Central to the modern rebirth of Bodh Gaya as the place of Buddha's enlightenment is the growing influence of Buddhist missionaries and transnational religious networks on this pilgrimage landscape in North India.
Although this process began in the late nineteenth century, it was not until after India's independence that Buddhism became an integral part of the nation-building project and a key site of post-colonial diplomacy with neighbouring Asian countries.
According to Baumann the designations ‘traditionalist’ and ‘modernist’ Buddhism relate to two broad developmental periods in Buddhist history.
The traditionalist developmental period grew out of the reign of Asoka and lasted until the beginning of the revival or reformist Buddhist movements that took place in the mid- to late nineteenth century.
I am very grateful for all the insightful comments made, including the suggestions by the reviewers of The research on which this paper is based was conducted with the support of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
The modern period commences with Buddhist monks responding to colonialism, Christian missionaries, and the disestablishment of the sangha as the basis of traditional authority.