Suvarnadvipa

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Suvarnabhumi or Suvarnadvipa (Skt. Suvarṇabhūmi or Suvarṇadvīpa) in Sanskrit, Serling (Tib. གསེར་གླིང་, Wyl. gser gling) in Tibetan, the ‘Golden Land’ or ‘Golden Isle’ in English is mentioned in various ancient and classical Buddhist texts.[1] Through these it became also well known, as the home to Atisha's most important teacher, known as Dharmakirti of Suvarnadvipa. However, none of the scriptures provide specific information about its whereabouts. The stories surrounding Suvarnabhumi often involve sea ventures to the legendary land, however their journeys are always interrupted by storms, which leave the travellers with little clarity of their precise final destination. Suvarnabhumi was probably first used by ancient Indian merchants to refer to the coastal area of Southeast Asia from Lower Burma probably as far as Sumatra. Thus it appears that Suvarnabhumi was a ‘generic name’ used to describe an indefinite region, to the east of India.[2]

References

  • Revire Nicolas, “Facts and Fiction: The Myth of Suvaṇṇabhūmi through the Thai and Burmese Looking Glass,” Mahachulalongkorn Journal of Buddhist Studies 4 (2011): 79–114.
  • Decleer, Hubert. "Atisha's Journey to Sumatra." In Donald S. Lopez Jr., ed., Buddhism in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995, 532-540.

Notes

  1. Such as the Jataka Tales, the Mahāvaṃsa, the Milinda Panha and the Mahāniddesa.
  2. Nicolas Revire, “Facts and Fiction: The Myth of Suvaṇṇabhūmi through the Thai and Burmese Looking Glass,” Mahachulalongkorn Journal of Buddhist Studies, 4 (2011): 79–80.