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3rd Unit : 1st Study Group Session

3rd Unit : 1st Study Group Session

"Relation between Mahayana Buddhism and Iranians: From the Parthians to the Illuminationist school of Persian Islamic philosophy"

The 1st Study Group Session, the 3rd Unit

On May 23, at Meeting room 3, Hakusan Campus, Toyo University, Bahman Zakipour, IRCP Visiting Researcher, gave a talk titled, "Relation between Mahayana Buddhism and Iranians: From the Parthians to the Illuminationist school of Persian Islamic philosophy. "

It was an ambitious talk that attempted to investigate the relation between the Iranian culture and Mahayana Buddhism from the perspective of comparative philosophy. What follows is an outline of the talk based on the abstract provided by the speaker himself.

The 1st Study Group Session, the 3rd Unit

The name of Iran usually reminds us of an Islamic country and culture. As a matter of fact, however, the Iranian culture and civilization is formed by the two poles of Zoroastrianism and Islamic culture. While there are other religions such as Manichaeism between those two poles, these are all closely related with those two religions. The emergence, dissemination, merger, and dissolution of these religions are evident through the history of Iran. Although Islamism, especially Shi'a Islam, has prevailed as a dominant religion in contemporary Iran, there are various background religions forming the constitutive elements of Shi'a Islam.

In addition to such religions, Buddhism is also an element that plays an important role, albeit in a certain special dimension and space. While Buddhism was born in India, this religion gradually fused with the Iranian culture and religions (especially Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism) from the age of Ashoka. It was in central Asia that this fusion occurred. In this area, Iranian culture was joined with the Indian and Buddhist culture through the activities of merchants, exiles, envoys, and hostages. This fusion gradually spread to areas such as thought, religion, language, and art.