[Buddha-l] Nalanda ancient Buddhist seat of learning to rise again?

JKirkpatrick jkirk at spro.net
Fri Aug 6 11:15:59 MDT 2010


Nalanda, an ancient seat of learning destroyed in 1193, will rise
again thanks to a Nobel-winning economist
By Andrew Buncombe
Wednesday, 4 August 2010

During the six centuries of its storied existence, there was
nothing else quite like Nalanda University. Probably the
first-ever large educational establishment, the college - in what
is now eastern India - even counted the Buddha among its visitors
and alumni. At its height, it had 10,000 students, 2,000 staff
and strove for both understanding and academic excellence. Today,
this much-celebrated centre of Buddhist learning is in ruins.

After a period during which the influence and importance of
Buddhism in India declined, the university was sacked in 1193 by
a Turkic general, apparently incensed that its library may not
have contained a copy of the Koran. The fire is said to have
burned and smouldered for several months.

Now this famed establishment of philosophy, mathematics, language
and even public health is poised to be revived. A beguiling and
ambitious plan to establish an international university with the
same overarching vision as Nalanda - and located alongside its
physical ruins - has been spearheaded by a team of international
experts and leaders, among them the Nobel-winning economist
Amartya Sen. This week, legislation that will enable the building
of the university to proceed is to be placed before the Indian

"At its peak it offered an enormous number of subjects in the
Buddhist tradition, in a similar way that Oxford [offered] in the
Christian tradition - Sanskrit, medicine, public health and
economics," Mr Sen said yesterday in Delhi................[more
in article]


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