Shifting the Seat of Awakening
This thesis explores the relationship between non-Indian Buddhists and the Indian Buddhist site Bodhgaya. Chapter one examines the account of the 7th century Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang, and argues that Bodhgaya functioned as a living relic, providing direct access to the Buddha’s presence. In the second chapter, the effects of the decline of Buddhism in India are examined, leading to the conclusion that even before the fall of the Pala Dynasty, Bodhgaya had become a prominent element in the imagination of Buddhists who now relied more often on images and souvenir models of the site’s temple rather than making pilgrimages to it. In the final chapter, the phenomenon of the construction of replicas of Bodhgaya’s temple outside of India is offered as evidence that foreign Buddhists had both incorporated the presence of the Buddha into their history and inscribed the Indian sacred landscape onto their native lands.
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:buddhism bodhgaya xuanzang dharmasvamin mahabodhi burma thailand nepal india buddha images decline of pilgrimage
Date of Publication:01/01/2006