The Past Before Us: Historical Traditions and Practices in Early Times

Romila Thapar on
The Past Before Us: Historical Traditions and Practices in Early Times
Co-Sponsored by the Department of History

Thursday, May 1, 2014 11am – 1pm
208N | North House Munk School of Global Affairs 1 Devonshire Place

Chair: Christoph Emmrich, Associate Professor in Department of Religion, University of Toronto
Moderator: Stella Sandahl, Professor Emeritus in Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto

HOW MIGHT EARLY SOCIETIES EXPRESS HISTORY DIFFERENTLY FROM PRESENT TIMES? According to distinguished historian, Romila Thapar, India is a particularly significant site through which to pose this question. For this celebrated scholar of ancient India, the claim that ancient Indian civilization lacked a sense of history opens a broader and more pertinent question: how to recognize the historical sense of societies whose past is recorded in ways very different from European conventions. Elaborating on her recent book, The Past Before Us, Professor Thapar will address the many genres of writing in early India that bear evidence of a historical tradition and later of historical writing. Interested in the practices as well as narratives of recording time and social change, Professor Thapar delves into Vedic corpus, the epics, the Buddhist canon and monastic chronicles, inscriptions, regional accounts, and royal biographies and dramas afresh?not as sources to be mined for factual data but as genres that disclose how Indians of ancient times represented their own past to themselves.

Romila Thapar is the pre-eminent historian of ancient India. A prominent public intellectual and voice on the politics and mechanics of historical interpretation and writing, she held the Chair in Ancient Indian History at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, where she is now Emeritus Professor in History. She has been Visiting Professor at Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania as well as the Collège de France. In 1983 she was elected General President of the Indian History Congress and in 1999 a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. Professor Thapar is an Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. She holds honorary doctorates from the University of Chicago, the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh (2004) the University of Calcutta (2002) and recently (in 2009) from the University of Hyderabad. In 2004 the U.S. Library of Congress appointed her as the first holder of the Kluge Chair in Countries and Cultures of the South in 2008 she received the prestigious Kluge Prize for the Study of Humanity. She was Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009. Among her extensive publications are Ashoka and the Decline of the Mauryas (Oxford 1961, 1988); The History of India volume 1 (Penguin 1966); Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations (Orient Longman 1978), From Lineage to State: Social Formations in the First Millenium BC (Oxford 1985); Early India (Penguin 2002); Somnath: The Many Voices of History (Verso 2005), and India: Historical Beginnings and the Concept of the Aryan (National Book Trust 2006).

Register at http://munkschool.utoronto.ca/ai/event/16052/

Tzu Chi Foundation Canada opens new headquarters in Richmond, BC

Via the Richmond Review…

One of Richmond’s largest volunteer foundations just got bigger.

Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers and city officials gathered on Wednesday to declare the opening of the global relief organization’s new and improved establishment.

“We get so much from Canada, that’s why . . . Read More.

Tibetan Bön Buddhist Weekend Retreat in Calgary

Geshe YongDong of  Sherab Chamma Ling in Courtenay, BC, will present a weekend retreat in Calgary at the Yoga and Meditation Centre of Calgary, May 23-25.

The focus of the retreat is an Introduction to Tibetan Bön Dream Yoga and on Calm Abiding Meditation.

For details . . . Read More.

4th Annual North American Nonsectarian Conference of Tibetan Religious Schools seeks Canada representation

Dear dharma friends,

My name is Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche and I am the resident teacher of Ligmincha International (www.ligmincha.org). I am writing this email as President of the North American Nonsectarian Group of Tibetan Religious Schools. Attached is an invitation for the resident Tibetan teacher . . . Read More.

Yeshe Lama Retreat @ The Dharma Centre of Canada, August

Yeshe Lama Retreat: Rushen and Trekcho with Lama Lena Aug 22- Sept 1, 2014 at the Dharma Centre of Canada

The yogis and yoginis in the Nyingma tradition of Vajrayana are amongst the wildest and wooliest of all Buddhist practitioners. Yeshe Lama (Wisdom Teacher) and the practice . . . Read More.

Becoming Citizens: Student-Monks and the Rise of Social Engagement in Modern Chinese Buddhism

UBC’s Buddhism and Contemporary Society Program presents a lecture by the Venerable Rongdao Lai.

