Richard Salomon - Professor, Asian Languages and Literature, University of Washington at Seattle and Director of British Library/University of Washington Early Buddhist Manuscripts Project
Gandhara, the ancient region corresponding to modern northern Pakistan and adjoining areas of Afghanistan, has been a major cultural crossroads throughout history, serving, for example, as the main node for the transmission of Buddhism from its Indian homeland to Central and East Asia. Our knowledge of the history, literature and culture of Gandhara in its most flourishing period, around the first three centuries of the Common Era, has been vastly enhanced by the discovery within the last few years of important new inscriptions, and especially of large numbers of Buddhist manuscripts. The new manuscripts have revealed an entire new body of literature of early Indian Buddhism, while the inscriptions have clarified their historical and cultural context. The lecture will provide an overview and evaluation of these new materials.