Professor Lewis Lancaster至本系演講「MARITIME BUDDHISM」

  • 2016-11-15
  • Ruling Digital


On October 26th, 2016 the Department of Buddhist Studies had the privilege of receiving Professor Lewis Lancaster, from University of California Berkeley as a guest lecturer on “Maritime Buddhism.” Professor Lancaster has been conducting a research project called “Atlas of Maritime Buddhism.” The Atlas aims to show that Buddhist artefacts and sites clustered at seaports in India, as well as, around a number of other regions in Southeast Asia and Southern China. He believes that the network of Indian seaport merchants were a primary support for the spread of religions.

Professor Lancaster argued that sea mercantile activities during the early centuries may have enabled Buddhism to spread via sea trade routes towards the East. He began with introducing the idea that if we look at the earth from a different perspective, we will begin to see that all continents are linked. In this perspective, travel to any place in the world is possible; and while the land mass has remained the same, coastlines of the continents have changed. Furthermore, the areas to which Buddhism has spread seem to fall within a particular area, and most of the edges of this area are defined by sea. An examination of archaeological evidence, Buddhists artefacts, gathered from Southern India locations around or near seaports, may explain that not all trades could have taken place using land routes considering the numerous obstacles and high expense of such endeavours.  If we examine this, a new pattern seems to emerge which made the transmission of Buddhism via sea trades a stronger possibility.


Professor Lancaster showed that if one thinks “out of the box”, and goes further by looking for patterns, new insights could be reached. Apart from showing us the possibility of Maritime Buddhism, Professor Lancaster also showed us that pushing the boundaries of established scholarship, asking questions and engaging in out-of-the-box thinking can reveal new views on subjects we may have thought to be already well explored. This lecture was certainly a rare opportunity for those who were fortunate enough to attend, to be able to appreciate and learn much from this experienced gentleman scholar.



20161026日佛教學系榮幸的接待了Lewis Lancaster教授,教授來自加州大學伯克萊分校,講座題目為海洋上的佛教 Lancaster教授正在進行一個計畫名為海洋上的佛教輿圖。這個輿圖的目的在於標示出在印度港口及東南亞及南洋地區週邊所找到的佛教文物。他認為,印度海港商人的網絡是宗教傳播的的主要支撐。