Articles by alphabetic order
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0

Trends In Buddhist Studies Amongst Western Scholars

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Vol. 2

Compiled by Michael Drummond



In recent times people have begun to take an interest in meditation in general and Buddhist meditation in particular. There arc several schools of Buddhist meditation, and they can all be brought under three principal groups: Vipassana or Insight Meditation as practised in Burma, Thailand,

Sri Lanka, etc.; Ch’an or Zen Meditation prevalent in China, Japan, Korea, etc.; and the Tantric form of Meditation followed in Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan, Sikkim, etc. Though they follow various methods and differ in details, they agree on the essential points and that is what matters. Their goal is one and the same—attainment of peace, harmony and happiness culminating in the realization of Nibbana.

This paper is related to Vipassana meditation as taught in the Theravada tradition. In this connection it has to be noted that Vipassana is the last and the most important part of the Eight-fold Path represented by the three stages of sila or virtue, samadhi or concentration and pafiHn or wisdom. Vipassana is represented by paiinil which leads to the comprehension of the true nature of things and the realization of the ultimate peace of Nibbana.

Though the path has been taught in terms of these three stages, also known as the threefold training ( tisikkha ), the last has been characterised as the very life-blood of Buddhism. The tradition refers to this fact in the following words:

Na hi silavatarh hetu uppajjanti Tathagata 1

aUhakkhara tipi pada Sambuddhena sudesita.

Tathagatas are not bom for promoting virtuous practices (a*onc). (The essence of) the doctrine taught by the fully Enlightened One is enshrined in eight letters and three words.

Here the reference is to the three cliaracteristics ( tilakkliaijani) of the conditioned states ( sankhata-dhamma) namely anicca (impermanent nature), dukkha (unsatisfactory nature) and ancita (unsubstantial nature). They are the very-subject-matter of Vipassana meditation. The gatha in question docs not mean that the teaching of the Buddha attaches all importance to Vipassana and ignores the importance of sila and samadhi. The path being an integrated one, parbia is not possible without samadhi and samadhi is not possible without sila.

The traditional interpretation by implication only means that while Vipassana paniia represents the distinct and essential doctrine of the Buddha, sila and samadhi are common to other religious systems as well, of course with different emphasis on this point or that point, on this aspect or that aspect. This is borne out by the life-story of the Buddha himself. It is said

that as a result of his religious practices under Alarakaldma and Uddakarama- putta, Siddhattha attained higher levels of concentration and tranquillity represented by rupa-jhSnas and arupa-jhanas. But then he found that they too were conditioned states and as such could not guarantee lasting peace and happiness. He therefore took to the middle path and attained the un¬ conditioned state cf Nibbana. The speciality of this path is pam or wisdom representing Insight-knowledge (vipassand-pa>m) which penetrates into the true nature of things (yathabhma-hanadassana). Hence this importance attached to Vipassana by the tradition.

Since the days of Lord Buddha there was a living tradition of Vipassana meditation handed down from teacher to pupil. It continued for several centuries in India and other Buddhist countries. But then, at a certain stage in the history of Buddhism, the continuity of the living tradition was inter¬ rupted by new developments including political upheavals. From the accounts handed down in the tradition, we learn that in the beginning Vipassana was practised even by the lay devotees, and as regards the members of the Sangha it was a regular practice of day-to-day life. However, as a result of the interruption of tha continuity of the living came to be con¬ fined only to a few groups and individuals, here and there. And it is evident from the relevant accounts that in spite of their devotion and dedication to the practice of Vipassana, that inspiration, warmth, illumination, joy and the sense- of liberation associated with it in the beginning began to diminish. So in course of time the belief began to gain ground that the age of Arahantas was over and that devotees had to keep on practising Dhamma as far as they could waiting.for the appearance of Buddha Metteyya for their final emancipation. . j

According to an old tradition, Anuradhapura, the capital of Sri Lanka, was once teeming with so many saintly monks accomplished with psychic powers that when they moved to and fro through the space it became rather difficult for the people to dry their paddy due to their shadows.* After making allowance for the hyperbolic language, we can understand the nature of the spiritual climate that might have existed during the period under reference. But then, with the passage of time and the changing conditions, there resulted laxity in the spiritual effort also. The people in the island came to believe that Maliyadeva was the last Arahanta.* Similar beliefs came into existence in ether countries also. This belief became so common and strong that it worked as a formidable obstacle even on the path of those who dedicated themselves to the practice of Dhamma with all seriousness. However, there was an undercurrent of protest against this pessimistic belief and outlook based on the pronouncement made by the Buddha just before his parinibbana that, as long as bhikkhus follow the path of Dhamma, the world would not be devoid of Arahantas . 4 This kept up the sagging spirit of the spiritual life and saved it from extinction. This encou-aging attitude might have given rise to the traditional be'ief that came to prevail in some of the South

and South-East Asian countries for a fairly long time that twenty-five centuries after the parinibbana of the Buddha, there would take place a revival of Buddhism.

It may be mentioned here that it was this traditional belief that paved the way for the celebration of the 2500th Mahaparinibbana day in 1956 on a grand scale all over the Buddhist world including the land of the Buddha. Certain events have taken place during this period which bear out this traditional belief. Among them what is of the greatest significance is that there has taken place a kind of re-awakening towards certain practical as¬ pects of Buddhism which had been almost lost sight of for. quite a long time. Here special mention has to be made of Vipassana-bhavana or Insight meditation. For a fairly long time it remained confined only to a few groups and individuals at certain places. During the period in question, in certain circles special interest was shown in Vipassana and before long it also began to receive popular attention. It was a kind of revival. And this revival of Vipassana practice may be regarded as the revival of Buddhism itself.

This revival first started in Burma and then in other countries. Meditation centres in Burma attracted people from all part* of the world. The memorable occasion of the sixth Buddhist Council (ChaHha Sangayana) highlighted the great event. At present there are meditation centres not only ih traditional Buddhist countries but in other countries as well in both East and West. And people in many countries now take interest in meditation. The reason is there is restlessness in the world which Lord Buddha has characterised as a symptom of dukkha or suffering, the. greatest ailment, and people find Vipassana meditation an effective remedy for the same.

There are several teachers in East and West engaged in giving instructions on Vipassana meditation. Their instructions are mainly based on the Sati- pajtlulna Sutta, the well known discourse of the Buddha on mindfulness, which has been characterised as ‘The Heart of Buddhist Meditation* by Ven. Nyanaponika Mahathera. These meditation teachers may differ in their method of approach and matters of detail but they all agree on the essential points and closely follow the instructions given in the Sutta.

The meditation camps conducted by these teachers .are open to allmen and women, monks and nuns, Buddhists and non-Buddhists. The only binding condition is that they all have to observe the discipline of the camps during the period of the retreat. So far thousands of sadhakas and sadhikas from all the five continents and from different walks of life—farmers, labourers, teachers, doctors, engineers, businessmen, administrators and others—followers of the major religions of the world—Buddhists, Hindus, Jains, Christians, Muslims and Jews etc.—have participated in these camps.

At the end of a meditation camp it becomes a matter of joy to listen to the elevating experiences undergone ancf the ennobling benefits received by the participators. I, as one who has participated in some of these camps, should like to refer to some of these benefits, based on two reports which

UKUWALA dhammaratana 85

l have published in two issues of The Media Bodhi . 5 The experiences referred to here are from a cross-section of the participants. It is edifying to know about the immense good done to th<rm by Vipassana. For instance, a business¬ man narrated how he used to spend a restless lift Aiil of worries and anxieties causing physical and mental ailments, and by practising Vipassana he was able to lead a healthy and peaceful life.

A second meditator told, how he indulged in all kinds of distractions to get away from his unpleasant ‘self*. Instead of giving relief, this way of life created more and more complications for him. At last the path of Vipassana taught him how to live a simple life with healthy thoughts and habits leading to peace and happiness.

A third meditator narrated how he used to blame others for the miseries lie suffered. At last Vipassana disclosed to him where the rub was. As a result he discovered that it was his own wayward life led without self-discipline that was responsible for the unhappy situation. And after practising Vipas- saha he was able to settle down in life as a peaceful and useful member of the family and society.

A fourth meditator told how she had beep going after preachers and teachers of Yoga to have peace and happiness, and everywhere she met with disappointment leading to despair. However, at last she was fortunate enough to meet Acharya Sri S. N. Goenkaji who taught her Vipassana which gave her what she had been seeking for all her life.

Thus, every meditator related how he or she had to undergo suffering in one form or the other and the practice of Vipassana gave relief from the same. Dukkha was the common element that urged them to take to the path of Vipassana and the cessation of the same was the common experience they all underwent. On one occasion addressing his disciples Lord # Buddha said: earlier as well as now two things do I teaoh—suffering and the cessation of suffering. 6 This is what Vipassana does—it teaches how to comprehend dukkha and bring about its cessation. These meditation camps had a wonder¬ ful effect on many of them.

Vipassana has not been confined to law-abiding citizens leading the normal way of life. It has now gone to the jails. Some of the officers of the Rajas¬ than government who were greatly impresed by the changes that Vipassana could bring about in the mentality of man, decided to introduce it in jails for the benefit of the prisoners. Accordingly Acharya Goenkaji was invited and he conducted several camps for prisoners—not ordinary convicts but hard-boiled criminals including dacoits and murderers, some serving life sentences. These meditation camps had a salutary effect on many of them. Letters written by some of them regarding their experiences to the medita¬ tion teacher remind one of the udanas of old.

Along with the survey reports of the prison camps and the Police Academy, Rajasthan, we have also published the report of a survey made of the medita¬ tion camps held at Varanasi, by several scientists of the Banaras Hindu

University. The close relation between mind and body i: now an established fact. Mental changes that take place during Vipassana meditation also produce their corresponding changes in the body. They can be studies with reference to breathing, blood-pressure, chemical changes and other pheno¬ mena. Though the technique is not a perfect one which could ascertain subtle changes taking place at deeper levels, it can give satisfactory results as far as it goes. The studies made in the light of this technique also bear testimony to the healthy results of Vipassana meditation.

For some* meditation means a method for achieving miraculous power.

It is true that at the higher levels of samadhi what arc known as abhinilds or super normal powers can be achieved. They develop as a kind of by-pro¬ duct in course of these meditational practices. While samadhi is an essential condition of Vipassana, these supernormal powers are not. Their value is psychic only and not spiritual. Being mundane in nature they are likely to create allurement for the Yogavacara who has not developed full awareness and hinder his path of progress. Therefore the serious student of Vipassana is warned not to take undue interest in them. Even when one is already in possession,o r them one is instructed to be mindful of their conditioned nature in the light of the three characteristics of anicca , dukkha and anatta .

We learn from the texts that Lord Buddha and many of his disciples were in possession of all the five abhinilds related to supernormal poweis. At times they also made use of them to direct the minds of the devotees to¬ wards the higher life. But later on some unscrupulous elements began to abuse these powers, specially iddlti- power. Devadatta’s is a glaring case in point. So by an act of Vinaya performance of miracles was made an offence. This rule of discipline was respected for a fairly long time. But in course of time in certain circles undue importance came to be attached to the performance of miracles. Because of its popular appeal certain obscure cults also came to be built up around miracle-mongering. According to some historians this was one of the factors responsible for the downfall of Buddhism in India.

The meditation teacher takes tell his students not to take to medita¬ tion with this misconception. Vipassana, he tells them, is the art of living a life free from tensions and conflicts. It is a technique for living happy, fruitful and peaceful life while facing problems and situations with equanimity. He also tells them not to have the wrong notion that the ten- day meditation camp would do the job for the whole life. It is just thq initia¬ tion into the technique which one has to keep on practising life-long with diligence and penetrate all levels of physical and mental phenomena.

It is,true that the ultimate goal of Vipassana is Nibbana. Dhamma is a gradual path ( anupubba-palipada ) which is progressive in nature (< opanayiko ). As one walks along the path one enjoys the fruits of liberation. This ex¬ perience one undergoes from the first to the last step on the path. It is not something to be taken for granted but experienced. It is this dynamic aspect

oi the Dhamma that invites one to come and see {ehipasstko) its immediate results ( akaliko).

Lord Buddha says: Just as the ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so also this Dhamma has but one taste, the taste of liberation. 7 This is true of the path from beginning to end. This is what is meant when the Dhamma is said to be excellent in the beginning (ddikalydno) excellent in the middle (majjhe-kalydno) and excellent in the end {pariyosana-kalydno).

One who participates in Vipassana camps begins to enjoy this taste of the Dhamma (Dhamma-rasa) as he begins to experience relief from the dukkha that is already there. In the light of this experience he or she can move forward on the path until full liberation from all dukkha is attained.


VimuktisaAgraha, p. 154. Ed. TalahSnft Amaram6li, Colombo, 1889 Cullagallavatthu, RasavahinT. Ed. B. Devarakkhita. Colombo 1917.

The there (Mahyadcvs) in quostion is believed to have Hved in the first half of the •3th century He , s al«o believed to have lived in Waparema, which l had the occa. sion to visit the year before last and even saw the stone slab on which he is said to have slept.

MahaparinibbSna Sutta, D II 119.

April 1972 and August-October 1977. The meditation camps under rcfcrcnco were conducted by Acharya Sri S. N. Goenka.

Alagaddupama Sutta, M l 185.

Cullavagga, p. 357.

Duuatmt Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991; - Pasadika

1 Buddhist Studies), Tokyo 1990, p.5

f.; cf. No.39) in J1ABS 12, 1, ppJ58-63.

56 1990: Bechert, H. (cd.) Abkurzungsverzeichnis zur

•1: buddhistischen Literatur in Indien

) und Sudostasieh, Sanskrit-Worter*

| buch der buddhistischen Texte aus

! den Turfan-Funden, Beiheft 3

I (pp.75, 182; 83, 195; 29, 135; 68, 180),


57 1991: Galloway, B. ‘Thus Have I Heard: At One Time.

(cf. above Nos 39, 55) in IJJ 34,

2, pp.87-104.


ASAW Abhandlungen der Sachsischen Akademie .• Wissenscnaften zu Leipzig , Philologisch-historische

Klasse, Akademie Verlag, Berlin.

BST Buddhist Sanskrit Texts, Darbhanga.

EZ Epigraphia Zeylanica, London

I1J Indo-lranian Journal , Dordrecht.

J1ABS Journal of the International Association of Buddhist j

Studies, Madison/Northfield (USA). !

KS Friedrich Weller Kleine Schriften, ed. W. Rau, j

Stuttgart 1987. „ j

M10 Mitteilungen des Instituts fur Orientforschung, !

Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin. !

PRS Lewis Lancaster (ed.) Prajhaparamita and Related \

Systems, Berkeley 1977. j

WZKMUL Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der j

Karl-Marx-Universitat Leipzig. '•


There is a generally held opinion among scholars that at the time of the Buddha there were many lay persons who had become 'arahants, although during the early centuries of Buddhist history this had been a matter of dispute - some insisting that to achieve this goal a person would have to be a bhikkhu or monk, others that a lay person was able to become an. arahant, but could not then retain his lay status. The Theravada tradition is tljat if a layman did become an arahant he either ‘went forth’, that is, entered the Sangha, or passed away ( parinibbayati) that same day (Milindapanha, p.264). In the Tevijja-Vacchagotta Sutta (M 71) the Buddha states that no lay person can become an arahant without getting rid of the ‘householder’s fetter’ (gihisamyojana). The household life was thus not considered propitious for arahantship. Is there, however, any firm evidence in the Sutta Pitaka that lay arahants did exist? As it has been a matter of dispute this seems unlikely, but the purpose of this essay is to examine some of the evidence regarding the problem of the lay arahant and the nature of the ariya-savaka (‘noble disciple’) in Pali canonical literature.

In Dialogues of the Buddha (Vol.HI, p.5), the Rhys Davids’ translation of the DIgha Nikaya; there is a footnote giving several references said to demonstrate the existence of lay arahants at the time of the Buddha. The first reference is to Vin I (p.17) where Yasa becomes an arahant while the Buddha instructs his (i.e. Yasa’s) father. In fact Yasa was not at that

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Ireland

moment a bhikkhu, but the circumstances being such he could hardly be said to be living an ordinary lay life. He immediately afterwards asks for the ‘going forth’, thus conforming to the tradition mentioned above. On consulting the second reference, S V 94, this mentions nothing about arahants lay or otherwise and . must be an error. The next reference is to A III 451 which consists of the names of twenty or sc laymen and of each it is said that he '. . . has arrived at certainty regarding the Tathagata, has seen the Deathless and lives (motivated by) having experienced the Deathless’ (. . . tathagate nitthangato amataddaso amaiam sacchikatva iriyati).

