IB: Religion and Literature: Buddhism, Brahmanism, Epics and Secular Literature in Sanskrit
Venue: Orchid, MayFair Lagoon
- Prof. Ranabir Chakroborty, JNU, New Delhi, India
- Vietnam Gold Leaf (Deities),Ms. Le LienThi,Institute of Archaeology, VASS, Vietnam
- Buddhism & MaritimeHeritage: A Study on East & South-East Asian Context, Dr. Sunil Pattanaik, Secretary,Odisha Institute of Maritime and SE Asian Studies, Bhubaneswar, India
- Ramayana in Arts of South East Asia,Dr. Amarjiva Lochan,Professor, University of Delhi, Delhi, India
- Buddhist Architecture of Buddha Shrines in Thailand and Myanmar during 14-15 Centuries, Professor Chotima Chaturawong, Silpakorn University, Thailand
- Lt. Cdr. Kalesh Mohan, Deputy Director, Naval History Division, Ministry of Defence (Navy), New Delhi, India
BUDDHISM AND MARITIME HERITAGE: - A Study on East and South-East Asia
This paper intends to examine the recent discoveries of Buddhist sites in eastern India and their cultural efflorescence, more particularly, on the Buddhist sites and settlements of Odisha. The growth of Buddhism and Maritime activities are just two sides of a coin and is very much attested to the Buddhist sites of eastern India. The recent discoveries form archaeological excavations are examined and discussed in pan-Asian context. Between c. 700 BCE, the date of advent of the NBPW in Gangetic valley and c. 300 CE the point immediately preceding the Gupta age of maturity, India witnessed the growth of urban centers in all her major geographical regions. The urbanisation of the Ganga valley in the first millennium BCE is often referred to as the second urbanisation. A crucial factor in this urbanisation was iron technology as is evident when one compares the NBP levels with PGW levels or black –and red-levels. Surplus produce and the specialization of crafts both utilizing the dasa-bhrtaka, increase in trade based on production as well as improved communication (both by land and through the use of river navigation) all combined to make urbanisation possible. This in turn produced the characteristics associated with urban culture –the building of fortified cities, the introduction of a script (brahmi), the use of coinage (punch marked coins for example), a wide range of intellectual and meta physical speculation (from Charaka to the Ajivikas),some of which reflected the requirements and aspirations of the new urban groups – the artisans and the merchants and traders.(Thaper:2013:104 The society as described in Buddhist scriptures (Pali texts) reflects the presence of a very influential mercantile community organised in guilds. It is evidently a period of expanding material culture, with far and wide trade relations and populous towns and cities exist in the Ganga Valley (Rhys Davids,1903:11). By the third century BCE, an intimate relationship between the monastic communities, trading network and urban centres had developed in South Asia.(Ray ;1986). These networks connected the Gangtic area to the to the regions in central, eastern and southern India. There were archaeological evidences from places such as Tamralipti, Udayagiri, Radhanagar (Kankia), Ratnagiri, Langudi, Kalingapattnam, Amaravati, Nagrjunakonda and elsewhere in the eastern part of Deccan suggests intimate connection not only between Buddhism and local trading communities, but also with merchant guilds engaged in overseas commerce. Trade routes connecting the oasis states of Central Asia and the maritime world of Bay of Bengal became more extensive and integrated through the historical periods which has been intended to focus upon in this paper in the context of Buddhist sites of Odisha and South and South -East Asian countries.
