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Library of Lectures and Articles

Language Hierarchy, Buddhism and Worldly Authority in Yunnan, Laos, Etc.

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Eisel Mazard

When Cambodia gained its independence from France, a concerted effort was made to replace French loan-words with ancient-sounding neologisms: new Cambodian words were coined through the combination of Pali parts.1 This reflects a tradition that can be traced back through several centuries of adapting the unfamiliar syllables of Pali and Sanskrit into more indigenous-sounding forms; it also reflects a unique era of optimism when European colonialism seemed to have come to its end—an optimism that proved to be painfully brief. In the past century, the ancient, dead language of Pali has had a rather lively role in mainland Southeast Asia: it has not only been used to expunge French words from Cambodian, but also to expunge Thai words from Lao, and Lao words from Thai. While Pali is an equally foreign language to all of the countries and cultures concerned, it has retained its status as a touchstone of cultural authenticity for all. This paper reflects on the basis of that sociolinguistic perception in more tangible relations of authority.

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The Rigveda, 'small scale' societies and rebirth eschatology

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Joanna Jurewicz

In this paper I would like to join the discussion about transmigration in Vedic times. It is generally assumed that the ideas of transmigration were introduced by the kṣatriyas, as attested in the Upaniads (Bṛhadāraṇyaka, Chāndogya, Kauṣītaki) . The BU and CU present the ‘knowledge of five fires’ (pañcāgnividyā) together with the division into the pityāna and devayāna, paths taken by the dead according to their past deeds. The model of five fires is used to explain how the world works also in the Jaiminīya Brāhmaa (JB 1.45-46, 49-50). This Brāhmaṇa too presents two possible ways the dead can take, depending on their knowledge.

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The Rise of the Concept of ‘Own-Nature’ (Sabhāva) in the Paṭisambhidāmagga

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Noa Ronkin (Gal)

The Buddha’s teaching, as it is recorded in the first basket of the Pali Canon, the Sutta-piaka, is presented as the path leading to the solution of the fundamental problem of human existence, namely, dukkha, customarily translated as ‘suffering’. The Buddha’s message contains doctrinal concepts and theoretical statements on the nature of suffering, its cause and the way to its cessation, but these are merely guidelines for making sense of Buddhist thought and do not amount to a systematic theory.

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Crossing the wilderness: how the Buddha narrates his own travels.

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Sarah Shaw

In this paper I would like to look at a travel story of a different kind. It describes a physical journey, but begins a collection of stories about travel in a larger sense: the journey of one individual, and his followers,  across many lifetimes and rebirths as different kinds of  animal, human and god.

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