Monday, 27 May 2013

Nalanda: Can India Revive An Ancient Buddhist University A Thousand Years After Its Destruction?

Nalanda Ruins (Wiki)

From International Business Times                      

By Palash Ghosh

"India’s Nalanda University is accepting students – almost a millennium after it was destroyed by Muslim invaders. Renowned during the first millennium of the Christian period as one of the world’s top centers of learning well before Oxford, Cambridge and Bologna universities were even established, Nalanda, in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar, is seeking a miraculous second life, partially due to the efforts of Nobel Prize-winning Indian economist Amartya Sen, and other educators and statesmen.

The new Nalanda International University wants to attract top students and faculty from around the world in an attempt to restore the glories and grandeur of the “old” Nalanda, a Buddhist institution that drew scholars from across Asia and even as far away as Greece, prior to its destruction by Afghan Muslim invaders in 1193. According to legends, the school’s library was so vast that it took three days to burn [see #20 'Jahiliyya'].

In a message on the new school’s website, Sen noted that when the oldest university in Europe, the University of Bologna in Italy, was established in 1088, Nalanda had already been in existence for six centuries. At its peak, Nalanda had some 10,000 students and 2,000 teachers. It may have been the first educational institution to have its own residential dormitories.

Xuanzang, a seventh century Chinese monk, wrote extensively about Nalanda, including a description of its nine-story library. "Xuanzang was looking to study with the people who knew the [Buddhist] texts best. Nalanda was already reaching the heights of its power and prestige. It was known in Korea and Japan - its reputation had spread through the Asian trade routes," said Mishi Saran, an Indian author now based in Shanghai.

"When Xuanzang was at Nalanda, it was a vibrant place, packed with scholars, with seminars, teaching and debate. It was a kind of Buddhist ‘Ivy League’ institution -- all the deepest ideas about Buddhism were explored and dissected at Nalanda...”   Read the rest here

I just hope they've got good security. Having destroyed it once, the terrorists aren't going to be happy to see it rebuilt, and it's likely to be an iconic target.   Terrorists are already expected to attack Buddhism's holiest site at Bodh Gaya.   Maybe the university ought to hire those martial arts monks from Bodu Bala Sena and the 969 Movement as security guards.

See   No future for Buddhism in an Islamized World

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

no i don't think so b'cause it needs "impartial vision" which is lacking