Buddhism survived in India for so long and had such a brilliant history is evident enough that it responded to the needs of a wide and important section of the Indian population. Odisha or ancient Kalinga region was also no exception to that. The whole of Eastern India is flooded with Early Historical Buddhist sites right from Tamralipti (Tamluk) on Rupnarayan River, to Godavari-Krishna Valley. The important Buddhist sites of this orbit like Tamralipti, Mughalmari, Jayarampur, Radhanagar (Kankia), Lalitgiri, Udayagiri, Lagudi, Ratnagiri, Jaugarh, Kalingapatinam, Salihundam, Goli, Amaravati, and Nagrjunikonda, Of course, some of the sites were discovered long back and some of are discovered recently which are torch bearers of cultural interaction between East and South East Asian countries. The commercial and cultural contact of Odisha with far off countries are reflected in the accounts of foreign travellers, pilgrims and sailors right from Periplus of the Erythrean Sea (1st -2nd century CE) and further from the accounts of Ptolemy, Fa-Hien, Si-Yu-Ki of Hiuen Tsang, Subhkarasimha etc. Although many works in this context has been done by the esteemed scholars like R C Mujumdar,1963, H B Sarkar,1970,1985, H.P Ray,1995,1997,2013, R.Chkravarti, 2005, R.Thaper,1997,2005,SatishChndra, 2013, S. Devendra, 2013, Tansen Sen, 2014, D.K Chakravarti,1995,1997, and host of Odishan scholars like K.S.Behera,2007, K K Basa,1991,2000, A.K. Patnaik, 2010, B.Patra,2014, S.Tripati,1999, U.Mishra,2005, S K Patnaik,2013 which are focused upon the maritime trade and some aspects Buddhism. Here, this paper supplements the new evidences and recent archaeological finds in eastern Indian context more particularly on Buddhism and Maritime Heritage.
Dr. Sunil Kumar Patnaik
Secretary, Odishan Institute of Maritime & South-East Asian Studies, (OIMSEAS), Govt. of Odisha,Bhubaneswar.-14
INDIA’S MARITIME LINKAGES WITH SOUTH EAST ASIAN NATIONS: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
India’s maritime heritage is as old as the Indus valley civilisation. Archaeological studies prove India’s maritime linkages in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea from the ancient period. Navigation in the seas of the North Indian Ocean is as old as the river valley civilisations in the adjacent coastal areas of Asia. The geographical location of India, the central position, in the North Indian Ocean, helped in get connected with various islands and nations. The Vedas, Buddhist Jatakas, Sanskrit, Pali and Persian literature, Indian folklore and mythology and even the Old Testament bear testimony to the fact that as far back as the days of Mohen-jo-Daro, Lothal and Harappa (3000 to 2000 B.C), i.e., the Indus Valley Civilisation, there was considerable maritime activity between India and countries in Africa, Southern Europe, Western Asia and the Far East. Rig Veda gives the earliest reference of maritime activities. The Hindu mythology tells about Lord Vishnu and his abode in the sea. Seals and Potsherd portraying anchors and tools and kitchen implements made of coral and mussel shell have been found at these places and Java, Sumatra, Indo-China, Sri Lanka and Egypt. It is believes that the Mauryas and the Guptas had navy. The Kalingas, post invasion of Ashoka, sailed on an emigration expedition to Bali Island with a sizable number of Kanligas.
India has a long history of involvement in Southeast Asia, one way or another, since ancient times, connected as it was by one of the oldest maritime trade routes. Perhaps no country influenced this region religiously, linguistically and culturally as much as India did. The relationship had been, by and large, cordial and mutually beneficial. Despite close proximity, India has never shown any hegemonistic design or made attempts to extend its political influence in Southeast Asia. There is enough historical evidence to prove that there were flourishing economic and cultural relations between India and the countries of Southeast Asia in the pre-colonial era.
