Download e-book for kindle: Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road by Johan Elverskog

By Johan Elverskog

ISBN-10: 0812242378

ISBN-13: 9780812242379

In the modern international the assembly of Buddhism and Islam is regularly imagined as one in all violent disagreement. certainly, the Taliban's destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001 appeared not just to reenact the notorious Muslim destruction of Nalanda monastery within the 13th century but additionally to reaffirm the stereotypes of Buddhism as a relaxed, rational philosophy and Islam as an inherently violent and irrational faith. but when Buddhist-Muslim heritage was once easily repeated circumstances of Muslim militants attacking representations of the Buddha, how had the Bamiyan Buddha statues survived 13 hundred years of Muslim rule?

Buddhism and Islam at the Silk Road demonstrates that the background of Buddhist-Muslim interplay is way richer and extra advanced than many think. This groundbreaking e-book covers internal Asia from the 8th century in the course of the Mongol empire and to the top of the Qing dynasty within the overdue 19th century. by way of exploring the conferences among Buddhists and Muslims alongside the Silk highway from Iran to China over greater than a millennium, Johan Elverskog unearths that this lengthy stumble upon was once truly one in all profound cross-cultural trade within which spiritual traditions weren't in simple terms enriched yet remodeled in lots of ways.

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Sample text

In tandem with the rise of the powerful Gupta dynasty in India (320-550 c . ) and the consolidation of Sassanid power in Iran, there was an expansion of maritime trade across the Indian Ocean. Trading networks thus not only moved down the Konkan coast to Sri Lanka,63 but also flourished between India and Iran with the Aksumite Empire of Ethiopia, whose control of this east-west maritime trade was to be challenged only with the subsequent rise of Islam. 64 It is thus clear that the rise of maritime trade resulted in Buddhist migrations toward these new trading networks in both the north and south along the rim of the Indian Ocean.

58 Yet the Arabs persisted with their incursions into this area. A valid question is why? The fact of the matter is that Baladhuri’s description has more to do with military logistics than any real cultural or economic analysis. 59 Money was thus certainly there, but not necessarily Buddhists’. Indeed, as Xuanzang lamented, many of the old trade routes in the valleys south of the Hindu Kush where Buddhism origi­ nally flourished had gone bust. One reason Buddhism failed in this region was, as noted above, the move of the Kushans to the south and the creation of a specifically Hindu cultural and political sphere that was to dominate South Asia for a millen­ nium.

112 48 Chapter One Buddhists and Muslim Rule The common view of Muslim rule is one of violence and persecution. Namely, non-Muslims were either threatened with the sword or else bur­ dened with the loathsome jizya, the poll tax levied on those who did not accept Muhammad’s revelation. While this certainly makes for a powerful story and still fires the imagination from Bosnia to India, as with so much else commonly said about Islam, it is wrong. 113 One of the reasons for this was quite simply the fact that the Arabs were a tiny minority ruling a vast majority of non-Muslims, who were themselves not only grappling with the issue of conversion, but, as noted above, their conversion and status within the Muslim community was still a matter of great debate.

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Buddhism and Islam on the Silk Road by Johan Elverskog

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