Organized Panel Session
Rarely does an entirely new area of study emerge, but such is the case with Gandhāran Buddhism, largely thanks to recent and ongoing manuscript discoveries. The history of Buddhism across Asia owes much to developments that occurred in Gandhāra (modern day eastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan), beginning in the centuries around the turn of the Common Era. At this time, Gandhāra served as a continental trade hub linking diverse cultures, and the Buddhist practices and literary innovations coursing through this region shaped Buddhist thought and contributed to its spread from South to East Asia. And yet, only in the last two decades has the significance of Gandhāran Buddhism been fully recognized; it remains mostly absent from curricula about Buddhism. With the publication this year of Richard Salomon’s The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra (2018), Gandhāran Buddhism is introduced to a wider audience, cementing it as an independent tradition worthy of study by scholars of Asian religions.