Between 200 B.C and A.D 250, the Andhras carried out maritime trade with Western Asia, Greece, Rome, Egypt, China and some other Eastern countries and had even set up embassies in some of these countries. During the period of the Satvahana dynasty the fables contained in the Kathasaritsagara and other sources relate instances of ships sailing to Kataha or Kataha-dwipa which is the Kedah of today in Malaya. The stories refer to voyages by merchants to Karpura-dwipa (Camphor Island) and Suvarna (Sumatra). There was quite an intimate knowledge of these islands of the Far-East and flourishing trade relations existed. The names of some of the places in Southern and Southeast Asia such as Socotra which is a derivative of Sukhadhara and Sri Lanka which originally was Swarna Alankara. The similarity between the Thai and Oriya scripts due to the long Kalinga rule over Thailand. The scriptures in a Buddhist temple in Japan which are recited by the monks every morning even today being in the 6th century A.D Bengali script. In A.D 800, as described in the 199th Chapter of the Japanese document Ruijukokushi, an Indian was cast up on the shores of Japan and some seeds of the cotton-plant, so far unknown to that country, were found on his ship and sown in the province of Kii, Awaji, Jyo, Tosa and Kyushu. Thus cotton was introduced into Japan. Indian supremacy over the Eastern waters reached its zenith during the period of 5th to 12th centuries when the Sri Vijaya Empire ruled the entire sea area between India’s eastern seaboard and the Far East. The Sri Vijayas’ cultural and colonising expedition took them to such far-flung areas as Sumatra, Burma, the Malayan Peninsula, Java, Thailand and Indo-China. Sri Vijaya put down piracy, attracted Indian, Arab and Chinese merchants to its ports where excellent harbour facilities were available. Every ship passing the Straits of Sunda and Malacca was obliged to pay a toll. In the 11th Century AD, Rajendra Chola went on a naval expedition to conquer the Sri Vijaya Empire of Sumatra and Malaya Coast.
Lt Cdr Kalesh Mohanan
Naval History Division
Integrated Headquarters of
Ministry of Defence (Navy)
New Delhi – 110 066
Architecture of Buddha Shrines in Thailand and Myanmar: Cultural Linkages with India and Sri Lanka
Chotima Chaturawong, Ph.D.
Faculty of Architecture, Silpakorn University
Mandapa, a Sanskrit term, means a pillared outdoor hall or a pavilion for public rituals in Indian architecture. The architecture of mandapa in Southeast Asia also shares similarities to that in India; for instance, mandapas in Cambodia and Vietnam. These had a rectangular floor plan, were the site of ritual ceremonies, and were located to the front of an image shrine called garbha griha or garbha grha. However, the term, mondop in Thai architecture referred to a small building enshrining a Buddha image or sometimes multiple images. It is likely created later and developed from the term mandapa. Its role was parallel to an image shrine (garbha griha) of Hindu and Buddhist architecture in India and Sri Lanka. This paper aims to compare the architecture of Buddha shrines in Thailand and Myanmar during the 14th to 15th centuries when Theravada Buddhism was widespread in Southeast Asia. The comparison will focus on the architecture of Buddha shrines known as mondops and viharas in Sukhothai and Chiang Mai, Thailand; and Buddha shrines in Myanmar which can be divided into many types, namely cave temples, tazaungs (a pavilion established near a pagoda), wuts (an image shrine), hpaya-hsaungs (a Buddha hall), and dhammasalas (a preaching hall). Gu-hpaya [cave temples] in Pagan (11th – 13th centuries) are equivalent to patimaghara of Sri Lanka and were probably developed into bhut (in Mon) or wut (in Burmese) referring to a temple containing statues of the Buddha. Tazaungs were usually built to the front or surrounding a stupa as a place to worship a stupa and to protect devotees from the sun and rain. A mondop in Chiang Mai is called khong or khong prasat or khong phachao; khong refers to the boundary or area or a shrine of a Buddha image. Khong phachao in the form of a miniature shrine is parallel to butsabok of central Thai architecture. Prasat, mondop, and butsabok are traditional Thai architecture crowned by a pyramidal roof corresponded to pyathat in Burmese and prasat in Mon, which usually crown a Buddha shrine. Mondops of Sukhothai and Chiang Mai housed an image of the Buddha with an attached vihara were equivalent to a Burmese brick monastery and a dhammasala in Pagan that included a brick structure and a pavilion to the front. Sukhothai mondops represented a pavilion where the Buddha resided and its function was equivalent to a gandakuti, a perfumed chamber, or a karerikuti where the Buddha dwelled in Jetavana Monastery, India.
The comparative study of Buddha shrines in Thailand and Myanmar can provide indigenous architectural characteristics as well as cultural relations among Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and India.