Seishi Karashima: Buddhism as a Cultural Bridge Between India and China

This is an Archive of a Past Event

With the spread of Buddhism to China and translations of Buddhist scriptures into Chinese, Indian culture and ideology began to exert an enormous influence on Chinese culture, literature, art, medicine, astronomy, and so on and further, on all the other East Asian cultures as well. My mentor, Dr. Ji Xianlin (季羡林, 1911-2009), a professor at Peking University, one of China’s best-known scholars and founder of Indology in China, once said, “If you want to explore Chinese philosophy, (or) history of Chinese thought, it would be very difficult without the knowledge of Sanskrit. If you want to understand Chinese culture, you have to understand Indian culture, because its influence on us is very deep” (broadcast in a programme, entitled “Impressive Personalities of China--- Ji Xianlin” [感動中國人物 –– 季羨林] in 2006). Just as modern European and American cultures and the English language have exerted great influence on China, Indian culture and language influenced it from the later Han to the Tang Dynasties. For this, I would like to give several examples.

About the Speaker

Seishi Karashima is Professor of Sino-Indian Buddhist Philology at The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology, Soka University, Tokyo. 1976–1994 studied Indology, Buddhist Studies and Sinology at the University of Tokyo (B.A. and M.A.), Cambridge University, Beijing University (Ph.D.) and at Freiburg University. Areas of publication and research: philological studies of early Buddhist Sanskrit Texts and early Chinese Buddhist translations.