That this passage does not refer to lay arahants is confirmed by the Commentary. It merely alludes to the fact that these laymen are ariya-sdvaka, assured of salvation. However, it is this reference (apparently) that has been adduced as being the main evidence for the existence of lay arahants by modern scholars. That the laymen named did indeed become either sotapannas, sakaddgdmins or anagamins (stream-enterers, once-returners,- non-returners) can be confirmed by consulting the further references to them to be found in various places 1 . Most are well-known individuals, such as Anathapindika, Mahanama, Purana, Isidatta, Hatthaka of A|avl, etc, whose fates are known from elsewhere in the Sutta Pitaka, but there are no arahants on the list

That this Ahguttara passage has been thought to refer to laymen becoming arahants was evidently due to C.A.F. Rhys Davids’ misunderstanding of it and EM. Hare’s translating it

i V Buddhist Studies Review 8. 1-2 (1991) - Ireland

incorrectly in Gradual Sayings. Hare’s rendering of nitthahgata as ‘gone to the end’ (GS III, pp.313-14) is wrong if the various other contexts where the word occurs are consulted. Nittha does indeed mean ‘end, conclusion’, but in combination with the verb gacchati (‘to go’), it evidently means ‘to come to a conclusion (about something), to be sure, to be certain, to come to or arrive at a certainty’. Note that the Pali idiom ‘gone’ is used where in English we would say ‘come’. In the Cuja-Hatthipadoma Sutia (M 27), for example, occurs the sentence: ‘When I saw four footprints in the Samana Gotama I was ' 1 certain [or, I came/went to the conclusion, nittham agamaml 'The Blessed One is fully enlightened..

- In the Ahguttara passage, too, it is the Buddha or Tathagata who is referred to. Again, in the Udana Commentary (p.76) occurs this sentence: Therefore it must be concluded ( nittham..

. gantabbam), not by water is one cleansed.’

The negative anitthahgata is also found (e.g. A II 174, S HI 99), meaning ‘being unsure, uncertain’, and is a synonym of hesitation or doubt ( kahkhita , vicikicchita ). It ought to be obvious that an adaptation of ‘gone to the end’ would not fit the examples quoted, nor is it likely anywhere else where the expression occurs. However, following Hare’s rendering, it is probably Lamotte’s paraphrase of this Ahguttara passage in his Histoire du bouddhisme indien that has been crucial in misleading many scholars and authors. He says ‘The Ahguttara knows of some twenty lay people. . . who attained the end • (nistha ), the Imm 9 rtal ( amrta ), without ever having taken up the

religious life’ 2 . This is a distorted and misleading account of what the text actually says. Nevertheless, it has apparently been accepted without question by many ever since it appeared in 1958 and it is thus this reference that is most often cited as evidence for the existence of lay arahants 3 ^

Far from implying some final attainment, tathdgate nitthahgato simply means the person concerned has reached a conclusion about the Tathagata; he has the certainty that the Buddha is indeed fully enlightened. It is because he has acquired the faith or confidence ( saddha) that arises through knowledge and insight into the Dhamma taught by the Buddha. His certainty arises because he has actually ‘seen the Deathless’ for himself. He is amataddaso• ‘one who sees ( daso ) the Deathless ( amata )’. The Buddha has revealed to him the four Noble Truths ( ariya-sacca ), specifically the ending of suffering, which is the Deathless, and the path leading to it And he has understood it, that is, he has acquired Right View and thus

2 Etienne Lamollc, History of Indian Buddhism , English tr. by Sara Webb-Bom [correctly Boin-Webb], Louvain 1988, p.SO.

3 Richard Robinson, in what is obviously a quote of this Lamotte passage, states, ‘The Sutras lirt twenty upasakas who attained the highest goal without ever becoming monks* ( The Buddhist Religion , Belmont 1970, p37>, also H.W. Schumann, ‘The Pali Canon lists the names of twenty-one householders who became Arahants without ever becoming monks’ (The Historical Buddha , tr. by M.O’C. Walshe, London 1989, p.191). And Nathan Katz too, when he says, 'Certainly if one reads the primary texts on this issue, one learns of numerous lay arahants* (Buddhist Images of Human Perfection , Delhi 1982, p.179), one may haiard a guess he is referring to Lamotte. These are just three examples.

stepped onto the Path, the ariya-magga*. Right View is acquired by hearing the Teaching with the Dhamma-ear (<dhammasota) and seeing the goal by having the Dhamma-eya (dhammacakkhu) opened for him by the Buddha. It is by means of the Dhamma-eye that the Deathless is seen. The whole process is described in the story of Suppabuddha the leper (Udana 5,3), where the Buddha by a gradual talk prepares Suppabuddha’s mind, uplifts and purifies it from the hindrances to understanding, and when the moment is right, reveals the four Truths: suffering, origination, cessation and the Path. Whereupon the ‘stainless Dhamma-eye arises’ that sees ‘whatever . is of the nature to originate (through conditions), all that is of a nature to. cease (through their removal)’. Suppabuddha declares he has understood, affirqjs his faith in the Buddha by.going for refuge, and is later said to have become a sotapanna. The point is, Nibbiina.or the Deathless or the four Truths are seen at the moment of entry onto the ariyan-plane. Thus, to have ‘seen the - Deathless’ is again not a final attainment, but the initiation into what, for us who have not seen it, must remain a profound mystery; the opening of the ‘door to the Deathless’, whereby the ordinary person, the outsider or puthujjana , is transformed into an ariya-savaka.

However, there is still work to be done, the Path has still to be trodden, and this is indicated by the ending of this brief Ahguttara passage. The verb iriyati means: ‘to go on, to proceed, to progress, to live or behave in a particular way’. It

4 The Path always begins with Right View and progresses stepwise in a causal sequence as indicated in the Mahacattarisaka Sutta (M 117). This is despite Nyanatiloka’a denial, - see his Buddhist Dictionary under ‘Magga*.

indicates activity, movement, and the reason for it is because of 'having experienced, or realised, the Deathless’ (amatapi sacchikatva). In other words, the experience of having seen the Deathless is now the motivating force in his life, that impels him onward towards its final attainment

Are there any other references in the Sutta Pitaka that can establish there were arahants at the time of the Buddha who continued living as laymen? We believe there are none that stand up to serious consideration. There is S V 410, for instance, which deals with how a wise lay-follower ( sapahho upasako) should admonish another wise lay-follower who is sick so that the latter gets rid of all attachments. It ends with the Buddha declaring there is no difference between such a layman who so avers and a bhikkhu who is rid of the asavas (i.e an arahant). However, the point is that this is a deathbed exhortation and so conforms to the idea, mentioned above, that the attainment of the highest goal by a lay person necessitates either dying or ’going forth’ as a bhikkhu. Another example of such an exhortation is that of Sariputta instructing Anathapirujika as he lay on his deathbed (M 143), but this did not lead to Anathapindika becoming an arahant. Here it is said that he was a sotapanna and after death was reborn as a deva in the Tusita heaven.. Another possibility is the Sekha Sutta (M 53), which was addressed to a company of lay people headed by Mahanama the Sakyan. This deals with the course of training leading up to the highest goal. But practising this course necessitates becoming a bhikkhu, for the Sutta states that the disciple undertakes to observe the Patimokkha and thus implies the removal of the ‘householder’s fetter’: the ownership of property, the accumulation and storing of possessions, the procreation of children and so forth.

It may seem unfair that the laity are excluded from the highest goal. However, this view is based upon a number of misconceptions and the assumption of a rivalry between the laity and the Sangha, an assumption for which there is no justification at the time of the Buddha. Although arahantship evidently necessitated living the bhikkhu-life, lay people could be sotapannas, sakadagamins and anagamins, and many were, and in large numbers,'if the suttas are to be believed. All these constituted the Blessed One’s community of disciples assured of salvation, the ariya-sahgha. And not only human beings, for divine beings, too,«devas and brahmas from the various heavenly worlds, were included in this spiritual community. It is this ariya-sahgha in its entirety that is said to be \.. worthy of offerings, worthy of hospitality, worthy of gifts, worthy of salutation, an incomparable field of merit for the world’, it should be noted, and not merely the Bhikkhu Sangha per se as is sometimes suggested and assumed. All these various kinds of noble persons are equally assured of salvation, in contrast to the puthujjana, the outsider, who has had no such assurance. So the sotapanna, etc. should not be regarded as being inferior to the arahant in this respect There is also another consideration. The Thetavada commentarial tradition assumes that the goal of all * Buddhist endeavour is arahantship and the three ‘lower* paths of the sotapanna, etc. are stages on the way to that goal. However, in the suttas themselves there is very little to support this theory and it may be that originally the four ‘paths’ were possibly regarded not as ‘stages’ but as alternative goals that . were realised by. the individuals concerned. Depending upon the capacity of the person - perhaps due to past kamma which varied for each individual - upon being instructed in the Dhamma, he or she attained one or other of the paths (of the

Buddhist Studies Review 8,1-2 (1991) - Ireland *

sotapanna, etc.). This instruction in the Dhamma is sometimes said to be initiated by the Buddha when he perceives, by reading the minds of his audience, someone there is capable (J bhabbo) of understanding it and realising one or other of these paths, as was the case with the leper Suppabuddha. In the suttqs, furthermore, once named individuals are declared to be sotapannas, etc., it is never said they finally ended as another kind of noble person (ariya-pug gala). Nor is it ever suggested that those who became arahants had first to become sotapannas, then sakadagamins and anagdmins as is assumed in the Commentaries. In fact it is the definitions of these various persons that preclude one kind from becoming any other, as Horner once pointed out 5 . All are equal in that, upon being taught the Dhamma by the Buddha, they have been granted a vision of the Deathless and established upon the path leading to its actualisation, to ahhd or final knowledge. However, the several kinds of ariya-savaka are distinguished by the length of time they must continue in existence before realising this aim, this probably being due to the nature of their past kamma still awaiting fruition. The arahant attains ahhd ‘here in this present life’ ( ditth’eva dhamme, ‘in this invisible state’). In a number of places (e.g. S V 237, etc.) it is said, if a person *.. .does not attain ahhd beforehand [patihacca , a gloss on ditth’eva dhamme) here in this present life, then he attains it at the time of dying. If he does not attain ahhd beforehand here in this present life nor... at the time of dying, then by the destruction of the five lower

5 LB. Horner, Early Buddhist Theory of Man Perfected , London 1936, p.223f. See also Peter Masefield, Divine Revelation in Pali Buddhism , London 1986, P .127f,

fetters he attains extinction in the interval’ (antara-parinibbayi < ‘, i.e. without returning ‘here’, that is, he is the first of the five kinds of anagdmin or non-returner). Elsewhere, final knowledge in this present life and the state of non-returning are called the twin fruits-of the holy life ( brahmacariya ) 7 For the sakadagamin and the sotapanna a yet longer period must elapse before final knowledge is attained. They have to undergo several more births up to a maximum of seven. The significance of all this is that, once an individual has left his present life before attaining ahhd, he has passed beyond the point where he could become an arahant. Moreover, the once-returner or sakadagamin, because he is a ‘returner’ cannot, naturally, then become a non-returner and so forth.

Not only could lay people become sotapannas, sakadaga¬ mins and anagdmins, but references in the Sutta Pitaka to the -first and second especially allude more often to the lay ariya-savaka than to the bhikkhu. This is in contradiction to the view sometimes stated by modern writers 8 . In fact when.

6 This is a term of uncertain meaning. There are a number of reasons for thinking it ma> indicate the existence of an 'intermediate slate* between death and rebirth, an antarabhava , and accepted as such by some Buddhist schools, the Sarvaslivada, etc. But this is not countenan^d in the Theravada .*xegetical tradition which denies the existence of such a slate. For an examination of this problem see Masefield, op. cit ., p.l09f.

7 E.g. M 10; It, suttas 45-7, etc. *. . . one of these two fruits is to be expected, final knowledge in this present life or, there being some residual defilement ( upadisesa\ the state of non-returning.

8 E.g. Steven Collins, Selfless Persons , Cambridge 1982, p.92, says, *. . . the idea of being a person on the Path, and therefore at least a stream-winner

upon being instructed in the Dhamma by the Buddha, a person • declares he goes for refuge ‘to the Lord, to the Dhamma and to the Order of bhikkhus’ and then says, ‘May the Lord accept me as a lay-follower as one gone for refuge from this day forth for ; as long as life lasts’, one may conclude that person to be an ariya-savaka and at least on the sotapanna path. Whereas if, , instead of becoming a lay-follower, he says, ‘May I, Lord, receive the going forth in the Lord’s presence...’, this is almost ; invariably followed by, ‘Then the venerable so-and-so. . . soon realised even here in this present life through his own direct knowledge that unequalled goal of the holy life. . . And the venerable so-and-so became one of the arahants’. It seems as if it is expected that one who goes forth will become an arahant, or that he goes forth because he knows he has the capability to become one.

In the Maha-VacchagOtta Sutta (M 73) there is found a threefold division of the Buddha’s followers. First there are the monks and nuns who are arahants, then there are the lay-followers who are of two kinds (1) householders, both men and women, who are living’the holy life ( brahmacariya , which must mean the practice of celibacy here) and are anagamins, and (2) householders of both sexes who are enjoyers of serise-pleasures (i.e. non-celibates) who ‘have accepted the Teaching, overcome doubt and perplexity (i.e. ‘have arrived at certainty’) and live confident and independent of others in the

( sotapanna), must originally have meant no more than being a monk*. This is not the picture one derives from the early Pali literature. It is more likely sotapanna was a term brought in to accommodat3 the pious lay-follower who was unable to take the step of 'going forth* into homelessness.

Teacher’s instruction’. Of each of these six categories (three pairs of male and female) the Buddha says there are not merely a hundred. . . five hundred, but many more such followers and Vacchagotta remarks that if any one of these categories was missing the holy life propagated by the good Gotama would be incomplete in this regard.

That there actually existed lay people who were celibates during the Buddha’s'lifetime may seem surprising, even a novel idea, hardly mentioned in modern Buddhist writings. However, although the large numbers could be attributed to pious exaggeration, that they existed is confirmed in one or two other places. There is, for example, the instance of Ugga of Hatthigama who gave up his four young wives, giving the eldest in marriage to a man of her choice, when he became an anagamin (A IV 214). It is because the anagamin, like the arahant, is rid of the five lower fetters ( samyojand ) that bind beings to the sensual world that he leads a life of continence (brahmacari). The sotapanna and sakadagamin, the ‘enjoyers of sense-pleasures’ and hence still sexually active, while having overcome the three fetters of personality-belief C sakkaya-ditthi ), doubt and attachment to outward observances, still have the fetters of sensual desires and malevolence and will return again after death to this world, the Kamaloka (the world of sense-desires). The anagamin is free of these fetters although not yet free of the five higher fetters, and so will arise in the Pure Abodes of the form world (Rupaloka), but cannot return again here to the Kamaloka. The arahant, being rid of all fetters, is not. liable to be reborn anywhere. The higher fetters are: desire for form and formless realm existence, conceit.

restlessness and ignorance 9 . It is the subtle residual clinging i

supplied by these fetters that enables the anagamin to continue \

living a limited lay-life. It is the absence of these fetters in the arahant that precludes him from so living and for whom thei Bhikkhu Sangha was established by the Buddha.

A number of lay anagamins, such as Hatthaka of Alav! and Ugga of Vesali, are said to have had large numbers of followers. Although the Commentaries sometimes suggest their following was of a purely secular nature, that they were communal leaders, headmen or rajas, it does seem more likely they were actually preachers of the Dhamma with other lay people, as their pupil-disciples. After he passed away, Hatthaka visited the • Buddha as a brahma-god of the Aviha heaven and remarked that now devas come from afar to hear the Dhamma from him (A 1 279). Citta of Macchikasanda even instructed bhikkhus (cf. Citta Samyutta, S IV 281ff).

