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Guardian of a Dying Flame

Guardian of a Dying Flame

Śāriputra (c. 1335–1426) and the End of Late Indian Buddhism

Arthur McKeown

ISBN 9780674984356

Publication date: 09/03/2019

Arthur McKeown presents the first full-length analysis of the continuation of Buddhism in India after the thirteenth century. This study describes later Indian Buddhism through a detailed examination of the life of Śāriputra (c. 1335–1426), the last known abbot of the Bodhgayā Mahāvihāra, whose very presence extends Indian Buddhism by two centuries. This work also provides a view into the legacy of Indian Buddhism in fifteenth-century Nepal, Tibet, and China. McKeown follows Śāriputra’s travels and works throughout pan-Buddhist Asia, from restoring the Swayambhunātha caitya in Nepal and establishing tantric lineages in Tibet to overseeing the rebuilding of the Mahābodhi temple in Ming Dynasty Beijing.

McKeown centers his examination on newly revealed Tibetan and Chinese biographies of Śāriputra, as well as looking at a collection of historical documents in Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Chinese. These sources point to a fundamental reconsideration of later Indian Buddhism, its relationship with Brahmanism and Islam, and its enduring importance throughout Central, East, and Southeast Asia.

Author

  • Arthur McKeown is Assistant Professor of Asian Studies at Carleton College, Minnesota.

Book Details

  • 480 pages
  • 7 x 10 inches
  • Harvard University Department of South Asian Studies

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