This chapter introduces the Divyāvadāna, an early and important collection of Indian Buddhist narratives, and the ways that Buddhism is configured within the text as a visual practice. The chapter then attempts to locate the value of this practice within a market-based morality in which merit is the principle commodity. This form of Buddhism has close ties with mercantilism, and acts of faith within this moral economy are investments that follow a contractual logic. The chapter then introduces the specifics of the chapters to follow.
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