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Buddhist Studies II

Session Chair: N.N. | Tuesday, 3:30-5:30 p.m. | Venue

Timur Badmatsyrenov

The Past and Present of the Buddhist community of Buryatia

This paper analyses the evolution of the Buddhist community in the Russian Federation’s republic of Buryatia. The paper focuses on several key themes in the Buryat Buddhist community: Buddhism and the Buryat national-cultural revival; Dalai-Lama XIV and Tibetans in exile; inner-sangha relations and the development of Buddhist religious organizations; public policy and the Buddhist clergy; the rise of virtual Internet Sangha and social, cultural and political activities of local Buddhists. The paper will also explore one specific issue - “the uncorrupted body of Pandito Khambo-lama D.-D. Itegelov” – which could be described as a result of constructing activity of the Buddhist clergy. Finally, the paper analyses how the Buddhist community interacts with other important actors, such as intellectuals, politicians and local NGOs.

Mahinda Deegalle

The Dynamics of Religious Extremism: Contextualizing Bodu Bala Sena in the Post-war Sri Lanka

The upsurge of extremism in world religious traditions is noted more frequently now. This paper aims to introduce the most recent phase of religious extremism in the post-war Sri Lanka with a focus on a Buddhist activist group. This revivalist organization named as Bodu Bala Sena (The Army of Buddhist Forces) is headed by two leading Buddhist monks, Wimalajothi and Gnanasara, and has its headquarters in Colombo and its current manifestation can be traced to the mid-2012. This organization’s protests have brought about the collapse of good relationships that existed between the Buddhist majority and minorities. Concentrating on primary materials written in Sinhala (that are not yet readily available in English) this paper will contextualize factors that led to the formation of the Bodu Bala Sena and will locate it in the historical context of the development of Buddhist organizations in the post-colonial Sri Lanka.

Gabriele Coura

Monastic Life in Nineteenth Century Tibet: Normative Texts by the First Kongtrul

The First Kongtrul Rinpoche, Lodrö Taye (1813-1899), was an outstanding figure in Tibetan religious history. Trained not only in Buddhism, but also in painting, medicine and Sanskrit, he was active in the non-sectarian (Rimé) movement, established the three-year retreat as a form of monastic training, as well as a center for its practice, and was a prolific writer. Among the texts authored by him, some treat various aspects of conduct appropriate for a Buddhist practitioner. Based on several of these writings, either already published in English or newly translated from Tibetan, the paper investigates Kongtrul’s approach to monastic discipline: To what extent is it innovative, to what extent conservative? Why did he consider innovation necessary? Which strategies of legitimization did he use? What was his view on the teacher-student relationship? How did the discipline requirements for three-year retreatants differ from those for members of open monastic communities?


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