Cornell University

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"The Disappearance of the Dharma"

Friday, November 11, 2022 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Virtual Event

Please join the Society for Buddhist Studies for a talk by Andrew Ollett (The University of Chicago).

Buddhist and Jain traditions saw their teachings as part of a “dispensation” (tīrtha in Jainism) that has both a beginning and an end. This is in absolute contrast to dominant self-perceptions of Brahmanical traditions as eternal. Buddhists and Jains, moreover, imagined the precise circumstances in which their teachings would disappear from the earth. In the ineluctable process of disappearance, there will always be external factors: society, the state, religious institutions, and most of all the environment can change in ways that are unpredictable and not conducive to the continuation of the teaching (sāsanassa pavēṇī). But disappearance of a teaching means its disappearance from a continuous chain of oral transmission and memory, and over these factors, even in adverse circumstances, the bearers of the tradition remain responsible. This talk focuses on Buddhaghōsa’s commentary on Aṅguttaranikāya II.41.

This event is co-sponsored by the GPSA-FC and the Department of Asian Studies, and is open to all interested.

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