Announcing the BuddhistRoad's Start-up Conference

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On May 23rd–25th, 2018, the ERC founded research project BuddhistRoad is going to hold its start-up conference on Establishing of Buddhist Nodes in Eastern Central Asia 6th to 14th c.—Part I: Sacred Space, Pilgrimage, Patronage, Legitimation Strategies at the Beckmanns Hof at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Germany.

BuddhistRoad aims to create a new framework to enable understanding of the complexities in the dynamics of cultural encounter and religious transfer in pre-modern Eastern Central Asia—a region that was the crossroads of ancient civilizations. The spread of Buddhism overrode the ethnic and linguistic boundaries along the Silk Road creating something akin to a religious civilization, which despite its diversity, endorsed a common or similar set of Buddhist ideas and practices from various cultural perspectives. One crucial aspect of this process was the rise of local forms of Buddhism.

The project aims at investigating such Buddhist developments as they emerged between the 6th–14th centuries. The research project is intended to create a new trans-regional and trans-cultural vision of Buddhist transfer in Eastern Central Asian history and shall seek to reformulate previous held notions concerning this Buddhist network. For the first time the multi-layered and intricate relationships between the trans-regional Buddhist traditions (Chinese, Indian, Tibetan) and those based on local Buddhist cultures (Khotanese, Uyghur, Tangut, Kitan) will be explored in a systematic way.

The aim of this conference is to investigate the complexities concerning legitimation, patronage and donors in Central Asian Buddhist communities on the one hand, and issues relating to sacred spaces and pilgrimage on the other. While the focus will be on the cultures that thrived along the Silk Road during the period 6–14th centuries, the scope of the meeting will also include these topics in adjacent areas and cultures in order to provide viable comparative and theoretical basis for further elucidation and discussion.

Please see that attached program for your information. Scholars interested in the conference are welcome to send a participation request by E-Mail latest by May 3rd, 2018 to buddhistroad@rub.de since the space available at the venue is limited. Please find the most recent version of the program of the conference here.

* Participants are expected to arrive in Bochum on the 23rd of May so as to be ready for the first presentation to take place at Beckmanns Hof in the evening as set out in the program.