A distinction perhaps should be drawn between the actual state of affairs and the ‘ideal’ picture that is presented (e.g. in M 73, Ud 6,1, etc.). There must have been many who heard the Buddha preach but remained unaffected and we learn of quarrelsome, badly behaved monks, schismatics and so forth.

9 Perhaps ‘ignorance’ as a translation of avijja, especially in the context of the sarnyojana, may be misleading. It cannot here refer to ignorance as stupidity or delusion (moha) % but rather the absence of the specific knowledge(s) possessed by the arahant, that is. the threefold knowledge or tcvijja : the knowledge of former births, seeing the arising and passing away of other beings according to kamma, and especially ’.he knowledge of the ending of the flow of defilements (dsawj).

These were the puthujjana , those who were apart ( putliu ) from the ‘ariya’. They were outsiders, foolish people who could not comprehend the Dhamma when it was taught to them and retained their various erroneous views. The ideal was that all bhikkhus should be arahants and that the attainment of the arahant* path was the sole reason for going forth. The laity then consisted of both celibate anagamins and sotapannas still enjoying sense-pleasures, all entirely devoted to the Buddha and supplying the Order of bhikkhus with its needs. The arahant bhikkhus were full-time professionals, the elders of the edittmunity, the guardians of the Teaching, instructors and advisors. Whether or not this ideal was ever realised during the lifetime of the Buddha, after his passing away the criya-sahgha underwent a rapid decline. And-indeed this was inevitable. The literal meaning of savaka is ‘hearer’ and upon the departure of the Buddha there would soon be no more of that *. . . community of "those who had heard" (the Dhamma directly from) the Blessed One’ (the bhagavato savaka-sahgho). Thus Subhadda was not only the last savaka converted by the •Buddha (D II153), but the last savaka of all!

Although there would still be those who by their own efforts successfully practised the Path to enlightenment, as is testified throughout the long history of Buddhism, this was on a more limited scale than formerly. Evidently few savakas were able to' make others ‘see the Deathless’ in the same way that the Buddha could. And it would be more difficult to ‘arrive at the certainty’ of faith in the Blessed One when one could no longer meet him face to face. As the venerable Ananda said, shortly after the Buddha passed away, ‘There is not even one bhikkhu, brahmin, who is possessed in every way and in every part of all those things of which the Lord was possessed... this Lord was

one to make arise a path that had not arisen before, to- bring about a path not brought about before, to show a path not , shown before... But the savakas are now path-followers who

do so by following after him’ (M 108).

Interestingly, as Peter Masefield has pointed out 10 , when it is said the Buddha ’makes arise a path... shows a path’, this must

| have been meant in the sense of making it arise in a particular
' person on a particular occasion and not in a general sense of

propagating a universal teaching for all. Despite the Buddha’s stricture on accepting teachings based on hearsay, the latter view arose after the passing of the Buddha and the disappearance of the original savaka-sahgha when direct contact j was no longer possible. The Buddhist community had to come

to terms with this new situation and to interpret what had been collected and preserved of what the Buddha had said and taught. In this interpretation one of the ideas that appeared‘was that jhe [j four paths were stages on the way to the ultimate attainment of

} Nibbana, and this in turn has led inevitably to further changes

j in outlook in present day Theravada Buddhism. If the view is

i entertained that arahantship is to be regarded as the sole goal of

] Buddhist endeavour and the sotapanna, etc. is relegated to a

stage on the way to that goal, then the tendency is to regard the

j j; arahant as the only true ‘ariyan disciple’. Again, if the arahant

j; has to be a bhikkhu, the ariya-sangha is then conceived as

| l some kind of elite within the Bhikkhu Sangha itself. The laity

being excluded from any meaningful spiritual attainment is then demoted to a secondary role. In recent times undue emphasis has been placed upon the social division‘of the Buddhist world.

10 Masefield, op. cil^ pp.141-2.

widening the gulf between the Sangha and the laity, and even going so far as to identify the latter with the puthujjana. However, this is to ignore and confuse the evidence of the texts themselves, which conceived of a spiritual dimension cutting across the purely social divide of the bhikkhu and the layman.


L Buddho dasdbalo satthd sabbahhu dipaduttamo Munindo bhagava natho cakkhuma (a)hgiraso muni.

1. The Awakened One, Him of the Ten Powers, the Teacher,

the All-knowing One, the Supreme Biped. The Lord of Sages, the Blessed One, the Protector, the Seeing One, the Resplendent One, the Sage.

2. Lokandtho (a)nadhivaro mahesi ca vinayako Samantacakkhu sugato bhuripanho ca maraji.

2. The World Protector, the Unexcelled One, the Great Seer and the Guide. The All-seeing One, the Happy One, Him of Extensive Wisdom and the Conqueror of Mara.

3. Narasiho naravaro dhammaraja mahamuni Devadevo lokagaru dhammasami tathdgato Sayambhu sammasambuddho varapahno ca nayako

3. The Lion of Men, the Excellent Man, the Dhamma-king, the

Great Sage. The God of Gods, the World Teacher, the Dhamma-Lord, the Thus-Gone. The Self-made, the Fully Enlightened One, Him of Excellent Wisdom and the Leader.

4. Jino sakko tu siddhattho ca gotamo Sakyasiho tatha sakyamuni va (a)diccabandhu ca.

4. The Conqueror the Sakyan, then .the Accomplished One, (Son of) Suddhodana and Gotama. The Lion of the Sakyas, also the Sakyan Sage and the Kinsman of the Sun.

(Moggallana’s Abhidhanappadipika, edited by Velligalla Siddhattha, Ceylon 1900, p2. Translated by John D. Ireland)


The almost simultaneous publication of works by Franklin Edgerton on Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit (Grammar!Dictionary!Reader, New Haven 1953; Delhi 1970) and by Heinrich Liiders on the language of the original Buddhist Canon (Beobachtungen uber die Sprache des buddhistischen Urkanons, ed. W. Waldschmidt, Berlin 1954) touched off a scholarly discussion on the language of . the earliest Buddhist tradition and on the nature of the Middle Indian dialects underlying ‘Buddhist Sanskrit’, which was reflected not only in the numerous reviews of both these works, but also in a series of articles in academic journals. At that time, a symposium on this subject was held during the German Oriental Conference (‘Deutscher Orientalistentag’) in 1954. It should be emphasised, however, that this interest failed to produce a general communis opinio regarding the questions that were raised, or that was even accepted by the greater part of the scholarly world; indeed, the discussion merely seemed to die away. It was revived, however, more than twenty years later, and most of the relevant arguments as well as various theories were formulated in the volume Die Sprache der altestcn buddhistischen Uberlieferung/The Language of the Earliest Buddhist

Buddhist Studies Review 8. 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

Tradition (ed. H. Bechert, Gottingen 1980) 1 . Relevant problems were further discussed by Oskar von Hinuber ( Das altere Mittelindisch im (Jberblick, Vienna 1986). and by K.R. Norman in various essays.

The question, of course, has a long history. Both N.L. Westergaard ( Om de oeldeste Tidsrum i den indiske Historic med Hensyn til Literatures Copenhagen 1860, p.84) and EA.W. Kuhn ( Beitrage zur Paligrammatik, Berlin 1875, especially pp.6 and 9) had asserted long ago that the language of the Pali Canon could not be identical with the language spoken by the Buddha himself, as the Sinhalese tradition maintains. Both identified Pali as the language of UjjayanI, and their most prominent follower has been R.O. Franke ( Pali und Sanskrit, Strassburg 1902, p.131 ff.). Franke even proposed that the tradition according to which Kaccayana, the author of the oldest surviving Pali grammar, had lived in Ujjeni', should v be considered ‘a dim recollection* of this original Pali (op. pit ., p.139, n.2; cf. also O. von Hinuber, ‘Zur Geschichte de§ Sprachnamens Pali’, Beitrage zur Indienforschung. Ernst Waldschmidt zum 80. Geburtstag gewidmet, Berlin 1977, pp.237-46).

In 1912 Sylvain Levi proposed the thesis that a language of the ’precanonical’ Buddhist tradition could be detected in the

1 This essay is based on my paper ‘AUjemeine Bemerkungen zum Thema "Die Sprache der aliesten buddhistischen Oberlieferung" therein, representing methodological considerations which, it seems to me, remain valid for the further study of the problems involved. even, today. I wish to thank James Di Crocco for preparing the English translation and Philip Pierce for rereading

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

earliest terminology of the Buddhists, especially in the terms used in the Vi nay a; he maintained that in this ‘precanonical* language - and by this he meant essentially what H. Oldenberg (e.g. in ‘Studien zur Geschichte des buddhistischen Kanons*, NAWG 1912, p.206 = Kleine Schrifte/i 2, Wiesbaden 1967, p.1024) somewhat misleadingly called simply ‘MSgadhf -.the intervocalic tenues are weakened (S. Levi, ‘Observations sur une langue precanonique du bouddhisme’, JA 1912, pp.495 ff; cf. also E.J. Thomas, ‘Pre-Pali Terms in the Patimokkha’, Festschrift M. Winternitz, Leipzig 1933, pp.161 ff.). H. Luders, who had already taken up this problem in connection with his epigraphical studies (see ‘Epigraphische Beitrage’ III, 1913 = Philologica Indica, Gottingen 1940, p.288), stated at first that ’the earliest Buddhist scriptures were written in Old ArdhamSgadhf, and that ‘the works constituting the available Pali canon, like those of the Sanskrit canon are, at least in part, translations of works in Old Ardhamagadhl*. Later he called the language in question simply an ‘eastern dialect’ or also ‘the eastern language’ (cf. Beobachtungen uber die Sprache des buddhistischen Urkanons, p.8) and used the term ‘Urkanon’ - ‘original canon’ - for the material underlying the available texts. W. Geiger advanced a different opinion; he stated that ‘Pali was not a pure MagadhI, but was rather a kind of lingua franca based on MSgadhi which the Buddha himself had used’, and that ‘the Pali canon represented an attempt to reproduce the buddhavacanaiji in its original form 4 (Pali Literatur und Sprache, Strassburg 1916, p.4). As we know, there was no general agreement with Geiger’s thesis. Finally Helmer Smith (*Le futur moyen indien’, JA.1952, , p.178) stated that we must postulate the existence of a ‘koine gangetique, dont l’ardhamagadhl et le pall represented les normalisations les plus anciennes’ for the period in question. If this is accepted, then the approach to the problem of

Buddhist Studies Review 8,1-2 (1991) - Beehert

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Beehert

methodology must be quite different from that of the scholars quoted above.

We can proceed from the above on the assumption that none of the canonical texts exactly reflects* the language of the Buddha or even of the earliest Buddhist tradition, and that accordingly the various textual versions are based in one way or another on earlier stages of the tradition couched in a different linguistic form. Thus we must further assume that there has been a transference of the texts from one linguistic form to another, with or without intermediate stages, either in the form of a deliberate translation or a gradual transformation in the oral tradition. In the course of this transformation certain peculiarities have been preserved which represent the linguistic form of earlier stages of the tradition that has since been lost. We have agreed to call these ’Magadhisms’, and some of them might well have belonged to the language of the Buddha. The primary task now before us is to make sure that we are fully aware of the implications of the terminology which we employ in this field. A second essential task is to move our thinking ahead from the isolated discussion of certain individual observations of a linguistic nature, on which we have concentrated the greater part of our deliberations to date, to a consideration of the broader interrelationship of the questions associated with our problem. Thirdly, we must review our research methods and strive to develop them even further, and we should make use of the results of research into related developments outside India.

Now 1 should like to try to formulate some questions in this vein and thereby venture some suggestions as to how we should go about the problem, without in any sense intending to

propose definite-solutions. In this connection it would be best to start with the subject itself, which has long been formulated as the question* of what was ‘the language of the Buddha*. Taking into consideration the circumstances of the life of the Buddha as we know them, we can certainly come up with conjectures about which local dialect the Buddha must have spoken, but it would be much more appropriate to formulate the question in such a way that what we are really setting out to find is the linguistic form of what we term the ‘earliest Buddhist tradition’ - that is, the body of traditional material that underlies all the variants of the tradition that have come down to'us, and thus represents, as it were, the archetype of the Buddhist tradition. At this point it is only natural to recall the passage in the Vinaya where the Buddha himself may have given US’ a due as to the linguistic form in which his teaching was transmitted (see E Lamotte, History of Indian Buddhism, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988, pp.552-5), and along with it the controversy over the interpretation of this passage. (Sec John Brough, ‘Sakaya niruttiya: Caul kale het\ Die Sprache der altesien buddhistischen Oberlieferung, pp.3542.)

The question as to the linguistic form of the earliest Buddhist tradition cannot be separated from the question of the content and structuring of this tradition. Was there really such a thing as an ‘Urkanon’, or is it not more likely that separate bodies of traditional material came to be integrated into one Canon, gradually at first, in the course of the dissemination and diversification of Buddhism, eventually to form the ’earliest tradition*? The corpus of traditional material would then have been organised into Pitakas, Nikayas, Agamas, Angas, etc., in accordance with various principles of classification. It now appears as if, along with the fusion of distinct regional traditions

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

into supra-regional streams, there also ensued a fusion of different principles of organisation, in accordance with which the division into Pi;akas was largely accomplished; the other organisational systems which originally had equal standing were then used for the subdivision of the Sutrapipika. It would thus seem that these same organisational principles were applied simultaneously at several places, independently of each other, to traditional material which itself had already become locally diversified, so that many correspondences arose which would not necessarily have had to derive from an archetype. Consequently we have to be extremely sceptical about any assumption that an ‘Urkanon’ ever actually existed.

We can now formulate our question more precisely. In every case we much check to see at what stage of development certain complexes of tradition were so organised that they could already be regarded as constituting a structured -literary work. There can be no doubt that this occurred very early for the formulary for confession (P. pdtimokkha, Skt. pr&fitnoksd), it is much more difficult, however, to which phase of the tradition the formu'aries for governing the life of the community (P. kammavaca, Skt karmavdeandft) were put in order and came to underlie the broader context of a skandhaka text. For the history of the formation of the VinayapUaka we can refer to the book by E Frauwailner O'he Earliest Vinaya and the Beginnings of Buddhist Literature , Rome 1956) and to an entire series of other studies which have appeared since, while for the text of the four Nikayas or Agamas no really serious attempt to reconstruct the four ‘Ur-Agamas has yet been undertaken. So far as we can see at this time, such an attempt would probably be doomed to failure, because in this case the application of the principles of organisation was introduced at a

Buddhisi Siudies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

time when the local diversification of the tradition was already further advanced than with the Vinaya. The compilations available to us hardly go back to any ‘Ur-Agamas’, but originated as the result of local applications of the same principles of organisation to bodies of traditional material that were still largely in agreement. As a natural consequence of this, various compilations of texts came into being that resembled each other in many respects, and their similarities can lead to the erroneous Gumption that there might have been an original form of the corpus as a whole.

Besides, in the e*ly period we must also take into account numerous borrowings from other branch traditions; thus we arc dealing with a tradition that is largely ‘contaminated’, and consequently if we try to reconstruct the oldest form of the tradition on the principle of a genealogical tree we can easily go astray.

The question now arises as to when the tradition was actually established in definite form. Buddhist tradition of course maintains that the texts were already established at the time of the First Council, but were still being transmitted orally for a long time thereafter - in Ceylon from the advent of the • Thcravada until the time of King Vattagamani Abhaya (89-77 B.C.EJ. As for the traditional date when the Pali Canon was first written down, we can declare with certainty tM . in view of the most recent research into the source history of the Ceylonese chronicles, the traditional account constitutes reliable • historical information. Also, if my conjecture is correct that the 1 process of committing these texts to writing had actually been initiated in the motherland some time previously, we can reject outright the possibility that a written translation into Pali of the

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

works of the earlier Pali Canon was made from some other ; dialect, even if the other well-known arguments against such a >• notion did not exist

To be able to pass on textual complexes as large as these by word of mouth while still maintaining an acceptable level of accuracy requires a special system, and it is precisely this that is attested to by the tradition that there existed specialists in the skill of recitation (bhanaka), which represented a parallel with the methods of transmission used by the Vedic schools. .To a certain extent the Buddhist practice of oral transmission continues to exist side by side witht the written even today, especially in Burma.

