SBS Special Lecture: In Search for a New Orthodoxy-the Middle Path of Kalacakra

January 31, 2017

Dr. Francesco Sferra, Associate Professor, University of Naples “L’Orientale”, Rome, Italy delivered a SBS Special Lecture titled “In Search for a New Orthodoxy: the Middle Path of Kalacakra” on January 30, 2017.

This lecture explained how in order to effectively meet the new socio-cultural challenges that had arisen around the eve of the second millennium (first of all the Islamic invasion in the Northern India and the revival of the Brahmanical traditions), the first authors of the Kālacakra sought to establish, within a consistent framework, a new Buddhist orthodoxy and to close the Buddhist ranks around the undisputed authority of the monastic community.

With a particular emphasis on doctrines, the lecture examined the strategies adopted by the first Kālacakra masters (in particular Puṇḍarīka, Vajrapāṇi and Vajragarbha, and those active in Nalanda and Vikramashila such as Nāropā and Abhayākaragupta) in order to define and characterize Buddhist Tantrism as a whole and in particular the Kālacakra school in comparison with other Buddhist and non-Buddhist traditions.

Dr. Francesco Sferra while delivering a lecture

Dr. Francesco Sferra, Associate Professor, University of Naples “L’Orientale” delivering the lecture at Nalanda University

Bio-Sketch of Dr. Francesco Sferra

Francesco Sferra is Associate Professor of Sanskrit language and literature at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” since 2002. In January 2014 he has got the “National Scientific Qualification” to the Full Professorship. Member of several scientific societies, including the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Pune, since 1995), the Société Asiatique (Paris, since 1996) and the Pali Text Society (Oxford, since 2003), Sferra is part of the Academic Board of the Rivista di Studi Sudasiatici (Rome), the Journal of Tantric Studies (Hamburg) and the Journal of the Japanese Association for Indian and Buddhist Studies (Tokyo). Teacher of Sanskrit in Naples since 1998-99, in 2007 and in 2011-2012 he was a visiting professor (Numata-Professor für Buddhismuskunde) at the Asien- Afrika- Institut (University of Hamburg). Among his major publications are the edition of the Sanskrit text and English translation of the Ṣaḍaṅgayoga by Anupamarakṣita with the commentary by Raviśrījñāna (Rome 2000) and the critical edition of the Sanskrit text of the Paramārthasaṃgraha by Nāropā (Rome 2006). He is the author of essays on linguistic speculations of some Hindu religious-philosophical schools (1991, 1994, 2007 and 2010). His research focuses also on Indian tantric traditions, including Kashimr Shaivism, the Viṣṇuite tradition of Pāñcarātra and the Buddhist Kālacakra.

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