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Places in MotionThe Fluid Identities of Temples, Images, and Pilgrims$
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Jacob N. Kinnard

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199359653

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359653.001.0001

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The Drama of Viṣṇu and the Buddha at Bodhgayā*

The Drama of Viṣṇu and the Buddha at Bodhgayā*

(p.80) 4 The Drama of Viṣṇu and the Buddha at Bodhgayā*
Places in Motion

Jacob N. Kinnard

Oxford University Press

The focus of the present is Bodhgayā, the place where Siddhārtha Gautama attained enlightenment in the fifth century BCE. This is the place where he became the Buddha. Despite its considerable significance in Buddhist literature and iconography, Bodhgayā is not only a Buddhist place; Hindus have been visiting Bodhgayā since at least the Buddha’s own lifetime, and beginning in the fifteenth century and extending into the twentieth, the site was actually maintained by a lineage of Śaiva priests. Hindus and Buddhists both have claimed Bodhgayā as their own, and, consequently, revolving around Bodhgayā are a number of volatile issues—the tangled dynamics of religious conflict, the effects of colonial and post-colonial discourses on religious practices, the role of so-called sacred space and place in the formation and definition of religious identities. Can a place be both Buddhist and Hindu? Can a person be both Hindu and Buddhist?

Keywords:   Bodhgayā, Buddhists, Buddha images, colonialism, Hindus, religion and the courts

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