Saturday, January 13, 2007

Doing Business for the Lord

Doing Business for the Lord: Lending on Interest and Written Loan Contracts in the Mulasarvastivada-Vinaya by Gregory Schopen; The Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 114, 1994, makes a reference to Kosambi's insight on the importance of Chinese records to understand Indian history.
Scholars working on China have in fact very often been the first to introduce and make available important Indian material bearing on the institutional and economic history of Buddhism, but this material rarely, or never, makes it into Indian studies. References to Gernet's Les Aspects economiques du bouddhisme, for example, are extremely rare in works on Indian cultural and economic history. D. D. Kosambi long ago referred to Gernet when he raised the "fundamental question" of the extent to which Buddhist monks and monasteries in India participated directly in trade. "The documentary evidence" for such participation, Kosambi said, "exists at the other end of the Buddhist world, in Chinese records and translations," of the sort presented by Gernet.(7) But few have followed this up.

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