By Johan Elverskog
In the modern international the assembly of Buddhism and Islam is in most cases imagined as one in every of violent disagreement. certainly, the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 appeared not just to reenact the notorious Muslim destruction of Nalanda monastery within the 13th century but in addition to reaffirm the stereotypes of Buddhism as a relaxed, rational philosophy and Islam as an inherently violent and irrational faith. but when Buddhist-Muslim heritage was once easily repeated circumstances of Muslim militants attacking representations of the Buddha, how had the Bamiyan Buddha statues survived 13 hundred years of Muslim rule?
Buddhism and Islam at the Silk Road demonstrates that the background of Buddhist-Muslim interplay is way richer and extra complicated than many suppose. This groundbreaking booklet covers internal Asia from the 8th century in the course of the Mongol empire and to the tip of the Qing dynasty within the overdue 19th century. by means of exploring the conferences among Buddhists and Muslims alongside the Silk street from Iran to China over greater than a millennium, Johan Elverskog unearths that this lengthy come upon used to be really one among profound cross-cultural alternate during which non secular traditions weren't simply enriched yet remodeled in lots of ways.
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The Diamond Sutra, composed in India within the fourth century CE, is among the so much valuable works of Buddhist literature and is the oldest present published e-book on the planet. it truly is referred to as the Diamond Sutra simply because its teachings are stated to be like diamonds that lower away all dualistic suggestion, freeing one from the attachment to things and bringing one to the extra shore of enlightenment.
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Yet their hold on power was short-lived on account of the Hepthalites, or White Huns, another Central Asian dynasty that conquered the area north of the Hindu Kush and ruled it for more than two centuries (350-550 c . e . ) . Regardless of the differences between the Sassanid and Hepthalite regimes both had clearly invaded this predominantly Buddhist area in order to take control of ^the lucrative trade routes and the revenue they generated. And to a certain extent they succeeded. 54 Shortly thereafter came the Chinese and Tibetans and finally the Arabs, all culminating in the famous Battle of Talas in 751.
Moreover, being avowed enemies of the Sunni Caliphate in Baghdad the Isma‘ilis shifted the trade networks of this pivotal economic region away from the Persian Gulf toward the Red Sea. In this way they bolstered the rise not only of their Shi‘ite allies in Egypt, the Fatimid dynasty (909-1171 c . e . 128 Nevertheless, all of these local Muslim dynasties of northwest India and Central Asia were ultimately to be swept away by the Turkic and Sunni ruler Mahmud of Ghazna. As this cursory historical overview makes clear northwest India and Central Asia underwent a period of enormous political and religious turbu lence during the first centuries of Buddhist-Muslim interaction.
Similarly, Nikaya Buddhism would come to be an integral part of the religious world of Southeast Asia. To understand both of these developments, especially in relation to the simultaneous appearance of Islam in northwest India, it is important to recall the larger historical context. In particular, we need to recall that after the initial chaos of the post-Gupta period, wherein tantra was forged, the economic and political situation in India actually started to improve. By the middle of the eighth century the economic and political fragmentation of the post-Gupta period had largely come to an end and been replaced by three powerful empires: the Gurjara-Pratiharas in the north, the Palas in the east, and the Rastrakutas in the south (map 6).
Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road by Johan Elverskog