This is the eighth part of a series of short films about Buddhism and especially its artistic and cultural contributions in India and surrounding countries by the renowned Indian cultural historian Benoy H. Behl, whose films I have featured many times on this website.
Today’s episode looks at the great monasteries that were established in Orissa, on the eastern coast of India, and the remains which have been found there.
Although Orissa is hardly on the Buddhist map any more, in the Middle Ages it was one of the great centres of Buddhist learning, and cultural expression, and has some of the finest remains from the period, though they are still only partly excavated. Today, owing to lack of funding, the sites in the state are in danger of being lost.
Orissa played a large part in the rise of Vajrayāna Buddhism, owing to its study centres, but also housed Theravāda and Mahāyāna monastics, and their scriptures. We also briefly see a community of weavers who have retained their Buddhist faith since ancient times.
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