Accepted Paper:

A lingua franca for a Buddhist Cosmopolis: Pali at Bagan  


Tilman Frasch

Paper Short Abstract:

The paper will focus on the Pali inscriptions from Bagan and their bearing on our understanding of the city as a Buddhist cosmopolis.

Paper long abstract:

Research on Bagan during the past two decades has shown that the city was a nodal point of an - at times closely knit - network connecting Buddhist communities around the Bay of Bengal and the Southeast Asian mainland, the role of the city as a transcultural centre of monastic learning and scholarship has hardly been recognized. The Buddhist cosmopolis Bagan was home to monks from India, Sri Lanka, Malaya and apparently the Khmer empire as well, for all of whom Pali served as a lingua franca. With two recent find adding to an already impressive list, Bagan is home to probably the largest number of Pali inscriptions anywhere in medieval (and possibly pre-modern) Asia. The paper will introduce the newly-found Pali inscriptions and discuss their bearing on the formation of the Buddhist cosmoplois.

Panel P06
Myanmar: its past and its regional and inter-regional interactions