Prof. Monica L. Smith delivered a speech on “the roots of Buddhism in India”
On 18th, October 2013, Prof. Monica L. Smith from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the Department of Anthropology, UCLA delivered a lecture titled “the roots of Buddhism in India” in Institute of Archaeology, CASS. The vice-director of the Institute Chen Xingcan chaired it, and researchers from the Institute and Qinghua University attended the lecture.
Prof. Monica L. Smith has been working in India for 20 years on the development of early urbanism, with a long-running research project at the ancient city of Sisupalgarh in eastern India. In her presentation she focused on the way in which Buddhism developed in the subcontinent and how it served as a strong social bond through more than two thousand years of development starting in the mid-first millennium BC. Firstly she traced the development of Buddhist art and spreading of Buddhism in East Asia. By analysis on the newly excavated Bhasu Vihara site in Bangladesh, she pointed out how social and economic activities went together in monasteries of the Indian subcontinent. Due to successful combination of religion, social connectivity, and economics, practices of Buddhism became adopted along land and sea trade routes. Buddhism was transmitted precisely through forms that were easily recognizable and that could be copied over and over. She also talked about the position of Buddhism today in India. She stressed It has recently been revived in India itself as a political move by groups to resist India’s caste system. Buddhism also has an educational tradition, and very good potential for tourism because of the ancient historical link with so many Asian nations today.
After the lecture, participants discussed with the lecturer on aspects as archaeology in India, Buddhist art history and social condition in India.