Thus, there cannot be a shadow of doubt - and at this point I believe I can pass from asking a question to making a flat • assertion - that what we are dealing with in the early period is an oral tradition. Indeed, literary historians have long since determined with great exactitude the effect of a long oral tradition on the form of literary texts (see G. von Simson, ‘Zur Phrase yena . . . tenopajagama/upetya und ihren Varianten im buddhistischen Kanon’, Beitr&ge zur lndienforschung, pp.479-88).

Now that we have come to this conclusion we can answer more accurately the question as to the nature of the ‘transmission’ of the texts. If we look for remnants of earlier linguistic forms in the available texts, we must do so bearing tn mind the characteristic features of oral tradition; to interpret the differences between the versions of the Buddhist text we must bring to bear an entirely different methodological approach from that which we would use, say, in comparing the versions of the Asokan inscriptions, even- though these inscriptions

belong to the same linguistic and chronological domain.

Thus, in seeking out traces of earlier linguistic forms, we must heed the principle already formulated by S. Levi for* our own question and later applied successfully by Hermann Berger (in Zwei Probleme der mittelindishcen Lautlehre , Munich 1955) to the solution of a large number of individual problems; namely, we must always look for the specific conditions which have led to the. preservation of forms from an alien dialect in these linguistic monuments. This precept applies whenever we see in the language in question not simply a ‘hybrid dialect’ but a specific linguistic forpi into which the given textual material has been ‘transformed’ or ‘transmitted’. We have accepted as a premise that this applies to Pali. Thus H. Berger has designated as ‘Magadhisms’ (op. cit ., p.15 ff.) such linguistic doublets as occur only or chiefly in stereotyped series of synonyms (e.g. kiqha along with kanha), or which are found in verses whose metrical structure would be distorted if the normal Pali form (e.g. kiccha for the ‘Magadhism’ kasira) were used. Both premises are in keeping with the special demands of oral transmission and oral conversion.

I should like to cite as an additional example the use of bhikkhave and bhikkhavo in the earlier prose sections of the Pali Canon. We find the ‘Magadhism’ bhikkhave in the actual sermon of the Buddha, while the vocative bhikkhavo occurs in the introductory formula. The text of the Majjhima Nikaya begins as follows:

tatra kho Bhagavd bhikkhu amantesi: bhikkhavo ti. bhadante ti te bhikkhu Bhagavato paccassosum. Bhagavd etad avoca: sabbhadhammamulapariyayam vo bhikkhave desessami _

Buddhist Studies Review 8. 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

The form bhikkhave is thus established as a specific usage | in the Pali text which can be explained as a way of recalling the j actual speech of the Buddha. Once such a standard procedure has been devised, it could be applied to newly created texts without further ado, and thus the occurrence of this ‘Magadhism’ would tell us nothing about the original language of the text in j question. On the other hand, it would explain why we find only bhikkhavo throughout the verses of the Suttanipata, which otherwise is so full of ‘Magadhisms’.

The forms in -e (for Sanskrit -as), which of course were determined very early to be Magadhisms in the Pali Canon (Kuhn, Beitrage, p.9; V. Trenckner, Pali Miscellany, Copenhagen 1879, p.75 etc.), also provide exemplifications of this • methodological principle, which are plausible in other ways. If we refer to the list of such cases compiled and expanded by H. Luders ( Beobachtungen, §§ 1-24), we' find that - except for set expressions to which e.g. seyyatha and yebhuyyena owe their adoption into Pali - the causes for the preservation of such forms are generally speaking misunderstandings in transmission. This applies also to those passages in the Patikasutta (Luders, o p. cit., § 5) that can obviously no longer be correctly understood. As with seyyatha and bhikkhave, the easily remembered formulation - and thus the existence of a stereotyped mode of expression - may have contributed significantly to the preservation of the -e in the passage of the Sakkapanhasutta (Geiger, op. cit-, § 80; Luders, op. cit., § 6) and the Sunakkhattasutta (Trenckner, op. cit n p.75; Luders, op. cit., §7).

On the other hand, this very form, provides an example of how we can go astray if we rely exclusively on the grammatical

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

form and do not pay attention to the context. Luders, for instance, explains ( Beobachtungen, § 8) the nominative in -e in the language of the heretics in the Samannaphalasutta as ‘Magadhisms’, although it is difficult to perceive why an historical peculiarity of the language of the Buddha should be preserved in the language of the heretics only, while it is not found in the speech of the Buddha himself. I have attemp ted to explain these forms and related passages in the JStaka as ’Sinhalisms’, i.e. as forms first adopted in Ceylon from the local vernacular to characterise the uncultivated patois of the heretics (‘Uber Singhalesisches im Palikanon’, WZKSO 1, 1957, pp.71-5X This implied that these forms were inserted in the text in early Ceylon during the period of oral tradition. K.R. Norman disagreed (‘Pali and the Language of the Heretics’, Acta Orientalia 37,1976, pp.113-22), but I am not at all convinced by his arguments which I shall discuss elsewhere. In any W e may not consider these forms as ‘Magadhisms 4 in the usual sense of the term. They do not seem to be residua from the fang na y of the oldest tradition, but are forms which came into the text later, even though they look like ‘Magadhisms’ purely from the standpoint of form. If, on the other hand, the ending -ase in the nominative plural, which occurs in the verses, was not transformed into -aso in the Pali texts (with one or two possible exceptions under peculiar conditions only), it was for the reason that the form in -aso was not usual in ’genuine’ Pali and thus there was no point in substituting it

I am still in agreement with a thesis advanced by H. Berger (op. ciu P-15) that, jn general, forms like pure which appear in the traditional Pali‘texts should not be regarded as ‘Magadhisms’, although -e appears for -ah instead of *puro which the laws of Pali phonetics would lead us to expect; hence Berger’s comment

Buddhist Studies Review 8 , 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

(ibid.), ‘It is hard to understand why the Pali translator would have neglected to put this particular word, common as it is, into the corresponding western form while they never made the same slip with other adverbs (tato, bahusoe tc.). This must be a case of formation by analogy (and indeed with a significance corresponding to that of agge and similar forms, cf. Karl Hoffmann in Berger, op. cit., p.15, n.6). The same holds true for Pali sve or suve (Skt. svah). Here again we must not allow ourselves to be misled by a merely apparent congruence with the Eastern dialect.

Thus we can clearly see the general applicability of the principle enunciated above to the example of the occurrence of -e for •as in Pali, and, as we proceed to exclude, on the basis of convincing arguments, forms like these, which are not ‘Magadhisms’, we can then turn to working out the complex of true ‘Magadhisms* which remains. The example has also shown us how important it is to take-note of the further destinies of the transmitted texts. Aspects of the history, of the transmission of the Pili Canon have been examined recently by O. von Hinuber, K.R. Norman and other scholars. Various orthographic and grammatical peculiarities result from the influence of the vernaculars of the countries in which the texts were handed down, or from the influence of Sanskrit.

These basic considerations also hold true for that form of the language known to us from the ‘Gandhari-Dharmapada’ (J. Brough, The Gandhari Dharmapada, London 1962>, this was tentatively identified by F. Bernhard (‘Gandhari and the Buddhist Mission, in Central Asia’, Ahjali. O.H. de A. Wijesekera Felicitation Volume, Peradeniya 1970, pp.55-62) and even earlier by H.W. Bailey (‘Gandhari*, BSOAS 11,1946, pp.764-97) as the

language of the Canon of the Dharmaguptaka school before its Sanskritisation. (Cf. also J.W. de Jong, A Brief History of Buddhist Studies in Europe and America , Varanasi 1976, pp.62f.).

The situation is more complicated in the case of the texts in Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit*. There was an indigenous term for this language, viz. ar$a. It is used in Kaumaralata’s grammar, as has been pointed out by H. Luders (Philologica Indica, .Gottingen 1940, pp.686 f., 693 f., 713 ff.) and more recently recalled by D. Seyfcrt Ruegg (‘Allusiveness and Obliqueness in Buddhist Texts', Dialectes dans les literatures indo-aryennes ed. C Caillat, Paris *1989, p.285 f.) 2 . Most of these texts were written in various forms of Middle Indie before Sanskritisation. We can proceed on the basis of the traditions of the themselves, that - depending on which sect was involved - they are based on different languages. The familiar tradition that , four different languages were used by the four main sects (Lin Li-kouang, L'Aide-memoire de la vrai Id, Paris 1949, ppJ75-81) is not, of course, an actual description of the historical facts, yet we can perceive that it represents a recollection of the linguistic differences of the various versions of the canonical texts. Akira Yuyama has presented a detailed critical discussion of this

uiai mis

been omitted from the Sanskrit-Worterbuch der buddhistischen Texte aus den Turfan-Funden even though the term, as noted by Luders, is attested in the 'Turfan" collection*. However, this use is found in grammatical literature only but not in the corpus of texts to-be evaluated in this dictionary. The guidelines governing the choice of material to be included in this dictionary were explicitly approved by Seyfort Ruegg in his review in JAOS 106 (1986) p.597, so that his criticism concerning the entry for arsa is not justified.

Buddhist Studies Review 8. 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

tradition (*Bu-ston on the Languages Used by Indian Buddhists at the Schismatic Period’, Die Sprache der altesten buddhistischen Oberlieferung, pp.175-81). Accordingly, the thesis once expressed by F. Edgerton concerning an ‘essential dialectic unity’ of the Prakrit underlying the hybrid Buddhist Sanskrit (see, e.g. Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Grammar, § 1.80) no longer requites any specific refutation.

Our task now lies in differentiating between the various strata of dialectic change. There is good reason to believe that Sanskritisation began when the texts were committed to writing, and, we can be helped along by the fact, well-known from the lessons of textual criticism, that textual changes occurring in the course of written transmission come about in a different manner from those developed in an oral tradition. Sanskritisation itself is known to have been a multi-stage process, and we are much better informed about it than we are about the previous stages of textual development, especially since we actually have available to us earlier versions of many texts which are closer to the Middle Indie variants as well as later, more strongly Sanskritised versions. Naturally we are speaking here only of the Buddhist works in Sanskrit which are actually .based on a Middle Indie original. Various other Sanskrit Buddhist works were written from the beginning in the so-called ‘hybrid dialects’; for a discussion of this question, see C. Regamey, ‘Randbemerkungen zur Sprache und Textuberlieferung des Karandavyuha’ ( Asiatica . Festschrift Friedrich Weller, Leipzig 1954, pp.514-27).

As has already been demonstrated by the foregoing discussions, the question of the relationship of the individual versions to the earliest tradition must be viewed in connection

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

with the problems of the history of the early Buddhist sects, and we must also enquire into their localisation. The home of Pali, for example, cannot be determined exclusively on the basis of linguistic arguments, but only with due regard to the carly history of the Theravada. Consideration of that history made it possible to classify Pali as the language of Vidisa (cf. H. Frauwal!ner, The Earliest Vinaya, Rome 1956, p.18 ff.), a determination which would not have been possible on the basis of current arguments from the standpoint of historical linguistics, but which nevertheless was in close agreement with the results of philological research. Local factors also help to explain the noteworthy similarities between Pali and the language of the texts of the Lokottaravadins, which the history of the formation of the sects leaves quite obscure.

Yet we must still keep in mind the linguistic aspects of the problem. The comparison of the language of the early Buddhist texts with the language of the Asokan and other early Prakrit inscriptions has been carried out in the minutest detail. Indeed, much of the research has, if anything, been undertaken too systematically. For example, we can only view with the greatest scepticism any attempts to come to conclusions about pronunciation on the basis of orthography, since we must never lose sight of the broad spectrum of possible divergences between orthography and pronunciation that we are familiar with from our knowledge of the development of other languages and from examination of later stages in the evolution of the Indie languages themselves.

Similarly, the questions of the conditions necessary for the emergence of a written language must be approached by methods which are predominantly linguistic. Fortunately wc

Buddhist Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Becherl ,

possess a number of examples from other areas - such as the origin of the written form of the Romance languages - for which we have developed an extremely useful research apparatus. The question of the language of the earliest Buddhist tradition and its progressive development into the corpus of material as it stands today must undoubtedly be viewed as part of the formation of standardised (and therefore also in certain ways ‘hybrid’) languages during the developmental stages of Middle Indie, which ultimately came to be written languages. Moreover, the use of Middle Indie languages in the earliest Indian inscriptions, which of course constitute the oldest written evidence of the Indo-Aryan languages, suggests the hypothesis that we have here the earliest written Indie language, to which, however, the established tradition of a language of priests and scholars that was transmitted orally at first and nevertheless became standardised down to the last detail - i.e. Sanskrit stands in the same relationship as Latin does to the written Romance languages. We can infer from the passage in the Vinaya that we have mentioned, and also from the actual development of language, that originally, and indeed in deliberate contrast to the Brahmanic tradition, the Buddha had definitely not been striving to bring about a linguistic standardisation to be used in the propagation of his teachings.

Does it not seem reasonable, then, to assume that the earliest tradition actually consisted of a linguistic multiplicity, and that a specific ‘language of the earliest Buddhist tradition’ does not exist at all? In view of all this there would hardly seem much point in continuing to look for this language; instead we should redirect the thrust of our enquiry towards the process of ’standardisation’ of the linguistic form of the tradition as such. In this connection it would be quite helpful if we could answer

Buddhisi Studies Review 8, 1-2 (1991) - Bechert

the question as to how the traditional canonical texts of the Jains developed up to the point when they took definitive form, and how the Ardhamagadhi of the Svetambara texts actually originated. The significant differences between the language of the canonical prose of the Pali Canon and the language of the early verses give- rise to the further question as to whether or not a poetic language existed in Middle Indie, which was possibly supra-regional in use but in certain places may have been subjected to a process of assimilation with local languages, as Helmer Smith conjectured. Whatever answers we finally come up with to all these questions, it would seem imperative, in any case, always to keep in mind the wide variety of points of view and be wary of supporting just one principle argument

Considered in- isolation and viewed only with reference to individual linguistic phenomena, this question might well appear to be one of those abstruse problems of detail in a highly specialised science the solution to which touches on the progress of that science as a whole only with reference to a narrowly limited issue. If, however, we view our question in its broader ramifications, its answer will prove to be an important element in the task of elaborating an accurate understanding of the entire linguistic, literary and religious development in India during the fifth to the first century B.C.E


As a general principle, the Buddha always spoke to the point and only taught Dhamma to those capable ( bhabbo ) of understanding. He did not waste words but spoke only what was appropriate on any particular occasion according to the capacity of his audience. Then, it may be asked, what about the concise teaching to Dandapani (‘Stick-in-Hand’) the Sakyan (Madhupindika Sutta, M 18) which was quite beyond his comprehension? The whole episode was subsequently related to the bhikkhus and was beyond them too until explained by Mahakaccana. “However, there are a number of indications in this story that make one suspect Dandapani was not a ‘real’ person at all in the usual sense. Perhaps we should regard him as a ‘type’; a hypothetical case, employed by the Buddha as a teaching device. In fact, looking at this episode closely, Dandapani was actually a Mara-like figure. Mara the ‘Evil One’ can also be viewed symbolically, as a psychological entity - in a sense the personification of the ego and sensual attachments, and an obstacle to be overcome before enlightenment is attained. For the arahant Mara poses no problem; he is always recognised immediately and is, accordingly, sent packing. As in a great number of Mara episodes, Dandapani appeared when the person, in this case the Buddha, was in solitude and in an open place, ‘under a tree’. Like Mara he was always roaming about seeking a ‘victim’ to debate with. Again, as so often with Mara, he assumed an arrogant stance, leaning on his stick, when putting his question. Finally, he departs, like MSra once did when defeated, with a wrinkled brow and leaning on his stick (see Mara Samyutta, S I, p.118). Mara defeated and recognised departs dejected, downcast and uncomprehending.-

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Manne



Joy Manne

Eighteen out of thirty-four suttas in the DIgha Nikaya (D 1-13, 23-25, 28, 31) are debate suttas, that is to say that each of these has all or most of the following features', a central character, most usually the Buddha, and a statement of his credentials; an adversary, and a statement of his credentials a description of a location that functions to set the scene and the atmosphere; an audience; a greeting ceremony; a challenge; a refutation of the adversary’s position; the establishment of the Buddhist position; a hypothetical case history 2 3 ; a surrender, in the form of an acceptance formula, by the adversary; a reward*. Witzel has already drawn attention to similarities between the debates in the Vedic texts and those in the P&li texts, notably on the

1 These investigations were supported by the Foundation for Research in the field of Theology and the Science of Religions in the Netherlands, which is subsidised by the Netherlands Organisation for the Advancement of Pure Research (Z.W.O.), and constitute Chapter IV of my doctoral dissertation. ‘Debaies and Case Histories in the Pali Canon’ (Utrecht 1991).

