The basic tenet of
In short, the spread of
The diffusion of
From its humble origins in the fourth century BCE with its founder Gautama Śākyamuni, Buddhism was established organizationally and politically in the third century BCE under the sponsorship of the Indian emperor Aśoka, who ruled from 273–232 BCE. Mahinda, Aśoka’s son, brought the Buddhist creed to Sri Lanka, where according to tradition the
In many respects, Buddhism was in its origins and throughout its history in India in continuous opposition to Hinduism. It originated as polemics against Brahmanical traditions, which maintained that the universal self, being ultimately the same as the individual self, was the basis of existence as a whole, while the Buddhist, in view of his doctrine of anātman, “no-self,” would assert that believing in such an entity would be the greatest misunderstanding of all. This came to have a profound influence on the respective views on language, and also writing.
In view of this philosophical and doctrinal background, there was no hindrance to the promulgation of the
As the Greek historiographers testify, when they came to the East after Alexander’s conquests just before 300 BCE, the Greeks were very surprised that the Indians, who had no writing systems, were able to rule their kingdoms without written laws. However, it did not take long before writing was introduced, with inspiration from the West, in India. The Persians indeed employed writing in the administration of their great empire, of which north-western India was a part, but there is no evidence that the Indians made any use of writing (excepting the Indus script) before the great emperor Aśoka employed writing for a particular purpose, namely to promulgate his ethics and religious sentiments throughout his empire. Aśoka’s edicts, mostly carved in stone but also on other material such as iron, are still preserved and bear witness to a ruler who protected religious and ethical activities, did not engage in religious disagreement and strife, helped the weak and the sick, cared for travelers, even for animals, and did not kill animals for food more than was necessary. The edicts were written in a Māghadi dialect, also a descendant of Sanskrit, and not in the sacred language itself. Some of the edicts found in the western parts of
Apart from the Greek and Aramaic writing systems used for the edicts, the newly devised Indian system of writing was made on an initiative during Aśoka’s reign, but we do not know anything about the details of this process. However, the system seems to have been rather autonomously devised, the so-called Karoṣṭhī
Thus, writing in India is intimately connected with Buddhism, and Buddhism exploited the “new”
Under these three ideal collections the various
These three, the Buddha image in its various aesthetic formulations, the
The Buddha, as represented in images and cultic implements, has throughout Buddhist history created industries and crafts. In fact, the very beginning of Indian art history is connected with Buddhism; the Brahmanical tradition was not interested in images for the same reasons that they were not interested in writing. However, the Gandhāran art from the beginning of the first millennium CE was definitely also influenced by Greek styles of sculpture, one of the rather obvious influences of
We will return to the literature of
This brings us to a particular mode of transfer of knowledge motifs, which are part of all traditions of Buddhism, but by no means confined to canonized literatures and monastic administration
In this case, the story can be traced historically by its
That diffusion took place between the Mediterranean world and India, and vice versa, in a long perspective of time, along the
Rather than a vague collection of motifs, however, Buddhism was a fairly well-defined
The earliest Chinese translations of
In this way, over the centuries a Chinese idiom of Buddhism was developed, an idiom that to some extent became a religious
Even though the
Thus, the rather simple language of pre-Buddhist Tibet was molded in the form of
The fields of knowledge of Buddhism were rather the trivium of the Western Middle Ages, that is grammar, logic and rhetoric. These were much more important than the
There is another important aspect of Indian knowledge transfer by Buddhism worth mentioning,
We see that
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Judaism and Hinduism are now also traditionally seen as “World Religions,” but since one is born into them, and access is limited by ethnicity, they might be counted as ethnic religions in that sense. Christianity, Islam and Buddhism, on the other side, in principle are not limited by ethnicity or birth, being universal and missionary movements, though in most historical situations, the various sects and schools indeed have been closely linked with national and ethnic identities. In respect of the globalization of ideas, Judaism is very much a universal religion, being the historical basis of both Christianity and Islam; and Hinduism, historically spreading Indian culture throughout South-East Asia, and with diaspora and missionary activities in modern times, may also thus be styled a “World Religion.”
For the origin and early spread of Buddhism in India and the neighboring regions like Sri Lanka and Gandhāra, see Lamotte 1988. On the North-Western diffusion and the origins of the writing systems, see Salomon et.al. 1999, and on the crafts that accompanied the spread of Buddhism into Central Asia, see Cribb and Errington 1992. For the South- and Southeast-Asian diffusion, see Bechert 1966–1973. Another classic is Coedès 1968, further in Skilling 2009 and Pande 2006. The monumental Buddhist Conquest of China by Eric Zürcher (1959) is still most useful; for Korea, see Buswell 1989; and for Japan, Bowring 2005; and in general Heirman and Bumbacher 2007. For the Tibetan case, see Kapstein 2000, with its ample bibliography. A comprehensive and up-to-date bibliography of Buddhism is Sueki 2008; see also Bingenheimer 2011. The details and dates of the introduction of Buddhism to the mentioned geographical areas sometimes build on very meager evidence, sometimes tending to the mythical rather than the strictly historical, and are thus contested by scholars. For a overview of Buddhism, see Freiberger and Kleine 2011.
For the Indian literacy developing under these circumstances, see Hinüber 1990, and for the writing systems of Kharoṣṭhī and Brāhmī—the last of which was the precursor of writing systems all over South Asia, including Tibetan—see Bright and Daniels 1996, 371ff. and Salomon et.al. 1999. For the inscriptions and their context, see Falk 2006.
