Translating the Buddha: Indonesian Reliquaries and the Vimala Uṣṇīṣa Dhāraṇī


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


This project documents and analyzes the corpus of Indonesian stupika -- miniature, clay, text-containing reliquaries of sixth to tenth century Sumatra, Java, Bawean and Bali. Specifically, this dissertation leverages the existence in Indonesia of texts less commonly found in stupika through the case study of the vimala uṣṇīṣa dhāraṇī. Reading these objects as artifacts of the process of cultural translation or localization, I mine this data to gain insight into the transregional and the local elements of religious life. This research contributes significantly to our understanding of the history of Buddhist doctrine and practice, together with the local diversification of religious ideology, of insular Southeast Asia during the final centuries of the first millennium.