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A Tide of Merit: Royal Patrons, Tāmraparṇīya monks, and the Buddha’s Awakening in 5th–6th century Āndhradeśa

Abstract : Stressing the importance of 5th-6th-century copper-plate charters connected to the Viṣṇukuṇḍin dynasty for the history of Buddhism in Āndhradeśa, this article demonstrates that, contrary to earlier scholarly assumptions, and despite the paucity of archeological evidence for Buddhist activity at that time, Buddhist lineages still benefitted from lavish donations by ruling families. This study consists of three parts: the first explores the representation of two Viṣṇukuṇḍin rulers as Buddhist kings, and shows how their portraits and their aspirations are permeated by the ideology of the Bodhi-* I am especially grateful to Arlo Griffiths, mastermind of the Early Inscriptions of Āndhradeśa corpus, for his critical role in the edition of all inscriptions that form the basis of this study, and for his regular feedback during its long gestation. I also wish to thank Stefan Baums and Ingo Strauch for their important contributions to the edition of the Nagarjunakonda and Ikṣvāku inscriptions discussed in this article, to Emmanuel Francis and Akira Shimada for instructive correspondence and conversations, and to Stefano Zacchetti for his ever-precious guidance in Chinese territory. Finally, I am grateful to Cristina Scherrer-Schaub, Aruna Gamage, Christian Lammerts, and to the two anonymous reviewers for their insightful comments and corrections on previous versions of this paper. Needless to say, any errors that remain are my own.
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Vincent Tournier. A Tide of Merit: Royal Patrons, Tāmraparṇīya monks, and the Buddha’s Awakening in 5th–6th century Āndhradeśa. Indo-Iranian Journal, Brill Academic Publishers, 2018, 61 (1), pp.20-96. ⟨10.1163/15728536-06101003⟩. ⟨halshs-02436883⟩

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