See Salomon et.al. 1999; Allon and Braarvig 2000; Berkwitz et.al. 2009; Braarvig 2009; see also (Harrison and Hartmann forthcoming forthcoming).
The classic for Silk Road diffusion is Stein 1921; a further bibliography can be found in Bopearachchi and Errington 2000. The classic documentation of Tibetan art is Tucchi 1949; more recent works with bibliographies are Rhie and Thurman 1991; Singer and Denwood 1997; Whitfield and Sims-Williams 2004; Bräutigam et.al. 2006; Pande 2006; Skilling 2009. On the diffusion of architectural plans from India, see Bunce 2002; see also Franz 1978.
On a systematical treatment of the motifs in the Jātakas, see Grey 2000. The scholarly literature on the vinaya is voluminous, see Heirman and Bumbacher 2007.
See Braarvig 2009; cf. Warmington 1928.
On Greek influence in India, see Karttunen 1997; Lamotte 1988, 243ff. and 407ff.. On cultural communication between India and Greece, and the lack of such, see Halbfass 1988.
For traditional Chinese views on translations, their methodologies and styles, see Cheung 2006, which in a sense continues the pioneering work Fuchs 1930. Fuchs is the first to describe the various roles of the scholars, interpreters, writers and so forth, involved in the process of translating.
The principles of the use of transliterations instead of translations were set down by Xuánzàng, see Cheung 2006, 157: dhāraṇī, 它羅尼, tuóluóní (sacred formula); bhagavān, 簿珈 梵, bójiāfàn (the Lord); jambu, 閻俘樹, yánfúshù (name of India); anubodhi, 阿耨菩提, ānòupútí (Awakening), prajñā, 般若, bànruó, meaning “wisdom” is also translated as 智慧, zhìhuì, but Xuánzàng says that this has “less authority.”
This is why the oldest extant Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts were found here.
See Simonsson 1957; Ishikawa 1990; Verhagen 1994; in general Kapstein 2000.
On the first known printed text in China, CE 868, the Buddhist text Vajracchedikā, also found in Dunhuang, see Whitfield and Sims-Williams 2004. On writing in Tibet, see Schaeffer 2009.
In its origin Buddhist logic is mainly connected to discussions with the Brahmanical traditions, and as such in many cases is more aptly described as rhetoric or even “anti-logic,” very much in line with modern “deconstructionism.” In Tibet and China, it continued to treat problems of disagreement within the tradition of Buddhism itself. For India, see Potter 1977; Tibet: Kapstein 2000, 85ff.; China: Needham and Harbsmeier 1998.
See now, on Indian medicine in general, Meulenbeld 1999–2002, on Vāgbhaṭa, see vol. IA, 597ff. The dating of Vāgbhaṭa’s work is much discussed, but the main opinions place him in the late sixth or the early seventh century.
See Meulenbeld 1999–2002, vol. 1A, 656 for references to the discussion on the classical text on Tibetan medicine, the rGyud bźi and Vāgbhaṭa’s works. Tibetan medicine is also influenced by other traditions, but its early history remains unclear.
Table of Contents
1 The Globalization of Knowledge in History: An Introduction
Jürgen Renn, Malcolm D. Hyman
2 Knowledge and Science in Current Discussions of Globalization
Helge Wendt, Jürgen Renn
PART 1: From Technology Transfer to the Origins of Science
3 Survey: From Technology Transfer to the Origins of Science
Malcolm D. Hyman, Jürgen Renn
4 Technological Transfer and Innovation in Ancient Eurasia
Daniel T. Potts
6 The Origins of Writing and Arithmetic
PART 2: Knowledge as a Fellow Traveler
9 Survey: Knowledge as a Fellow Traveler
10 The Spread of Buddhism as Globalization of Knowledge
12 Normative Islam and Global Scientific Knowledge
13 From Khwarazm to Cordoba: The Propagation of Non-Religious Knowledge in the Islamic Empire
14 The Sciences in Europe: Transmitting Centers and the Appropriating Peripheries
Manolis Patiniotis, Kostas Gavroglu
PART 3: The Place of Local Knowledge in the Global Community
16 Survey: The Place of Local Knowledge in the Global Community
18 The Introduction of the European University System in Brazil
Oscar Abdounur, Adriana Cesar de Mattos
19 Celestial Navigation and Technological Change on Moce Island
Jarita C. Holbrook
21 On Juridico-Political Foundations of Meta-Codes
23 The Transformations of Knowledge Through Cultural Interactions in Brazil: The Case of the Tupinikim and the Guarani
Circe Mary Silva da Silva, Ligia Arantes Sad
PART 4: The Globalization of Modern Science
24 Survey: The Globalization of Modern Science
Jürgen Renn, Malcolm D. Hyman
25 The University of the 21st Century: An Aspect of Globalization
26 The Soviet Psychologists and the Path to International Psychology
27 The Global Diffusion of Nuclear Technology
28 The Role of Open and Global Communication in Particle Physics
Hans Falk Hoffmann
29 Internationalism and the History of Molecular Biology
30 The Role of Chemistry in the Global Energy Challenge
31 Climate Change as a Global Challenge – and its Implications for Knowledge Generation and Dissemination
Daniel Klingenfeld, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
32 Toward an Epistemic Web
Malcolm D. Hyman, Jürgen Renn
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