The Life of Gautama Buddha as Depicted in Ancient Indian Art

February 22, 2016

The Co-Curricular Committee invites you to attend a special lecture by Dr. Osmund Bopearachchi on Monday, February 22 at 7:30pm in the DRBU Conference Room.  A world-renowned specialist in Buddhist art history, Dr. Bopearachchi will show exquisite images of early Indian art which narrate stories about the Buddha, and discuss the texts connected with them.  

About the lecture:

It is believed that the Buddha, whose personal name was Siddhārtha, lived in North India in the 6th century BCE.  Seated under the Bodhi-tree, on the bank of the river Nerañjarā at Buddha-Gaya, at the age of thirty-five, he attained the supreme Enlightenment, after which he was known as the Buddha, ‘The Enlightened One’. After his Enlightenment, the Buddha delivered his first sermon to a group of five ascetics, his old colleagues, in the Deer Park at Isipatana near Benares. From that day, for forty-five years, he taught all classes of men and women his Dharma.

Among the most sacred books narrating his life story, the Lalitavistara, a Sanskrit text of great importance dated to the 3rd century CE, the Buddhacarita, an epic poem in the Sanskrit Mahākāvya style by Aśvaghoṣa, composed in the 2nd century CE, the Mahāvastu, a text of the Lokottaravāda school of early Buddhism written in mixed Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit between the 2nd century BCE and 4th century CE, and the Nidānakathā, a Pāli text composed in the 5th century CE by Buddhaghosa hold a prominent place.

This talk will examine the depictions of the life of the Buddha narrated in early Indian plastic art such as Sāñcī, Bharut, Amarāvatī, Nāgārjunakoṇḍa and Gandhāra schools in relation to the above mentioned sacred texts.

More about the speaker: 

Osmund Bopearachchi is the adjunct Professor of Central and South Asian Art, Archaeology, and Numismatics, University of California, Berkeley and is Emeritus Director of Research at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS-ENS, Paris). Osmund Bopearachchi holds a B.A. from the University of Kelaniya (Sri Lanka), and B.A. honors, (M.A.), M.Phil., Ph.D. from the Paris I Sorbonne University, and a Higher Doctorate (Habilitation) from the Paris IV-Sorbonne University.
Image source:,_la_grande_dipartita,_da_regione_di_amaravati,_II_sec.JPG