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Buddhist Practice and Visual Culture
This is the first study to provide an overall interpretation of the Buddhist monument Borobudur in Indonesia. Including both the narrative reliefs and the Buddha images, the book opens up a wealth of information on Mahayana Buddhist religious ideas and practices that could have informed Borobudur and it convincingly interprets Borobudur within that context.The author explores a version of the classical Mahayana that foregrounds the importance of the visual in relation to Buddhist philosophy, cosmology, soteriology, meditation, devotion, and ritual. The absence of the living historical Buddha was a source of deep regret for classical Mahayanists, but the Buddha could be "seen" by realizing the true nature of his teaching, through visionary experience, by encountering his numinous presence in images, or through some combination of the three. Consequently the author shows that the architects of Borobudur designed a visual world in which the Buddha appeared in a variety of forms and could be interpreted in all three ways.Presenting new material, the book contributes immensely to a new and better understanding of the significance of the Borobudur for the field of Buddhist and Religious Studies.
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Taylor & Francis
April 20, 2011
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