Prof. Alice Collett (University of St. Andrews) will introduce the Ikṣvākus and life in their ancient city, then discuss the seeming interplay of Buddhism and Brahmanism within the life of Cāntisirī, a royal Ikṣvāku woman.
Thursday, February 16, 2023
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM (Pacific Time)
243 Royce Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cāntisirī was a royal Ikṣvāku woman who, along with a group of other royal and noble women, left to posterity a set of inscriptions. The Ikṣvāku dynasty ruled a region of South India between the third and fourth centuries. As indicated by the name chosen for the dynasty, these rulers patronised Brahmanism and certain of the kings, on the inscriptions, are recorded to have sponsored and performed royal Vedic rituals. Within this context, as a member of the royal family, Cāntisirī developed an interest in the teachings of the Buddha, and records on her inscriptions an aspiration to attain nirvana, for herself. In this talk, I will first introduce the Ikṣvākus and life in their ancient city, then discuss the seeming interplay of Buddhism and Brahmanism within the life of this royal and noble woman. Questions that arise are – What did Cāntisirī understand nirvana to be? Are there any identifiable Brahmanical religious aspirations expressed on these Buddhist donor inscriptions? Does the example of Cāntisirī suggest we should modify or loosen our understanding of boundaries between religious traditions in this historical period?
Professor Alice Collett is an academic who specializes in ancient Indian religious history, and most of her publications to date concentrate on women in early South Asia. Her books include I Hear Her Words: An Introduction to Women in Buddhism, Women in Early Indian Buddhism: Comparative Textual Studies and Translating Buddhism: Historical and Contextual Perspectives. She currently works at the University of St Andrews, Scotland, UK, on a variety of humanities and digital humanities projects.
This will be an in-person event only. Attendees are asked to wear masks (masks will be provided free of charge).
Cost : Free and open to the public