NSW: Buddhist Studies Lecture Series, October 2023

Taj Mughal Stūpa, GilgitAssociate Professor Jason Neelis from Wilfrid Laurier University is the holder of the 2023 University Buddhist Education Foundation (UBEF) Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies. As part of this Professorship, he will deliver a lecture series on following Thursdays during October in the John Woolley Building at the University of Sydney.

Buddhism on the Northern Routes (Uttarāpatha)

In four lectures, Associate Professor Jason Neelis will retrace a network for Buddhist institutional expansion, cultural exchange, administration, and trade between northern India and the northwestern borderlands between South Asia and Central Asia known in literary and epigraphical sources as the Northern Routes (Sanskrit uttarāpatha). There routes connected India with the Iranian, Mediterranean, and Chinese worlds via the famed Silk Route. Multiple arteries on a northwest–southeast axis connected the ancient heartland of Buddhism in northeastern India through the Ganges-Yamuna river doāb to Mathura, the Punjab, Taxila, Gandhāra, the Upper Indus region of northern Pakistan, and an ‘old road’ across the Hindu Kush of Afghanistan. Focusing on Buddhist archaeological, literary and epigraphical sources, this series will address the historical significance of the Northern Routes as an arterial network and connotations of the Uttarāpatha as a geographical-cultural term with polyvalent associations in order to contextualize early characteristics in the development of Buddhism.

Lecture 1: Emergence of Buddhism in ‘Greater’ Magadha and Kośala (Śrāvastī)
Thursday 12 October, 2:00‒3.30pm; Rodgers Room (N397), John Woolley Building

Lecture 2: Development of Buddhism in the Middle Countries (Madhyadeśa)
Thursday 2:00‒3.30pm, 19 October; Rodgers Room (N397), John Woolley Building

Lecture 3: Expansion of Buddhism in the Northwestern Borderlands (Taxila, Gandhāra, and Bactria)
Thursday 2:00‒3.30pm, 26 October; Woolley Common Room, John Woolley Building

Lecture 4: Long-Distance Transmission of Buddhism along the Upper Indus River
Thursday 2 November at 2:00‒3.30pm; Rodgers Room (N397), John Woolley Building

Please note that the venue for the 26 October lecture will be the Woolley Common Room, not the Rogers Room.

Jason Neelis is Associate Professor of South Asian Religions at Wilfrid Laurier University, where he has taught courses in the Department of Religion and Culture since 2010. He is the author of Early Buddhist Transmission and Trade Networks: Mobility and Exchange within and beyond the Northwestern Borderlands of South Asia (Brill). He currently directs an interdisciplinary project on Epigraphic and Petroglyphic Complexes of the Upper Indus in Northern Pakistan in collaboration with Australian specialists.

The University Buddhist Education Foundation (UBEF) Visiting Professorship in Buddhist Studies was established at the University of Sydney in 2009 through the generosity of the UBEF for the purpose of sponsoring an extended visit to Sydney of a distinguished international scholar in any field of Buddhist Studies in order to expose students and academics to current trends in research and to raise the profile of Buddhist Studies in Australia. It is administered by the Discipline of Asian Studies in the School of Languages and Cultures. Past recipients were Professors Peter Skilling (EFEO, 2009), Geoffrey Samuel (University of Cardiff, 2010), Karen Lang (Virginia, 2011), Bernard Faure (Columbia, 2012), David Eckel (Boston University, 2013), Richard Salomon (University of Washington, 2016), Lara Braitstein (McGill University, 2018), Michael Zimmerman (University of Hamburg, 2019) and John Powers (ANU, 2021).

If you are unable to attend in person, you are welcome to join via Zoom using this link: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/j/82467761077. For further information, please contact Associate Professor Mark Allon (mark.allon@sydney.edu.au).


Taj Mughal Stūpa, Gilgit
Taj Mughal Stūpa, Gilgit