2; ' Most usually a repetition of S 40-98 of the Samannaphala Sutta, D 2.

3 See J. Manne, ’.Categories of Suita in the Pali Nikiyas and their

implications for our appreciation of the Buddhist' Teaching and Literature

JPTS XV. 1990. pp.29-87 (abbrev. Manne. 1S90X cf.' pp.44-48.

issue of the severed head 4 , on the relationship between the sahadhammika type of questioning ‘which takes place in a kind of open challenge or tournament, (which is) similar to the Vedic brahmodya ’ 5 , and on the similarity of both the anati- prasnya and the sahadhammika questions and the general rules of discussion found in the Vedic and Pali texts 6 . He particularly observes, ‘As often, it is the early Buddhist texts which provide more detailed and useful information. The Pali texts frequently describe in lively and graphic detail what is only alluded to in the Vedic texts which were, after all, composed by Brahmins for Brahmins: one did not have to explain ritual matters of everyday occurrence or of common knowledge to one’s fellow Brahmins or to bralimacarin students . . ,’ 7 . Witzel comments further, ‘Interestingly, the challengers seem to be the best among the various groups of Brahmins (and both Yajnavalkya’s and their personalities require further study)’*.

The Buddhist debates of the DIgha contain information regarding contemporary debating practices, including customs or conventions related to the debate situation, information regarding the types of utterance that were usual in religious

4 M. Witzel, 'The case of the shattered head'. Sludicn zur Indologie l ■;. Iranislik 13/14, 1987, pp.363-415 (abbrev. Witzel, 1987), but see S. Insler. '1 he shattered head split and the Epic tale of Sakuntula', Bulletin d'etudes indiennes 7-8, Paris 1989-90, who lakes a different view of the history of the theme of the shattered head.

5 ' Witzel, 1987, p.408.

6 ‘Both the saccaldriyd and the analtpraina I sahadhammika statements deai with truth, but both do so in a formalised context: cither a discussion ssith a challenger and one or more opponents.' Ibid., p.110.

. 7 Ibid* p381.

8 Ibid , p365.

Buddnlst Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) • Manne *

debate, and criteria for judging success in debate, beyond those that Witzel discusses in his article (by no means all of which have been referred to above). It is the very large number of features in common between Vedic and Buddhist debates that Witzel has drawn attention to in his article* and others that I- have pointed out 9 that permits me to say this. The purpose of this article is to present this material. It is beyond its scope to make extensive comparisons with the Vedic tradition. This article then analyses the Buddha’s debating style and techniques in terms of these conventions and compares them with those of one of his disciples, Kumara Kassapa.

In three of the debate suttas, the Brahmajala (D 1), the Kassapa-Sihanada (D 8) and the Udumbarika-Sihanada (D 25), contemporary debating practices, including customs or conventions related to the debate situation, are specifically mentioned. In the Brahmajala there is information regarding the types of utterance that were usual in religious debate (and the Buddha’s attitude towards them). In the Kassapa-Sihanada a r e the criteria for judging success in debate, and in the Udumbarika-Sihanada the value placed upon discussion between religious practitioners of different persuasions is demonstrated. In these suttas the Buddha is the debater on behalf of the Buddhists. This is the normal state of affairs in the Pali texts, which lends support to Witzel’s observation cited above that ‘interestingly, the challengers seem to "be the best among the

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Manne

various grdups of Brahmins,.. .’ 10 . In a fourth sutta, the Payasi (D 23), the wordy Kumara Kassapa takes this role. It is because he is so explicit about his tactics in the discussion that this sutta also provides useful information on debating techniques.

In the Brahmajala Sutta the Buddha criticises the dis¬ putatious habits of brahmans and samanas, narticularly the use of expressions like:

(1) ‘You don’t understand this doctrine and discipline, I do.’ ‘How should you know about this doctrine and discipline?’

‘You have fallen into wrong views. It is I who am right.’

‘I am speaking to the point, you are not.’.

‘Ytou^re putting last what ought to come first, and first what ought to come last’

‘What you have excogitated so long, that’s all quite upset.’

‘Your challenge has been taken up.’

‘You are proved to be wrong.’

‘Set to work to clear your views.’

‘Disentangle yourself if you can’".

Because of the many features in common between the Vedic

10 Witzel, 1987. p365.

11 'Na tvam imam dhamma-vinayam ajanasi, aham imam dhamma-vinayam a j an ami, kim tvam imam dhamma-vinayam ajdnissasi? - Micchd-patipanno tvam asi , aham asmi sammd-patipanno - Sahitam me, asahitan le • Pure vacaniyam paccha avaca, paccha vacaniyam pure avaca - Avicinnan te viparavattam - Arapito te vddo, niggahito *si - Cara vddappamokkhdya , nibbethehi vd sace pahositi t D 8, § 18. Tr. T.W. Rhys Davids. Dialogues of the Buddha I, p!4f. See also his extensive notes.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) * Manne

and sthe Buddhist debates, the reference to these types of utterance may be taken to indicate that they were in general use in contemporary debating practice.

The expression of criteria for success in debate in the Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta takes the form of a categorical denial, uttered by the Buddha, of a set of criticisms that h& suggests might be made against him by religious wanderers of other sects?. The structure of the sutta. show-, that these criticisms are important: it is the Buddha himself who, unprovoked, first in¬ troduces them and then denies that they can be applied to him. Once again, because of the many other features in common between the Vedic and the Buddhist debates, this suggests that these were genuine contemporary criticisms which accurately re¬ flected contemporary conventions of the debate situation. In this case, however, because Kassapa was a naked ascetic ( acelo ), they may not apply strictly to the Vedic debates 13 . The points that the Buddha disputes provide us, nevertheless, with the criteria of the time for judging and evaluating thf competence of the debater.

The following are the potential criticisms that the Buddha suggests might be made against him: that although he issues his challenge 14 .

12 • thannm kho pan etam Kassapa vijjati yam ahhatitthiya paribbajaka evam vadeyyum D 1 175. 5 22.

13 *JUB (Jaiminiya Upanisad Brahmana] 312 sqi*. expressively stales that such discussions were held only among the Brahmins and Ksatriyas (and Vaisyas?) but not among the $udra& Wittel. 1987, pi410.

14 siha-nbdam nodali - 'utters his lions roar*, 'makes his assertion*, 'issues his challenge*.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Manne

(2) 1. he does this in empty places, and not in assemblies' 5 ,

2. he issues his challenge in assemblies, but he does it without confidence' 4 ,

3. he challenges with confidence,... but people do not ask him questions' 7 ,

4. people ask him questions,, but he does not answer 18 ,

5. he answers their question, ... but he does not win over their minds with his exposition 19 ,

6. he wins over their minds with his expositions . . . but they do not find him worth hearing 70 ,

7. they find him worth hearing but after they have heard him they are not convinced 71 ,

8. having heard him, they are convinced, ... but the faithful make no sign of their belief 77 ,

9. the faithful give the sign of their belief, ... but

15 ten ca kho suhhagare nadati no parisdsuti. D 11 175. parisa - ‘group’, 'assembly'.

16 parisasu ca nadati , na ca kho visarado nadati. Ibid.

17 visarado ca nadati . . na ca kho nam pahham pucchanti . Ibid.

18 pahham ca nam pucchanti . . na ca kho pan dam [NaUnda ed. nesam] pahham putt ho vyakaroti. Ibid,

19 pahhah ca nesam putt ho vyakaroti . . na ca kho pahhassa vcyydkaranena cittam aradhetL Ibid

20 pahhassa ca veyyakarancna cittam drddheti . . na ca kho sotabbarn assa mahhanli. Ibid.

21 sotabbam c f assa mahhartli . . na ca kho sutva pasidanli. Ibid. ' pasldati - 'a mental* attitude which unites deep feeling, intellectual appre¬ ciation and satisfied clarification of thought and attraction towards the teacher*. K~N. Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory oj Knowledge . London 1963, § 655.

22 sutva c’assa pasidanli . . na ca kho pasanna pasanndkdram karonti. Ibid. Presumably this means that they utter no acceptance formula, provide no meals for the bhikkhus, etc.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Mannt

they do not follow the path to the Truth (Nibbana) 23 ,

10. they follow the path ... but they do not succeed 24 .

The Udumbarika-Sihanada Sutta contains a list of criticisms which provide further evidence that a religious leader was required to discuss his views and indeed to put himself before his critics in the public debating arena rather than to remain in solitude. These criticisms are made by Nigrodha, a wanderer iparibbajaka) and not a brahman, against the Buddha. Nigrodha challenges Sandhana, a householder (gahapati ) and lay disciple, on the subject of the Buddha’s habits:

(3) ‘With whom does he talk?

With whom does he engage in conversation?

With whom does he attain wisdom and distinction?

His wisdom is damaged by solitude.

The samana Gotama is outside the assembly.

He does not converse enough.

He busies himself with peripheral matters’ 25 .

He ends his criticisms with the boast: ‘If the Samana Gotama were to come to this assembly, with a single question only could - we settle him; yea, methinks we could roll him over like an empty pot’ 26 .

23 pasanna pasannakaran ca karonti . . na ca nho taihaitaya patipajjanti.


24 tahatlaya ca patipajjanti . . na ca kho patipanna aradhenti . Ibid.

25 . . kcna Samano Cotamo saddhim sallapati? Una sakaccham samapaj- jati? Una pahha-veyyattiyam dpajjati? Suhhagara-hata Samanassa Got amass a panha, aparisavacaro Samano Gotamo. nalam sallapaya . so antamanta eva sevati. D III 38. § 5.

26 Ihgha gahapati, Samano Gotamo imam parisam agaccheyya, eka-pahheri eva nam samsadeyyama , tuccha-kumbhi va nam marine orodheyyamati. D III

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Manne

As-thts criticism comes from Nigrodha, whose followers have been criticised for their talkativeness by Sandhana (§ 4), and who will be criticised for the same fault by the Buddha later in the sutta (§ 21), its content is evidently defensive in character. For this reason it might be expected that the Buddha, as he is represented by the composers of the texts, would not take it entirely seriously. As in the Kassapa-Slhanada Sutta, however, these criticisms are given importance in the sutta: the hears Nigrodha’s accusations by means of his clair- audience, and takes them seriously enough to come out of his solitude on the Vulture Peak into the area where the discussion was taking place in o r der to refute them.

Finally, Kumara Kassapa, who is so explicit about what he is doing in the debate situation, by suggesting an earnest desire to conform to standards, provides samples that support the rules in the previously cited suttas. He provides further examples of the techniques a debater was expected to use, and indeed was admired for using These*are supported by examples of similar strategies in debates where the Buddha is the protagonist.

Kumara Kassapa attempts the Buddha’s technique of gradually leading the adversary on ‘by the usual Socratic method adopted in so many of the Dialogues, to accept one self-evident truth after another* 27 , explaining to his adversary:

(4) ‘Therefore, Prince, I will question you in this matter

38. § 5. Tr. T.W. and CAP. Rhys Davids, Dialogues oj the Buddha II, p35.

27 T.W, Rhys Davids’ introduction to the Sonadanda Sulla (D 4). Dialogues I, p.138.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Manne

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Manne

and you answer if you please’ 28 .

In the same explicit way he offers a simile:

(5) ‘Well then. Prince, I will make you a simile, for by a simile some intelligent persons will recognise the meaning of what is said* 29 .

The text tells us that Kumara Kassapa was considered a skilled debater. At the end of the debate his opponent says to him, ‘I was delighted, satisfied, by Master Kassapa’s first simile, but I wanted to hear the variety of (his) answers to the question’ 30 .

Tlie suttas above provide information concerning the con¬ ventions, rules and customs connected with the debates that took place between religious leaders of one sect, or their senior followers, and those of another. They refer explicitly to a num¬ ber of debating techniques or strategies. How far. does the Buddha’s performance in the debate suttas conform to these conventions?

In the Brahmajala Sutta the Buddha’s choice'not to express himself in certain ways (see (1) above) is reported, and indeed the Buddha adheres to his standards throughout the Digha debates.

28 Tena hi Rajahna lam yev'etlha palipucchissami. yatha te khameyya tatha

nam vyakareyyasi. D 11 319, 5 5. 0

29 Tena hi Rajahna upaman te karissami. upamaya pi ida‘ ekacce vihnh parish bhasitassa allham ajananli. Ibid, S 9. Tr. Rhys Davids, Dialogues II pOtt.

30 . Purimen evaham opammena bhoto Kassapassa atiamano abhiraddho, api caham imani vicilrani panha-pal ibhanani sotu-kamo ... Dll 332.

The criticisms in the Udumbarika-Sihanada Sutia emphasise certain features of the customs that formed part of the debate situation, notably the expectations placed upon a religious leader, that he should be willing to enter into public debate and discussion. The large number of debate suttas in D alone attest to the Buddha’s conformity to these expectations.

The criteria of the Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta (see (2) above) relate to the conventions of the debate situation. The debater was expected confidently to issue a challenge or make an asser¬ tion to an assembly (see (2), points 1 and 2). The challenge or assertion should be so important (or interesting?) that people wish for further information or elucidation, i.e. they ask ques¬ tions (see (2), points 3 and 4). Questions should be so com¬ petently answered that the attention of the questioner is captured, he appreciates the value of the message, and he be¬ comes so convinced that he makes his convictions publicly maniest (see (2), points 5 - 9). Furthermore, he should under¬ take to follow the path being taught and he should succeed in his efforts, thus proving that the assertions were well-founded (see (2), point 10).

The defeat of and surrender by the adversary is a signi¬ ficant feature of the Buddhist debate suttas as well as of the Vedic debate tradition 31 . It regularly attests to the Buddha's success as a debater. There is, however, only one occasion where the eventual attainment (see point 10 in (2) above) of the

31 ‘In the course of the discussion, participants who do not know the whole truth have to stale this clearly, they must cease questioning. ... and thus declare defeat, or they must even become the pupil of the winner.' Witzel. 1987, p372.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) * Manne

erstwhile adversary is attested (Kassapa-Slhanada Sutta). The Payasi Sutta adds to the above requirements a point of style: the technique, richly adhered to by the Buddha in the debate . suttas, of furthering one’s argument through the use of similes and analogy.

The seemingly simple conventions of the debate situation are used in a variety of powerful ways.

The first requirement in a debate is that a challenge should be issued. When the Buddha receives a challenge he may accept it and respond directly, answering point by point, as in the Samannaphala Sutta (D 2) when he shows his thirty-two marks, the Kutadanta Sutta (D 5) where he describes the higher sacrifice, the MahSli Sutta (D 6) where he explains the relationship between achieving the hearing of heavenly sounds and the seeing of heavenly sights, the Potjhapada Sutta 32 where he answers PottHapada’s questions on the summits of consciousness 33 , and many further occasions.

The Buddha may, however, reject a challenge. The grounds for this are that it is misplaced, i.e. he will reject a challenge on subjects with regard to which he has made no claims. This demonstrates a convention, not directly named in the suttas, that a challenge on a position that was never asserted could right¬ fully be dismissed. Into this category comes the Buddha’s re¬ fusal to answer certain questions, for example the avya-

33 sannagga.

(I "2- Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) • Manne

kata questions (Potthapada Sutta 34 ) because they do not conform to the purpose of his teaching 35 . Also in this category is his refusal in the Patika Sutta 36 to reveal the Knowledge of the Beginning 37 , and his refusal in the Kevaddha Sutta (D ll) and the Patika Sutta (D 24, § 4) to produce miracles 38 . The Buddha may simply reject a challenge on this ground, or he may first reject it and then redefine it and answer it (Kevaddha Sutta: the mystic wonder) 39 . The Buddha may use the technique of both issuing and answering his own challenge. He does this in the form of a rhetorical question 40 , or by referring to a challenge made by a hypothetical opponent 41 .