Becoming Citizens: Student-Monks and the Rise of Social Engagement in Modern Chinese Buddhism Date: Wednesday, 9 April 2014 Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM Place: Room 120, C.K. Choi Building, 1855 West . . . Read More.

GTHA Wesak 2014

There will be more than 22 temples participating in this year’s Greater Toronto Horseshoe Area Wesak 2014.

Here’s the poster. Click on it to see it full-size so you can reproduce and post it…

The Encounter with Modernity in Chinese Buddhist Historiography

THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO / McMASTER UNIVERSITY YEHAN NUMATA BUDDHIST STUDIES PROGRAM presents:

JOHN KIESCHNICK (Stanford University)

LECTURE: The Encounter with Modernity in Chinese Buddhist Historiography FRIDAY, April 4, 2014, 3-5 pm, UTSG, JHB 317

Over 1500 years, Chinese Buddhists developed a distinctive way of . . . Read More.

Buddhist monastery in PEI in the news

The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, a Buddhist monastery in PEI, is probably not top-of-mind when it comes to Canadian Buddhist organizations. But this very large community in PEI was the topic of an in-depth article last summer in Maisonneuve, a Montreal-based culture mag.

The . . . Read More.

Annual Kwan Yin Festival in Lytton, BC

The annual Kwan Yin Festival for peace and healing in Lytton B.C. will be celebrated on Sunday, June 22, 2014 on the Chinese temple site. A temple dedicated to Kwan Yin stood in Lytton 1880-1928.

The ceremony will be performed by the monks of Lions . . . Read More.

Duc Quang Vietnamese Buddhist Temple rebuilding in London, ON

The Duc Quang Buddhist Temple in London, Ontario, was originally housed in the old Presbyterian Church building (built in 1910) on Hamilton Street, which had been decommissioned in 1995. However, in 2012 the building had developed structural problems and had to be torn down. Here’s . . . Read More.

Ottawa Tibet Film Festival 2014

The second annual Ottawa Tibet Film Festival 2014 is coming up March 21-22 at the St. Paul University Amphitheatre.

Here’s the website: ottawatibetfilmfestival.com and they are also on Facebook: OttawaTibetFlimFestival

Friday, March 21st:

6:00 PM: Doors open

6:45 PM: Introduction: Traditional Tibetan dance performed by newly arrived Tibetans: Opening . . . Read More.

New LGBTQ Tibetan organization formed

Ningtam is a worldwide gay-positive organization for LGBTQ Tibetans and their supporters.

Their website is http://www.ningtam.org/ and they are on Facebook too at https://www.facebook.com/ningtampage

There are several regions set up, including one for the west which has a growing contingent from Toronto.

You can join the list as . . . Read More.

Busy day for Sumeru Books

Received an order for Sumeru books we publish, from Evergreen Buddhist Culture Service in Singapore. Show them some love at https://www.facebook.com/evergreenbuddhist

Sent files off to the US printer for Dennis Winters’ new book: Searching for the Heart of Sacred Space, which should be available in a . . . Read More.

Seo Kwang Sa

Just found this lovely 5-minute video about Seo Kwang Sa in Langley, BC, made by Maxine Kim a couple of years ago.

Seo Kwang Sa- Vancouver Canada from Maxine JY Kim on Vimeo.

Canada-wide Wesak 2014 info requested

Jayanta at Sakyadhita Canada asks…

I am wondering if it would be possible for Sumeru to send out a request for Vesak celebrations being held across Canada this year? This would be to ask the various Buddhist groups to send along the date and place . . . Read More.

Breaking news: Wind farm near Cham Shan temple in Peterborough cancelled

The proposed Stoneboat Wind Farm in Bethany, near the Cham Shan temple in Peterborough under development, has been cancelled.

Here is the press release from Stoneboat: Stoneboat Project Cancellation Notice

And here is an article about it, posted today in the Peterborough Examiner: http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2014/03/07/stoneboat-wind-farm-project-cancelled

Ontario Wesak at Queens Park, May 14

Via the Buddhist Council of Canada…

BCC Press Wesak 2014 March 06 2014 – PDF here.

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