College. He has published extensively on early Buddhism and on the history and social study of Theravada Buddhism, particularly in Sri Lanka.