Saturday, March 04, 2017

Another article by William Dalrymple on Ajanta

Which I missed and in which he discusses the work of Gregory Schopen ( whose work was linked before Putting the hump in Indian BudhismThe greatest ancient picture gallery:
"Schopen shows how the inscriptions left at Buddhist sites tend to record a far less idealized picture of life in early Buddhist India than the later documents that have been the foundational texts of modern Buddhist scholarship. He points out, for example, that Buddhist monks, far from being the otherworldly creatures often imagined by Western scholars, were frequently extremely worldly and “men of considerable wealth,” running businesses and mints; many were clearly sleeping around, lending money, and writing treatises on such unexpected subjects as inheritance law, medicine, and eroticism; some were even getting into sectarian fights, hoarding weapons, destroying the stupas of rival orders, and abusing and occasionally trying to murder nuns. They were, in other words, not saints but normal human beings."

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