The first, shorter section of this paper will briefly inform on how Buddhism was imported to Italy. The latest and most prolific import has taken place in the last five decades. Buddhism in Italy involves about 89,000 Asian migrants, and 100,000 Italian nationals. An aspect of cultural borderland is that Italian Buddhism, like all Western Buddhism, implies adaptation to living abroad for Eastern migrants, and conversion from Christianity, or at any rate to a new religious dimension, for Westerners. Becoming is also pronounced since a Buddhist spiritual itinerary is one of transformation. Sharing is shown by a sense of community in the various sanghas and lay associations. Italian Buddhism is in some cases socially committed, and this also constitutes a sharing dimension. Borderlands in this context are connected mainly to the reworking of identity.
The second and longer section of the paper will focus on a particular case of border identity that can be seen among contemporary poets inspired by Buddhism. Some of them acquire new Asian-influenced writing identities. Some leave Buddhist spiritually in the background as an additional aspect of their poetics. And some built intertexts of Italian classics and Asian spiritual texts. Examples, accompanied by translations into English, will be given from the works of poets Chandra Candiani, Roberto Carifi, and Giulia Niccolai.
The theoretical background, in addition to texts on the diffusion of Buddhism in the West, is mainly on the concepts of hybridization, neo-Orientalism, and intertextuality.
Roberto Bertoni, Trinity College, Ireland
Stream: Cultural Studies
This paper is part of the ACCS2014 Conference Proceedings (View)
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