Monday, March 23, 2009
Buddhism in the Krishna River Valley of Andhra
Despite popular and scholarly perceptions of Magadha in northeastern India (modern Bihar) as the center of Indian Buddhism, the essays in this volume collectively make a strong case that the Buddhism of the Krishna River Valley in southeastern India (modern Andhra Pradesh) likewise played a pivotal role in the rise and development of the religion, and profoundly impacted subsequent Buddhist traditions, not only in India and the Indian subcontinent but throughout Southeast and East Asia as well. We are particularly interested in this theme, not only because one of us is originally from Andhra, grew up in the shadow of many of its famous archaeological sites and had an opportunity to study them as a part of pursuing academic degrees, but also because Buddhism in this region has been largely neglected within the scholarship to date. The impetus for this volume also stems from conversations between the editors about the present revival in interest about Buddhism now taking place in Andhra Pradesh among archaeologists, historians, politicians, and the general public. During our conversations, we also realized how a number of our own friends from various disciplines in the scholarly community, archaeologists, art historians, epigraphists, historians of religion, and philosophers, shared interests with us in the significance of Buddhism in the Krishna River Valley. We invited some of these colleagues to participate in panels at the meetings of Association for Asian.