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Smith Archives - The Wonders Expedition™ - @Archeoastronomy

May 26, 2020

The Origins and Spreading of Buddhism

At the Dallas Museum of Art today Dr. Monica L. Smith of UCLA gave a very good presentation about her studies associated with the origins of Buddhism, a religion/philosophy I’ve never really studied, and in her presentation, I was intrigued to find out how it spread throughout Southeast Asia over time and how it got localized as it moved from one country to another. As I thought about it, I began to wonder if this same practice hadn’t happened with the development of iconic ancient sites around the world, like the building of pyramids.

During the event, co-sponsored by the Archeological Institute of America, Dr. Smith showed photos of how Buddah, once people began drawing him or creating icons to show him, they adopted their own ethnocentric identity to him–he kept much of the same pose and aura, but his head gear, or eyes, or facial shape etc. modified to reflect a stereotypical representation of the country where he was being worshiped.

Ethnocentrism in the Pyramids?

Dr. Monica L. Smith of UCLA showing Changes in Budda By Nation

Which gets me back to wondering about the whole premise that started the Wonders Expedition to begin with.

Can’t the use of pyramids in different cultures, countries and even continents be looked at the same way?  I mean the Egyptian pyramids are built the way the Pharaohs preferred.  At Lower Jackson Mound in Epps, Louisiana, they didn’t have limestone so they simply used dirt.  The Maya built pyramids but changed the design to meet their style of architecture.  The Chinese, yes, there are pyramids in China, built theirs sort of like the Egyptians, but like Native Americans, they simply used dirt.  Temples in India largely are built in pyramidic form as well.

One of my good friends, a scholar, says that pyramids are “just a pile of rocks and anyone can build a pile of rocks!”  But to me, there still appears to be something more to them to me than just a pile of rocks.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Do you think there was some cross-culture communication going on about the building of these incredible structures?

 

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