Buddhism, one of the greatest world religions, spans
2500 years of Asian history. It is a diverse complexity of not only doctrines
and institutions, but also ritual, moral, devotional and meditative practices. Since
the Awakening of Gautama Buddha in the fifth century B.C.E., Buddhism has
focused on the realization of enlightenment through the cultivation of
morality, meditation and wisdom. While the vast array of Buddhist religious and
cultural forms defines the breadth of the experience of Buddhism, its profound
spiritual quest for enlightenment defines its depth.
As Buddhism has evolved over the last few
decades, it may be speculated that Buddhism has become an indispensable part of
China that could not be ignored even by the Communist regime. Since the
founding of New China in 1949, major reforms have taken place that have changed
the lives of the monks and nuns and Buddhist lay devotees.
Very few Indian scholars have endeavoured to study
this field. A humble attempt is being made here to analyse the relevant
conditions of Buddhism in this regard from available materials in English and
Chinese. In the present juncture of Sino-Indian relations, the present study
will hopefully be of contemporary significance.
Jayeeta Ganguly was born to Kalyani and Jayanta Kumar Ganguly in Kolkata. Her
schooling was in Delhi (Carmel Convent School) and Kolkata (St. John’s Diocesan
School). Passionate about languages since her teenage years, she joined the Department
of Chinese Language and Culture under Visva-Bharati University. She also
received a Diploma in Japanese after completing her Masters.
Ganguly, now the senior most professor in the Department of Chinese Language
and Culture under Visva-Bharati University, specializes in Chinese Buddhism,
with special reference to the Vinaya Literature preserved in Chinese.
Dr Ganguly’s articles on Buddhism have been published in several international,
national and state-level journals. She has also attended many seminars both
nationally and internationally. Her first book was Uposatha Ceremony –The Earliest Traditions and Later Developments,
published in 1991.Transformations of the
Buddhist Community in Modern China is her second brain-child.