The technique of the question-challenge is fundamental to a further strategy that the Buddha uses. He will accept his adversary’s position and then, by posing subtle questions, lead him him ta refute his own position through his own answers 42 . In this way he gets him to cede point after point, and then uses ,what is left of the adversary’s position to his own advantage 43 . In a similar way, the Buddha will prove his case by asking a

34 D 9 (I 187f, §§ 25-271

35 Defined in this sum, § 28.

36 D 24 (III 4, § 51

37 aggannam panhdpetL

38 iddhi’patihariycL

39 . The Patika Sutta, D 24, however, demonstrates that although the Buddha may refuse to perform miracles and to reveal the Knowledge of the Beginning, he both performs the former and knows the latter.

40 Brahmajala Sutta, D 1; Kevaddha Sutta, D 11; Lohicca Sutta, D 1Z

41 Potthapada Sutta, D 9 [l 197, § 43l Pare ce . . amhe evam puccheyyum . . .

42 Potthapada’s position on the soul/self, Potthapada Sutta, D 9, S 21-23; the limitations of ascetic practices, Udumbarika-Sihanada Sutta, D 25.

43 Sonadanda Sutta, D 4.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) - Manne

sequence of rhetorical questions to which he will provide answers. These answers add increasing weight to his argument, and point by point he gets his adversary to agree with him 42 . He will also use simile and analogy strategically in his argument to attain this goal. He will provide an analogy with the case presented, and get the adversary to agree to his own (i.e. the Buddha’s) position in terms of the analogy. The Buddha will then relate the analogy to the opponent’s position, and in this way show that the latter has condemned himself 0 .

| The Buddha is also successful at eliciting questions from his opponent, the requirement of the third point in the Kassapa- Sfhanada Sutta. This occurs so generally in the debate suttas tlijit it is not worth citing examples. What is noteworthy in the Buddha’s use of this strategy is his ability to force from his adversary a question which demonstrates the latter’s ignorance, and hence the Buddha’s superior knowledge 44 . So Sonadan<Ja, having been led to reduce the number of qualities that permit a person to be defined as a brahman to two, is forced to ask the Buddha to explain these qualities 45 . v

There are a variety of further strategies or conventions* which occur regularly in the debates but which have not been specifically mentioned in any of the suttas cited above. Two strategies especially favoured by the Buddha are those of

42 Samannaphala Suita, D Z

43 Simannaphila SulU. S§ 35. 37; Potthapada Sulla, S 34-38; Lohicca Sulla D 12; Tevijji Sulla, D 13.

44 See Witzel, 1987, for ihe importance of this strategy and its occurrence in ihe brahman lexis.

45 Sonadanda Sulla, D I 124, $ 2Z

  • ) w-1 Buddhtsl Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) - Nlanne

appealing to authority, both his own and that of another person, and of undermining the opponent’s authority and status.

The Buddha will appeal to his own authority as Tathagata. He will enhance his authority by telling the story of a previous lifetime in which his competence to answer the present chal¬ lenge is established, and he is proved to be an expert on the subject (Kutadanta Sutta: when he was the brahman chaplain in charge of the sacrifice). He will present the adversary’s position exhaustively and systematically, and then put himself above it because of his knowledge and achievements 44 . He will resort to his transcendental vision 47 . He will put himself forward as the example that is also the ultimate proof of his own position: ‘Could such a bhikkhu (i.e. one who has achieved the described advanced state) say that?’... ‘But I am such a bhikkhu and I do not speak thus 10 . Similarly he puts his discipline above and out of reach of that of certain adversaries 4 ’. In this context too

46 Brahma jala Sulla. Aithi bhikkave ahn eva dhamma gambhird duddasa duranubodhd sqnta partita atakkdvacara nipund pandit a-ved aniyd, ye Taihdgatv sayam abhinhd sacchikavtd pavedeli ... D 1 [I 12. S 28], and Ime ditthdnd evam-gahitd evam pardmatthd evam-gatikd bhavissanii evanuibhisampwdya ti\ Tan ca T at hag at o pajanati, tato ca uitaritararn pajanali, tan ca pajananam na pardmasati, apardmasato cassa pacettam yeva nibbuti vidita , vedandnam samudaych ca atthagamah ca asshdah ca adinavah ca nissaranah ca yatha-bhutam viditva anupadd vimuUo, bhikkhave Tathdgaio. D I 16f.

4 T Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta. D 8 [1 161f. § 3): . . . dibbena cakkhund visi idhena alikkanla-rndnusakena, „

48 Mahali Sutta. D 6 (I 157. § 16] and variously; Jaliya Sulla. D 7: Yo nu kho 4 avusa bhikkhu evam Jdndti evam passati kailam nu kho tass‘ etam vacandya

Aham kho pan etam . . evam janami evam passami. Atha ca pandham na vaddmi . *

49 Udumbarika-Sihanada Suita, D 25 (111 39f, § 7J: Dujjdnam kho etam Nigrodha taya ahha-ditthikena ahha-khantikena ahha-ruccikena ahhalr ayogena

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) - Marine

come the Buddha’s assertions that he is ‘the greatest!* 50

The Buddha quotes or resorts to external or non-present authorities to enhance his authority. He cites the gods in the Ambattha Sutta 51 , where he quotes a versq by Brahma Sanam- kumara and agrees with it, and in the Patika Sutta 52 where lie supports his assertion .hat he knows by adding that he has also been told this by a deva. He tells a story which shows that the highest god recognises that only the Buddha can answer a cer¬ tain question 55 . In the Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta 54 , he imputes a decision in his favour to ‘the wise’. Also in this sutta 55 , he invokes Nigrodha’s support, although the latter is absent, when he refers to an occasion when Nigrodha found an answer that he (the Buddha) gave very satisfying.

The strategy of undermining or reducing the adversary’s status and authority is also frequently used. In the Ambattha Sutta 54 , the Buddha humiliates Ambattha by revealing the latier’s humble origins; in the same sutta 57 he reveals that

ahhatr dcariyakena yenaham sdvake vinemi . .

50 Cf. Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta, D 8 [I 1745 211 and variously. Yavata Kas- sapa Qriya parama vimutti, naham tallha altano samasamam samanupassami kuto bhiyyo. Cf. On the claim to be the best, Witzel, 1987, p365. quoting the Taittiriya Brahmana 3.10.5. Also, ‘One cannot just claim to be belter than the rest . . . Mere brazen assertion does not suffice; one must be able to prove one's knowledge.' p372f.

7 Buddhist Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) • Manne

Pokkharasadi, Ambauha’s teacher, is not sufficiently respected to be permitted into the direct presence of the king. Also in this sutta he tells Ambattha that the ability to recite mantras of the ancient rishis does not make him a rishi 5 *. He resorts to ridicule of brahman knowledge and habits in the Tevijja Sutta (D 13). Similarly, Kassapa ridicules his adversary when he tells him, ‘I have never seen or heard anyone professing such a position, such a view’ 59 .

There are further general strategies in use. The Buddha will establish the criteria for winning the debate and then maintain that "he conforms to them, as in the Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta 40 , where he defines the criteria for the appellation ‘samana’ or ‘brahmana’, and in the Udumbarika-SIhanada Sutta, where he defines true asceticism 41 . The Buddha will show both the pros and cons in the adversary’s position, and then demonstrate that his own position is still stronger 42 . Like Kumara Kassapa, but ’hot so explicitly, the Buddha will use similes and analogy. He may use these poetically, to reinforce the ideas he is presenting, as the many similes in the Samanfiaphala Sutta. He may also use these strategically in his argument, especially with the goal of getting the opponent to refute his own position. The Buddha can also be reasonable. In the Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta, when Kassapa challenges him whether he condemns all asceticism, he

58 ... tydham manle adhxyami sacariyako ti lav at a tvam bhavissasi hi vd isitiaya va patipanno ti n etam thanam vijjati . D 3 [I 104. §§ 8. 10l

59 Naham Rajahha evam-vadim evam-ditthim addasam va assosin va (Payasi Sulla. D 23 III 319, S 5l

60 D 8 [I 167, § 151

61 tapo-jigghuccha parisuddha.

62 Kassapa-Sihanada Sulla, D 8; Udumbarika-Sihanada Sulla, D 25.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) • Manne

replies, ‘How then could I, O Kassapa, who am thus aware, as they really are, of the states whence men have come, and whither they will go, as they pass away from one form of existence, and take shape in another, — how could 1 disparage all penance; or bluntly revile and find fault with every ascetic, with every one who lives a life that is hard?* 3 The Buddha can open himself up to the judgment of others. Also in the Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta, he tells Kassapa of an occasion when in discussion with certain samanas and brahmana^ he offered them to put aside all the subjects on which they held mutually incompatible views, and to judge solely with regard to those qualities that they mutually agreed were unskilful ( akusala ), blameworthy ( savajja ), ignoble ( nalam-ariya ) and wicked 0 Unha), whether the Buddha was not the one among them who had most completely abandoned them ( anavasesam pahaya vattatfr*.

An interesting feature that occurs in two of the debates is the sub-challenge.

Sub-challenges have a particular character. They occur when the followers of an adversary interfere in a debate.. The Buddha responds to these sub-challenges in a standard way. He counters by challenging his adversary’s supporters to debate with him themselves, if they think that their leader is not performing

63 thc«»!”>p»-Sih«nid» Suit*. D I 161f. § 3 :Yo 'harp Kassapa imescm tapaislnam evam a gal in ca gatin ca cutin ca uppattin ca yathabhutam pajknami. so 'ham kim sabbam tapam garahissami sammam tappasim litkhajivam ekamsena upakkosissami upavadissami? Tr. Rhys Davids, Dialogues 1, p-224.

64 j Le. in a debate with potential opponents. See Manne, 1990, p38f.

65 Kassapa-Sihanada Sutta. D 1 163, $ 5.

Buddbbt Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) ■ Manne


The sub-challenges occur only in debates with brahmans 66 . In the Ambattha Sutta, once the Buddha has accused Ambattha of being descended from the slave of a Sakyan 67 , Ambattha’s followers defend him. The Buddha then challenges them: ‘If you, young brahmans, think that the young brahman Ambattha is ill-born, not of good family, not learned, not a fine reciter, without wisdom, and not able to debate with me, then let him be silent, and you debate with me. If you think the opposite, then you be silent and let Ambattha debate with me* 8 . Ambattha’s companions are silent. In the Sonadanda Sutta (D 4) the Buddha extracts from Sonadanda the concession that only two attributes are essential for a man to claim truthfully to be a brahman. Sonadanda’s companions accuse him of betraying them: ‘Do not, Venerable Sonadanda, speak in this way. The Venerable Sonadanda rejects our caste; he rejects our sacred verses, he rejects our birth!* 9 The Buddha’s reply is the same as

66 Manavas, Ambattha Sutta* D 3; brahmanas, Sonadanda Sutta, D 4.

68 Sact kho tumhakam manavaka evam hoti, "Dujjaio ca Ambattho mrnavo, akulaputta ca Ambatlho manavo , appassuio ca Ambaitho manavo. akalyana- vakkarano ca Ambattho manavo, duppahho ca Ambaitho manavo, na ca pahoti Ambatlho manavo samantna Gotamena saddhim asmim vacant paiimanieiun ft t titthaiu Ambattho manavo, tumhe maya suddhim asmim vacane maniavho. Sace kho tumhakam manavaka evam hoti, "Sujaio ca Ambattho manavo , kola- 'putla ca Ambattho manavo, bahussuto ca Ambcutho manavo, kalyana-vdkkarano

ca Ambattho manavo, pandito ca Ambattho manavo, ca pahoti Ambattho manavo samanena Gotamena saddhim asmim vacane paiimantetun tr, titthatha tumhe, Ambattho manavo maya saddhim mantetuti. D I 93f, § 18.

69 Ma bhavam Sonadando evam uvaca! Apavadat' eva bhavam Sonadanda vannam apavadati monte apavadati jatim ... D l 122, § 17.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) - Marine

in the Ambattha Sutta, but without the opening remarks about birth and family 70 .

The style of debate is remarkably consistent in all the debate suttas, with the single exception of the Payasi Sutta (D . 23), where Kumara Kassapa, and not the Buddha, is the protagonist. This enables us to compare the Buddha’s debating style and techniques with those of one of his disciples. The style of the Payasi Sutta is qualitatively different from that of the suttas in which the Buddha is the protagonist. Where Kumara Kassapa says, ‘I, Prince, have neither seen or heard of any one holding such a view, such an opinion’ 71 , the Buddha is never surprised by a view expressed by his adversary. Where Kumara Kassapa asks the adversary his reasons 12 the Buddha never invites extensive representations of the opponent’s views. It is his style rather to ask brief pointed questions to which only one answer is possible and which leads to the rebuttal by the adversary himself of his own position. Kumara Kassapa thus pays more attention to the details of his adversary’s case, while the Buddha goes straight to the weak point of his adversary’s argument.

Kumara Kassapa’s is a poor imitation of the Buddha’s method of asking a series of questions whose answers manoeuvre the adversary into denying his own position: he takes much longer to convince his adversary than the Buddha ever does. Kumara Kassapa’s arguments contain notably less Buddhist teaching than those of the Buddha. Where the Buddha

70 Ibid , S HI

71 See n.61 Tr. Rhys Davids. Dialogues II, p351.

72 pariyaya , §§ 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16.

Buddhlst Studies Review 9, 1 (1992) - Manne

produces similes, without explicitly saying that he is doing so, Kumara Kassapa is explicit (§ 9). In every way the Buddha is both more subtle and more skilful than Kumara Kassapa in his use of debating techniques and strategies.

Fully half of the debates in the Digha are with brahmans (D 1, 3-5, 10, 12, 13, 23). Debates exist also in the BrShmanas and the Upani$ads. They appear too in the earliest Vedic literature, the Rgveda, as Speech Contests 73 . So far the rules for these have not yet been fully described by scholars. Insofar as they have been 74 , they show that this is another case 7 * where we need Buddhist te'xts to help us understand brahmanical literature.

73 F.B.J. Kuiper, ‘The Ancient Aryan Verbal Contest’, Indo-lrcnian Journal IV. 1960, pp.217-81.

74 Witzel, 1987.

75 See J. Bronkhorst, ‘The Mahabhasya and the Development of Indian Philosophy' in Three Problems pertaining to the Mahabhasya, Poona 1987, third lecture.

The Udana or inspired Utterances’ is the third book of the Khuddaka Nikaya or Minor Collection. It consists of eighty short suttas or discourses of the Buddha, divided into-eight groups ( vagga ) of ten suttas each. The title refers to the pronouncement, usually in verse, made at the end of each sutta arid prefaced by the words; ‘Then, on realising its significance, the Lord uttered on that occasion this inspired utterance’ (atha kho bhagava etam attham viditva tayarp velayarp imatp udanam udanesi). Here it is the Buddha who pronounces them, although others are sometimes so inspired (e.g. in Ud. 2.10 and 3.7). Such utterances also occur elsewhere in the Sutta Pijaka (eg. MI 508; M II 104-5. 209; S I 20, 27-8, etc.).

The prose suttas which precede the ‘inspired utterances’ themselves could be regarded as a kind -of commentary, supplying the introductory circumstances to the essential Dhamma-teachings found in the utterances. Because they are introductory, relating circumstances and containing little doctrinal material, they betray their lateness in a variety of ways and strongly suggest they are actually an ancient

1 The present essay was compiled from notes made and problems encountered while preparing a translation of the Udana. This translation, to which the references herein are made, was published as The Udana. Inspired Utterances of the Buddha (BPS. Kandy 1990), and was reviewed in BSR 9. 1 (1992).

