Dr. Lewis R. Lancaster is Emeritus Professor of the Department of East Asian Languages at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.
The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road recounts the magnificent history of the world of Maritime Buddhism from a diverse range of aspects—the various Buddhist traditions, pilgrims and monks, causes and conditions, norms and rituals, cross-cultural relations between East and West, as well as the intricacies of navigation technology, and migrations of the Austronesian peoples—all remarkable and crucial elements of the transmission of Buddhism brought to new heights of importance.
In this book, Dr. Lewis R. Lancaster innovatively shifts the focus to documenting the dynamic networks and systems of interchange in Eurasia, instead of the common approach of historical, event-structured analysis. The fascinating history of the spread of Buddhism begins in the early years of the Common Era, when animal caravans began treading across the inland routes between India and China, evolving as sea routes flourished over centuries. It emerges that Buddhism flowed and thrived along with the beating pulse of the trading networks. The northern overland and southern maritime trading routes converged, conjuring forth an iconic cycle described by Lancaster as “The Great Circle of Buddhism.”
Chapter 1 Introduction Cross-Regional Connections in Eurasia Reconstructing the History of Trade
Chapter 2 Origin and Spread of Buddhism Urbanization and Mercantile Activities in the Buddha’s Time Monsoon and Its Impact on the Sangha Community Relics and Stupa Veneration after the Buddha’s Nirvana Beyond the Boundaries of Indian Peninsula Buddhist Expansion in a Great Circle
Chapter 3 The Great Circle of Buddhism and Its Rim Traces of Maritime Commerce and Buddhism Maritime Trade as an Essential Support for Buddhist Transmission Formation of Cities and Buddhist Communities Buddhist Teachings and Pilgrimages along The Great Circle
Chapter 4 Buddhism along the Sea Routes Early Buddhism Mahayana Tantra Reformed (Theravada)
Chapter 5 Conclusion Buddhist Expansion in a Mandala-like Structure Spread of Buddhism in East Asia: Developing New Routes