Cultural Diffusion


Srivijaya was one of the first Indonesian kingdoms and it controlled the shipping between India and China. It thrived from 441 AD to about 1350 AD and it controlled the west part of Java, almost whole of Sumatra, part of Borneo, the coasts of Malay peninsula and part of Thailand today. However, not a lot of information could be found about the cultural diffusion of Srivijaya. After the defeat of the Srivijayan Empire, many people fleed to Malacca including Parameswara. According to records, it also showed that Malacca was actually established by the refugees from Srivijaya. In addition to that, many Srivijayan refugees moved to Riau-Lingga Islands and then to the island Singapore.

A Chinese Buddhism pilgrim during the Tang dynasty named I-ching(I-Tsing) was quite a major factor to the cultural diffusion of Srivijaya. I-ching brought a lot of Indian manuscript from India to China. On his way to India and back to China, he stopped in Srivijaya. His first arriexternal image I-ching.jpgval was in 671 AD where he spent six months in Srivijaya and he studied the sanskrit before he left for India. On his way back to China, I-ching returned to Srivijaya and translated the sanskrit Buddhist text into Chinese with the assistance of the Buddhist monks. The reasons why I-ching decided to stay in Srivijaya was because Palembang was the center of Buddhism at that time and according to I-ching's notes, it showed that there were more than a thousand monks in the city. In I-ching's notes on Palembang, it stated that no less than 35 ships landed in Palembang from Persia. It was I-ching who shared to the Chinese and rest of the world about the economy, art and religion of the Srivijayan Kingdom.
external image i-tsing-route.gif
Path of I-ching

I-ching was not the only person who contributed to the cultural difffusion of Srivijaya. A buddhist teacher, Atisha Dipankar, also did by reintroducing Buddhism to Tibet after traveling through India and Srivijaya. During his stop in Sumatra, Atisha managed to learn steps of Training the Mind or lojong. Later on, he passed down this knowledge to India and Tibet later on.


Works Cited

Cruey, Greg. Politics and History - SE Asia for Visitors. 4 Oct. 2006
<http://goasia.about.com/library/weekly/blsrivijaya.htm>.

A History of South-East Asia. Hall, D.G.E. 4th ed. "Chapter 3." .

Srivijaya - BioCrawler. 7 Oct. 2006 http://www.biocrawler.com/encyclopedia/Atisha

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