1 Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

commentary. Sometimes the utterances do not appear to fit neatly into the context in which they are set (e.g. 5.2, 5.5), though in other cases the story and the udana-utterance are integral to each other (e.g. 1.8, 45, etc.). Being expressions of the Buddha’s teaching, the utterances often allow for a wider interpretation than the circumstances surrounding them suggest and have, moreover, multiple meanings and allusions to the teachings referred to in other portions of the Sutta Pi|aka. The fact is there exists an intricate network of cross-references throughout the Tipitaka and no one passage can be studied in isolation. A particular topic or aspect of the teaching found in one place begins to become meaningful only when everything else that has been said about it is known. Everywhere the Dhamma is spoken of in brief and no one place can be pointed to as being exhaustive and definitive of any aspect of the Dhamma. When a topic, word or phrase is come across and occurs apparently nowhere else in the Canon, it always presents the problem of determining its exact meaning and significance. An example would be kappa, ayu-kappa in 6.1. We have to rely on the Commentary to tell us that kappa does not mean the aeon in this context, but the normal human life(dyu)-span. However, there is no certainty that it was always so interpreted.

Could the udona-verses once have existed as a collection apart from the introductory sutta, like the verses of the Dhammapada? These verses are also described as Buddha-udana, but the stories supplied to explain when and where they were spoken are found in the Commentary and are pot reckoned as the word of the Buddha. In the first vagga of the Udana, the Bodhivagga, the uddna-utterances form a group united by the common wordbrahmin’ ( brahmana ), which is obvious when they are read apart from the introductory suttas.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

So this vagga could well have, been called Brahmanavagga, following on from the last vagga of the Dhammapada, the preceding work in the Khuddaka Nikaya. Similarly, the second vagga has the unifying theme of sukhcc,. happiness, bliss.j Subsequently there is no obviously discernible theme linking the utterances. However, there is a suggestion of an overall plan to the work as a whole, in that the beginning of the first vagga does deal with the start of the Buddha’s career beneath the Bodhi tree. Additionally, the final vagga contains material also, to be found in the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta of the DIgha Nikaya, which recounts the last days of the Teacher before he passed away. The first sutta of the sixth vagga is also an important episode in the life of the Buddha. It is found in the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta too and is the beginning of the events leading up to the passing away of the Buddha and contains Ananda’s failure in not requesting him to delay his departure from this world.

As well as being uplifting and inspiring, the stories from the Udana also reveal much humour. For example, the response of Nanda on being asked to compare those pink-footed nymphs with that Sakyan girl, ‘the loveliest in the land’. Again, in the story of Suppavasa, when the Budha elicits from her the response that she would like another seven sons, despite the trouble and pain she had to undergo to produce just one — all forgotten in the pride of motherhood! And then there is the incongruity of a new-born baby being able to hold a conversation. These, and other subtle touches, reveal the inspiration, humour, joy and delight — and devout faith too — of those ancient and unknown story-tellers who collected and put together this literature. Also noticeable is their love of puns and allusions, the word-play and the ingenuity involved. Thus in

J Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

l 1-8, the pun on Sangamaji’s name, and, in the ‘Bull-Eleph mt’

| story (4.5) the play on the word naga , meaning both perfected | one and elephant. In this last is also the charming touch of the

| elephant bringing water ‘for the Lord’s use’ with his trunk.

I Then there are the similes and parables, like that of the blind man and the elephant (6.4), that are both entertaining and instructive. Although it should be pointed out that this parable is best suited to Jain rather than Buddhist doctrine — a theory of partial truth being somewhat un-Buddhistic — the story is probably older than both Jainism and Buddhism and is.still used today by modern Hindu teachers (e.g. by Ramakrishna).

The thought processes of the compilers of the Pali Canon are also reveajed when it is discovered that there is a connection, between two adjacent suttas, although this may not be too obvious at first sight. One example in the Udana is between suttas 5.8 and 5.9 where a reference to Devadatta’s schism is followed in the next sutta by the inclusion of a verse that is found elsewhere (e.g. Vin. I, p349) in the context of the Kosambi rift. Other examples may be found in the Anguttara Nikaya. These connections are 9 ften so well hidden they need great ingenuity to discover them. They would also constitute necessary aids to memory in an oral literature and an indication of how it was gradually put together, a word or phrase in one sutta acting as a cue or trigger for the next. Also to be found are connections and allusions within the same sutta that are not at first obvious; some so subtle that one could be forgiven for thinking they are accidental rather than deliberate. An example is contained in Ud. 5.4. What is more natural than for little boys, caught out in some misdemeanour (‘tormenting fish in a pond’) by a passerby, attempting to run away, as is suggested in the last line of the verse:

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

If you have done a bad deed or do one now.

You will not escape pain, though you try to flee.’

Another device the ancient compilers of the Canon have employed is the occasional interposing of lines of explanatory narrative prose, or verse that repeats what was previously said in* prose. This has been done in the Cunda Sutta (8.5.), heightening the solemnity of the events being describee! with dramatic effect. This sutta also has a number of curious features. It consists of four separate pieces, actually four short suttas that have been strung together. The composition of s&karamaddava, the Buddha’s last meal, has been the subject of continuing controversy from the earliest times and much has been written about it. Although it is thought to have been the capse of the Buddha’s sickness, this is not borne out by a careful examination of the commentarial tradition. It was possibly medicinal in nature and acted as a purge and was prepared >by Cunda with the purpose of prolonging the Buddha’s life. In any case the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta suggests the JJuddha fell ill during the last *rains-retreat, prior to informing- Mara he would pass away in three months* time and the visit to Cunda s dwelling. The remorse of Cunda was probably because his preparation did not succeed. Another feature of the Cunda Sutta is the sudden appearance of the venerable Cundaka as the Buddha’s attendant, whilst the final section reverts to Ananda again. An intriguing question is whether there is any connection between Cunda the Smith (Cunda Kamm&raputta) and the venerable Cunda(ka). Thus, is there a portion of the story missing where Cunda the Smith ‘goes forth’ and becomes the venerable Cunda or Cundaka? Moreover, are the narrative verses actually fragments of an alternative verse recension of the story? The text we have is very much an edited and

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

selected version of the whole mass of floating oral material, much of it now lost forever. An example of some of this material is the survival of the Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit work, the Mahavastu, which gives a glimpse of the extent and richness of it. Herein are to be found both prose and verse alternative versions of various tales and episodes within the Buddhist tradition, many of which are absent from Pali literature altogether 1 .

In the Commentary to the Suppavasa Sutta (2.8) it is said Koliyaputta was the son (putta) of the Koliyan king. However, this is anachronistic as the Koliyans, like the Sakyans their neighbours, formed a republic during the lifetime of the Buddha. As Suppavasa herself is designated Koliyadhlta (‘a Koliyan daughter’), this might then give the impression that they were brother and sister instead of husband and wife! The word putta (as also dhita) when used as a suffix to a name, here and elsewhere, seems to mean 'a member of, ‘belonging to’ or ‘one born in’, a certain family or clan, rather than the ‘son’ or ‘child’ of a particular person. It is used especially by khattiya clans such as the Koliyans and Sakyans in whose republic-states 3 there was a legislative assembly ( sahgha ) of leading members, heads of families. These members are called rajas, whilst the other

2 I disagree now with my observation in the introduction to the Udana translation 'p.8) that. The Udana is an anthology, many pieces being taken from elsewhere in the Pali Canon . . which is misleading. Neither the Mahaparinibbana Suttanta nor the Udana can be pointed to as the original source for those suttas they have in common.

3 These are either truly tribal, ruled by the elected ciders of a council, or republican slates governed by an aristocratic (Le. Uwmya-born) oligarchy.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

male members of the clan were the puttas or rajaputtas, the ‘sons’ of the rajas. That the Buddha was a rajaputta would not necessarily mean that he was a ‘prince’ as the later tradition ( would have it, the son of King Suddhodana, but merely that he* was a member of the Sakyan clan. He was a Sakyaputta or Rajaputta, that is, he belonged to a clan or tribe that was governed by an assembly of rajas .; a Rajput tribe in modern parlance. A remnant of such a tribe, the Forest Rajputs, still existed in recent times in the foothills of the Himalayas on the , borders of Nepal. Their origin had much in common with the ancient traditions recorded in Pili, literature of the origin of the Sakyans, whose home was that very same region.

This system of government of the Koliyans and Sakyans is also reflected in the heavenly worlds with the distinction between ‘devas’ and ‘devaputtas’. The leader of the devas, the devaraja of the Tavatimsa (the ‘Assembly of the Thirty-three’) reveals in the name of ‘Sakka’ his connection with the Sakyans. Possibly he was originally a tribal god, hero or ancestor, who in later times came to be identified with the Indo-Ariyan thunder-god, Indra. Because of this tribal connection it is appropriate that Sakka should have become the special patron and protector of the Buddhadhamma, the teaching of the Great Sage ( [[[mahamuni]] ) Sakyaputta Gotama, .the Sakyamuni, the Sage of the Sakyans. The devas, it may be gathered, lived an idyllic existence as rajas, in aristocratic or ‘regal’ splendour, attended by retinues of devaputtas, celestial maidens ( devakahhd ) or devadhitas (the ‘daughters’, also called acchara or nymphs), musicians ( gandhabba ), etc. Here, as in the human world which it mirrors, there is to be seen the transition in the actual meaning of the term raja, from the original tribal/republican connotation to the idea of ‘kingship’, the single rule of a

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) . Ireland

maharaja, when kingdoms replaced the tribal territories.

i References to devatas or devaputtas belonging to ‘a Tavatimsa company’ (Jdvatirpsa-kdyikd devata) may be taken to mean referring to this heaven as organised into presumably | thirty-three companies or divisions. Each of these are headed

I by a ‘deva’ as the leader which, like that of the overall leader

! Sakka himself, is an office held by that deva and who is I; replaced upon his decease. The term ‘devaputta’ then refers to

the other members of the various companies under the

leadership of a particular deva. These companies also resemble !; military battalions and are so employed in the mythical warfare that takes place betwden the devas and the asuras. As well as this warrior Ikhattiya ethos, the Tavatimsa is characterised by its sensual delights which here reach unsurpassed heights of indulgence and" perfection.

In the Udana (3.7) there is a reference to Sakka’s consort, Suja the asura maiden. In 3.2 Sakka is revealed being ministered to by five hundred beautiful pink-footed nymphs C acchara ,) or the Kakuta-padani, literally, ‘the Dove-footed Ones’, referring to their delicacy and complexion, rather than any bird-like characteristics. Some texts (e.g. the Burmese 4 ) have kukkuta - (‘chicken’), instead of kakuta - (‘dove’). In the Commentary (UdA, p.172) it is stated that their feet were of a reddish or pinkish colour ‘like the feet of a pigeon’ ( parapata-pada-sadisa ), whilst the PTS edition of the Udana reads padini instead of padanl - the only reference to these nymphs, in the Sutta Pitaka, making the correct reading difficult to ascertain.

4 Khuddakanikaya I, Chaithasangayana ed. 1956.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

i - Some other words and phrases of interest in the Udana are the following:

sabbattha ekarattiparivasa (1.10). This seems to-mean ‘staying one night at each place (upon the journey)’. However, the Commentary takes it to mean ‘taking (but) one night to complete the journey’, despite sabbattha which ought to mean ‘everywhere’, ‘each place’.

In 1.10 also occurs the phrase gavi tarunavaccha: ‘a cow accompanied by a young calf. This should pose no particular problem, except that Woodward mistranslated the sentence, implying that Bahiya (and also Suppabuddha in 53) was killed b.y ‘a calf instead of ‘a cow with a calf*, the latter being more plausible. Normally gentle and inoffensive, a cow can be dangerous and unpredictable when she has a young calf to protect. Woodward’s- mistake seems to have gone unnoticed for it is found repeated in books and articles by other authors when referring to the deaths of Bahiya and Suppabuddha. Pukkusati (M 140) and TambadSthika (DhA II 203f.) were'also similarly .killed by cows, the former by a cow rushing to protect her calf according to the Commentary (MA V 62).

Janapadakalytyl (3.2) meaning ‘the loveliest in the land* is taken by the Commentary to be the personal name of the Sakyan girl with whom Nanda is infatuated, rather than merely descriptive. One feels the Commentary is stretching a point here but it had to fit the manifestly late and absurd tale of

5 Fi.. Woodward. Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon II: Verses of Uplift, PTS 1935. pJl.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

N’anda’s going forth as found in DhA.

In 3.9 occurs a list of crafts. The fifth is muddasippa: communicating by gestures. The Commentary is of little help,

merely adding ‘hand gestures’. Woodward’s explanation of it as bargaining by signs or hand-touching employed by merchants 4 is

far-fetched and quite wrong according to the late I.B. Horner in

! a personal communication. Possibly it may have had a military

significance as do the previous crafts, i.e. directing the course of

the battle by signalling commands. T.W. Rhys Davids’ proposal that lokayata means ‘nature lore’ has been disposed of by Jayatilleke who has shown that it originally meant ‘the art of debate’ as a branch of brahminica! learning 7 . Lokayata came to < mean materialism at the time of the Pali commentators and,

t outside Buddhism, it is also used as a term for materialism. It is

• so described in Haribhadra’s Saddarsanasamuccaya (8th cent.

C.E.) and in the Vedantin Mahadeva’s Sarvadarsanasamgraha (14th cent.). There are two distinct readings of the final craft mentioned: (1) khattavijja: political science or statecraft, the craft of the ruling or warrior class ( khattiya ); (2) khettavijja): the knowledge of, or the ability to locate, suitable sites for building upon. There is also a possible reading of

nakhattavijja (astrology).

Most translations of the verse beginning abhutavadi nirayam upeti (4.8; also found in Dhp 306 and It. 48), render this line: ‘The liar goes to hell’. However, this does not clearly differentiate the subject from the person of the next line. That

6 Woodward, ibid^ p38, ti2.

1 JCN. Jayatilleke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge , London 1963, p.48f

Buddhist Studies Review 9 f 2 (1992) - Ireland

the . verse should be translated as:

The false accuser goes to hell

And he who denies the deed he did ...’ is suggested by the story of SundarlVmurder (also fouifd in DhpA) and also the prose of It 48.

In 5.9 occurs the phrase saddayam&narupa, ‘making an uproar’, in the PTS edition of the text. However, on consulting the various readings noted by the texts, none of the Mss used in its preparation actually has this reading. Paul Steinthal, the PTS editor, apparently took saddaya- from the Commentary which gives this as an alternative, possibly because he considered his Ms reading meaningless. These various readings are: padhaya-, pat hay a-, vadhdya-, saddhdya-. More recent Oriental printed editions of the text are of little help in resolving the problem. The Burmese edition has sadhaya -, as does the Nalanda edition*, and this may be equated with padhaya -, because sa and pa are similar in the Brahml script and easily confused. There is a verb sadh - (Skt. srdh-) meaning ‘abuse’, which ought to give the Pali present indicative saddhati , not sadhatP. The Udana Commentary'® gives the reading vadhdya-, meaning ‘harm’, ‘injury*, but ‘harm by verbal abuse’, which seems to be what is intended, would be a peculiar use of the word. To establish the correct form of the text is a complicated problem and cannot be resolved with the material available.

