We are delighted to announce the publication of Dr. Lewis R. Lancaster’s latest work, The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road, now available online and in paperback edition. With 40 years of intensive studies and research, The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road presents readers with the concept of the “Great Circle of Buddhism”—the spread of Buddhism from India to other Asian countries through not only the land but also the sea.
Dr. Lancaster, a professor emeritus of the University of California (Berkeley) and an expert on Buddhist studies, is the leader of the research project. His research team comprises more than 100 specialists in archeology, museology, genetics, chronological dating of wood, and art history, thus presenting multiple aspects of the history of Maritime Buddhism.
The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road by Dr. Lancaster is based on his series of lectures for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of the West. In his lectures, Dr. Lancaster provides an overview of the search for models that explain how Buddhism spread from the Ganges Basin and came to be established in the Southeast region of Eurasia. These areas form a vast circle, which the professor refers to as the Great Circle of Buddhism. The research covers a total of seven countries, eight tangible cultural heritages, and over 100 Buddhist archeological sites, presenting an atlas of maritime Buddhism including both Theravada and Mahayana traditions.
The book also features full-color photographs from the Buddhist Maritime Silk Road – New Media Art Exhibition, displayed at the Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum in Taiwan and the City University of Hong Kong. As part of the data collection process, Prof. Sarah Kenderdine (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland) received funding from the Australian Research Council to photograph Buddhist sites connected to the maritime route from India to East Asia in 3D and surround imaging. A sizable collection of high-density photos, videos, and sound recordings were produced as a result of more than three months of filming with camera crews in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Cambodia, and China.
These images were then installed as museum exhibitions by Prof. Jeffrey Shaw (Hong Kong Baptist University) using 3D and virtual reality technology to allow visitors to experience the art, architecture, and cultural features along the journey from India to China.
Online book launch
The Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism and Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum will be hosting two online panels in mid-July to celebrate the book’s release.
Discussion with Ven. Ru Chang, the main curator of the Buddhist Maritime Silk Road exhibition, and Dr. Hsinya Huang, translation advisor to the Chinese edition.
Moderator: Ven. You Xian (Deputy Director, FGS Buddha Museum)
Panelists: Ven. Ru Chang (Director, FGS Buddha Museum)
Dr. Hsinya Huang (Distinguished Professor of American and Comparative Literature, National Sun Yat-Sen University)
ZOOM: Premiere simultaneously
The Chinese-language panel will be held at the following times:
Auckland: 12am, Sunday 17 July
Canberra: 10pm, Sunday 16 July
Seoul, Tokyo: 9pm, Saturday 16 July
Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei: 8pm, Saturday 16 July
Bangkok, Jakarta: 7pm, Saturday 16 July
New Delhi: 5:30pm, Saturday 16 July
Moscow: 3pm, Saturday 16 July
Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm: 2pm, Saturday 16 July
London: 1pm, Saturday 16 July
Montreal, New York: 8am, Saturday 16 July
Los Angeles, Vancouver: 5am, Saturday 16 July
Interview with the author, Dr. Lancaster, regarding the groundbreaking perspectives and ideas put forth in the book.
Moderator: Ven. Miao Guang (Deputy Chancellor, FGS Institute of Humanistic Buddhism)
Panelist: Dr. Lewis R. Lancaster (Emeritus Professor of the Department of East Asian Languages, University of California, Berkeley)
ZOOM replay: Monday, 18 July 20:00–21:00 (GMT+8)
The English-language panel will be held at the following times:
Auckland: 5am, Monday 18 July
Canberra: 3am, Monday 18 July
Seoul, Tokyo: 2am, Monday 18 July
Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei: 1am, Monday 18 July
Bangkok, Jakarta: 12am, Monday 18 July
New Delhi: 10:30pm, Sunday 17 July
Moscow: 8pm, Sunday 17 July
Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm: 7pm, Sunday 17 July
London: 6pm, Sunday 17 July
Montreal, New York: 1pm, Sunday 17 July
Los Angeles, Vancouver: 10am, Sunday 17 July
To receive the link closer to the book launch, please register online below. The English video will be posted on the FGS Institute of Humanistic Buddhism (FGSIHB) YouTube Channel.
The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road, published by Fo Guang Shan Institute of Humanistic Buddhism, is the companion book to the museum exhibition. It offers an explanation of the information gathered from filming and thorough research that shapes the narrative about Maritime Buddhism.
The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road—New Media Art Exhibition is currently held at Fo Guang Shan Buddha Museum (Gallery 3) from May 2021 until May 2026.
To view the virtual exhibition, please visit: tinyurl.com/yeyndmjx
The digital edition of The Buddhist Maritime Silk Road is now available on Google Books and Academia.edu. Its paperback edition is also available on the Fo Guang Cultural Enterprise website and Books.com.tw.