Parulha-kaccha-nakha-loma: ‘with long-grown nails and hair’

| Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

(6.2). Woodward translated as ‘with long nails and hairy 

I armpits’ (‘Verses of Uplift’, p.78), and at Kindred Sayings I

| (p.104) it appears as ‘with hairy bodies and long nails’. There

I seems to be uncertainty as to the meaning and derivation of

t kaccha, as either ‘marshy land’, ‘the long grass’, etc, growing in

| such a place, or‘a hollow’such as‘an armpit’, etc. 11 . The whole

5 ; phrase appears to imply being unkempt, dirty, sweaty and smelly

j; (‘hairy = sweaty armpits, caked with dust’, eta 12 ). Later in the

i sutta the king says, *... when they have washed off the dust and

r mud, are well-bathed and perfumed, and have trimmed their , hair and beards ...’, which seems to support this interpretation.

i Kohco khirapako va ninnagatp (8.7). I translate!, ‘as a i fully-fledged heron leaves the marshy ground’. However, r khirapako- actually means ‘milk-fed’, i.e, ‘a sucklingf-calf)* and i: seems hardly appropriate for a bird, although possibly it could l prefer to a fledgling being fed with regurgitated food by its i parents, but far-fetched. The Commentary (UdA, p.427) refers to the notion of certain birds (heron, goose or swan, eta) having the ability to separate milk from water, leaving the water behind (ninnaga = udaka). Another possibility is that kohea is not a heron at all, but an'elephant. See PED J koncct n . trumpeting (of elephants; also the sounds made by certain water-birds that are similar, cf Milindapanha chap 6, *. . . an elephant’s sound is like a heron’s’), kohe’a = koheandda (kuheanada ). kohea / kuhea / kuhja / kuhjarcc. an elephant

8 Khuddakanikaya L Nalanda Devanagari Pali Series, Bihar Government, 1959.

9 Private communication from KJL Norman, Cambridge.

10 Both PTS, and Simon Hewavitarne Bequest ed. 1920.

11 Cf PED kacchJ- l \ kacchiP\ also kacchantara, upakaccha, and Ski. kaccha, kaksa, kaca.

12 This interpretation was suggested to the writer by the late Ven. H. Saddhatissa.

Buddhist Studies Review 9, 2 (1992) - Ireland

However, it seems best to accept the commentarial explanation j. here. Although it has not been possible to locate the concept of | the milk-drinking heron elsewhere in - any Pali work, it is a j

known convention in Sanskrit literature 13 . It is used as a simile •

for accepting the good but rejecting the bad, thus: ‘He takes the f good utterances (away from the bad) as the goose takes milk from water’ (Mahabharata I 69JO) and, The royal goose drinks j‘ mi|k, (but) avoids water’ (Subha$itaratnakosa, 1374). Therefore, | the Udana passage should be amended to translate as: *(the wise | man . . . abandons evil) as the milk-drinking heron leaves the g water behind’ 14 . However, the substitution of ‘heron’ for the | more usual ‘goose’ (or ‘swan’) does leave the suspicion that this | interpretation may not be entirely correct. Perhaps it would be > going too far to consider this as another example of the Pali redactor’s subtle humour!

Sutta 8.6. betrays its lateness by the prophecy about Pajaliputta (modern Patna) put into the mouth of the Buddha, . concerning its future greatness when it was to become the j capital of Magadha and the centre of the Aspfcan empire. The sudden introduction of the name Pftyaliputta itself, and also the explanation calling one of the entrances to the city the Gotama

13 Th»t this wis t widespread belief is substantiated by the fact that it is actually mentioned in a 9th cent. Chinese (Tang Dynasty) Buddhist source. Afer hearing a report of a conversation with the Ch*an master Huang-po, another remarks. ‘That swan , is able to extract the pure milk from the adulterated mixture . . .’ 0. Blofeld, The Zen Teaching of Huang Po, London 1958, pJOl).

This information and the references were supplied by K.R. Norman in a personal communication.

Gate, look very much like a late interpolation.

In conclusion, a word should be added regarding the text and translation of the Udana. The PTS edition is in a very unsatisfactory state. It was prepared by P. Steinthal in 1885 from three Mss (two Sinhalese and a Burmese), all containing many defects. An attempt was made to improve the text by F.. Windisch who produced a list of alternative readings 15 . This list was subsequently further improved and added to by F.L. Woodward when he made his edition of the Commentary (1925). Despite these attempts, the fact is that there is still much left to be desired in the text and what is really needed is a completely new edition to replace Steinthal. There are now in existence several Oriental printed editions; such as that contained in the Burmese Chatthasangayana edition of the Tipi^aka (1956), that are more satisfactory or at least ‘readable’ compared with many portions of the PTS text. This Burmese edition, the NalandS Devanagarl edition and the Sinhalese Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series edition were consulted by the present writer in preparing his translation of the Udana. The initial purpose of this translation was to ‘improve upon’ Woodward’s 1935 versionv(‘Verses of Uplift’) which is unsatisfactory in many respects. However, I have refrained from being overtly critical of Woodward’s work for, although many of the errors in his translation have been corrected, this new translation has produced a new crop of errors. These were discovered only subsequent to publication and hopefully may be corrected in a future edition.

15 ‘Notes on the Edition of the Udana’, JPTS 1890, pp.9l-108.


Nissim Cohen

The purpose of this 'note' is twofold: first, to provide up- to-date material on the parallels to the PSli Dha*mmapada (Dhp) and between the various Dharmapadas, as well as comments on their relative antiquity; second, to develop a thesis on the origin of the Dhp, hinted at elsewhere*, and which is basad on con¬ textual and literary evidence. It may stimulate further investi¬ gations on this matter and, if carried out by more able resear¬ chers, the outcome may prove fruitful and our knowledge concern¬ ing the origin of the Pali Dhp stanzas enriched.

1. The Dhp is, admittedly, the most widely translated and read of the canonical texts. Notwithstanding its popularity, the greater part of the research work done so far gravitates, with

a few exceptions, towards the parallels to the Dhp and the simi¬ larities between the various extant Dharmapadas, to the exclusion of other linguistic and literary studies. One of the most out¬ standing contributions in the field of contemporary studies in recent years is the work published by Professor K. Mizuno 2 ; more Important still, his research has helped to resolve the question of the antiquity of the Dhp in relation to the Dharmapadas of other schools. My aim in this section is to produce complemen¬ tary material, based on my own studies,and in a systemised manner to comment on the relative age of these texts.

Usually, editors and translators supply references to other texts. However, besides the inconvenience of being scattered throughout the texts, these references are sometimes incomplete and even misleading 3 . The author of this article has, in recent years, surveyed the Pali canonical and non-canonical texts as well as Dharmapada texts for parallels to tha Dhp, trying to discover and identify additional similarities or parallels. The outcome is presented here in the form of Tables I-III*.

To my knowledge, this is the most complete inventory of the Dhammapada’s parallels so far published 5 . It. will also be noted that the canonical texts have been divided into two groups, CANON¬ ICAL TEXTS-I (CT-I) comprising those texts whose final composi-

tion dates are considered, by certain scholars, to be earlier than or, in a few cases (Udana, Itivuttaka?), contemporary with the Dhp. In CANONICAL TEXTS-II (CT-II) have been included texts which are, in all probability, later than Dhp.

A question that may arise in this connection is why the Jata- kas have been listed as non-canonical. It is well known that there is still no consensus as to what should be cop? idered as canonical in the Jatakas, and what as commentarial literature.

As our concern here is to define the probable sources of the Dhp verses, it should suffice to mention that we have the testi¬ mony of the Jatakas proper which, in some cases,, state clearly that the verses have been pointed out by the Buddha from the Dhp and not the other way round (for example, Ja I 76, 132 ; II 441; III 73, 3J3) 6 .*

Let me now present some remarks related to the work of Prof, Mizuno and^ the editors of other Dharmapada texts on this topic. According to Mizuno, in the Pali canonical texts there are alto¬ gether 137 gathas (non-repetitive), and in the non-canonical

  • • texts, J9 in all 7 . It will be seen from the ‘Table I-Summary:

Sources and Parallels to the Pali Dhammapada Verses' that I have found these numbers to be 123 and 60 respectively; however, as he does not give exact references, no further comment is possible here (incidentally, in his reckoning he does not include the VimSnavatthu). We see in tl\,c table that the total number of single Dhp stanzas traceable to the canonical texts are 110, if CT-I only is cqnsidered; this is about 26% of the total.

J. Brough, in his The Candharx Dharmapada (GDhp), states that 'Of. 350 Prakrit stanzas, between 225 and 2 30 are shared with the Dhammapada* 8 . This figure is higher by about 31% from that in Table I (177) and may be attributed, first, to the errors found in his identification and reckoning of the parallels as registered in Concordance II (p.287): about two dozen partial stanzas (one, two or three lines) have been considered as exact equivalents to Pali Dhp; second, to the inclusion, in this reckon— ing, of fragmentary stanzas whose equivalence to the Dhp cannot be asserted. The manuscript of the GDhp contains quite a tew fragmentary stanzas of one and, to a lesser extent, two lines.

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

similar to the Pali Dhp. Further, Brough assumes (p.23), based on the proportions in the surviving Prakrit, the text to have shared between 350 and 360 verses with the Dhp, We may safely state that, in view of the former considerations, this figure could not be higher than 250.

In his translation of the Tibetan version of the Udanavarga 9 , Rockhi11 identified 306 parallels with Dhp (which, deducting the* fev: errors found, becomes 297). I identified seven : more. Brough, in his GDhp (p.23, n.l), noted just over 50 others which are no| included in the tables of Rockhill - a figure that seems t^o high.

Dharmapada text; in mixed Sanskrit, brought from Tibet and deposited at the Bihar Research Society of Patna, has been edited twice, more or less simultaneously: The Patna Dharmapada (PDhp) by C. Roth, and The Huddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dharmapada (BHSDhp) by N.S. Shukla 1 * 1 . The former comprises 415 stanzas, the latter, 4j4; this is due to a difference in the method of arrangement of the verses adopted by the two editors. They mention that ih the colophon of the manuscript the gathas are referred to as being 502 ; a h*int as to a possible explanation to account for this discrepancy may be had, perhaps, by a comparative study of Dhp and PDhp 11 . Roth believes that . PDhp is based on a Prakrit-Pali version which is older than the existing Pali Dhp. Besides, there arc also other differences in the verses


themselves an.d the sequence of their order which exclude the Pali Dhp in its present form as the direct source of PDhp' (p.94). Shukla is of the opinion that the present version of the BHSDhp can have the distinction of being regarded as an earlier Dharma¬ pada: *... The division found in the Pali text and other versions ... indicates that it was at a very late stage that these texts gained a streamlined form, and for this purpose they must have depended * on one common base' (p.viil). I do not know whether the author carried out his intended study which would prove the anteriority of this text; meanwhile, Mlzuno has given us a com¬ parative study of the Dharmapadas, wherein this matter is discus¬ sed and an attempt made to prove the anteriority of the Pali Dhp in relation to other Dharmapadas 12 .

Origin of Dhamraapada Verses

Another way of . looking at this problem of anteriority, or,; one that could give us the chronology of compilation of thes< texts., would be to pick up a doctrinal issue and examine ho*, it is tackled in them. As an example, let us take the case oi the Arahant. The Dhp has an Ara/ranta v'aaya, verses tin

term is expressly mentioned only in stanza 98. PDhp has equiva

lent stanzas, not grouped together, but scattered throughou

different chapters; its parallel verse 245 also mentions i iu term a rahanto* Udanavarga has, instead, i i e term, a r y j (XXIX. IS 5

1 in it we find only five out of ten stanzas. The GDhp has noru

J of- these stanzas. We may, therefore, try to establish tiu chtono

j ' logy of these texts, based on the historical evolution oi iht

ideal of perfect man, which started with that ol Arahatusnip turned out to be an issue of controversy some time after chi

Parinibbana of the Buddha, and ended with the emergence of th.

ideal of the Bodhisaitva in Mahay ana schools. The orde: wu 1 be: Dhp PDhp (or PDhp -> Dhp) Ud ODhp, which is slight 1 different from that given by Mizuno, viz. Dhp PDhp GDhp urther help for the establishment of the relative c hvono.|*'*g of the Dharmapadas may be found in the uuJdhu vj , vv, i ?'■> 196* CDhp has parallels to only two of them i I b 2 , 193); signif: cantXy enough, vv. 188-192 , which deal with the Threefold Refugr are absent in it. There are no parallels to w, I v> - *- : r. a:

of the Dharmapadas (on these, see later). We thus have coutnrr. tion of the chronology we tried to establish above

As to the parallels found in PDhp-BHSDhp, my tompa i a i :v<• ; .

of the texts shows these to total 285 - a figure diiteiest *: that found In the references of both, edited texts, due i errors and omissions contained therein which will not be (Gdu ted on tfere. Since the former text is very akin to Dhp. expect the divisional structure of the stanzas, which are para lels to Dhp, to be similarly related in its edited fort. - vhi is not always the case. For instance, PDHp 2 3 — 26 have, respe tively, 6-4-4-4 padas; rearrangement into 4-4-A-6 pSdas vou

make 23 and 24 the exact parallels to Dnp 31, 327, and 1 i

a partial parallel to Dhp 27

134 Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

The edition of BHSDhp contains two oddities worth mentioning: BHSDhp 247 and 260 contain seven and five pldas respectively - a unique instance in all the Dharmapadas. BHSDhp 204 is an extra stanza not found in PDhp - and yet both editors used the same manuscript. It remains to be mentioned that*. BHSDhp 203, 204 * Dhp 131, 132, and that these two stanzas form a complete

pair, that is are complementary in their contents^.

2. The view that the Dhammapada is an anthology of verses culled from various Buddhist texts has been prevalent since the last century***. No evidence whatsoever has been put forward to sus¬ tain this view except pointing to the parallels existing in the'canonica1 texts, which, as we have just seen above, account for only about 26% of the verses. As to the rest of the missing parallels, the opinion has been expressed lately that '... the other two-thirds seems to have been collected from losing [sic] sutras' 17 . Mizuno invokes, among other things, the testimony of Chinese authors (who expressed a vie# many centuries later than the events we are evaluating) as support for his opinion of ‘losing sutras*. (Curiously, a statistical argument against this thesis comes to mind: the above-mentioned 26% of stanzas are scattered throughout 25 volumes of texts in the PTS edition: with the same proportion of dispersion in view, the remaining 71% of stanzas would have to be scattered throughout 71 volumes of supposedly lost suttas - a mass of texts larger than the Tipi- taka itself 1 ).

I will try now to present some evidence which, I hope, will show that Dhp is an original work, and that we have no need to look for its verses elsewhere. When we scrutinise the earlier

and later texts of the Theravada school, we ascertain that no tradition related to any 'lost' texts has been handed down; nei¬ ther can it be inferred from the literature of other schools

wfiich are offshoots of the Sthaviras. Quite the contrary, the canonical as well as the extra-canonical accounts indicate that

the whole of the Buddha's teachings as then known to his immedi¬

ate disciples and remembered by them, has been rehearsed and recorded 18 . In the Vinaya of the Dharmaguptas (a branch of the Sarvastivadlns), in the passage about the First Council, among

Origin of Dhammapada Verses

the texts said to have been rehearsed a 'Dharmapada Sutra’ is

mentioned . Although it is unlikely that Dhp existed at the time in its present form, nonetheless it does point to it as an independent work of equal status to other suttas (see later on).

The testimony of the Jatakas - that they drew on the stanzas of Dhp - has already been mentioned above. It is worth noting that, in those Instances at least, the verses have no equivalents in the canonical texts except in the Dhp - additional evidence for the thesis proposed here. It is plausible to suppose that, should these verses have been found in other (later lost) suttas at the time, the compilers of the Ja would not have failed to indicate it*. It may‘also be observed from the tables that other non-canonical texts Include stanzas from Dhp which have no paral¬ lels in the -suttas. Another very significant fact is that about 2 34 stanza or 55% of the total, are not mentioned at all in any of the main texts of Pali or Sanskrit literature.

A thorough analysis of Dhp stanzas not found in the canonical texts (CT) would supply very instructive internal evidence as to their originality. Let me present a small sample of these;

- vv.1-2: manomaya. This term or expression is employed in the CT: (a) as an attribute of the form/nature of the devas, ’mind- made or 'made of/by mind' (M I 419; A III 122, etc.); b) as a psychic power acquired by the disciples of the Buddha as the result of roeditational practices, whereby, among other things, the ability is imparted to create 'mind-made' forms or bodies (M II 17; A I 24. etc.) As a psychological term, corresponding to its meaning in the present verses ('consisting of mind, pro¬ duced by mind, mind-made'), it is not found in the Tipitaka. To Brough this term 'seems only to imply a Vijnanavada view', with which Mizuno agrees 20 . It is significant enough that these verses appear in the MahakarmavibhaAga (Sarv3stivadin text), but not in the equivalent older MahakammavibhaAga Sutta (M, Ho. 136).No less important is the fact that none of the approximately 12 stanzas- in Dhp in which the term mana appears is traceable

to any canonical text. As we know, this term comes into promi-

2 1

nencee in the abhidhammic literature

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

- vv.19*20: sahiiam. Generally translated as 'scriptureV f 'scrip¬ tural text', 'sacred text'; in this acceptance it is not found in CT-I 22 .

- v,25s 09 / 10 , In its literal sense of 'flood', it is unlikely to be found in CT, but appears in later texts (Vva 48, etc,).

- v,2V: almlassam. ‘Weak horse*. A;, expression that seems to be peculiar to Dhp (* dubbulassam DhA I, 262 , both given in CPD and tPTSD)•

v.301 Mayltova . A title of Sakka quite common in the Jat;*kas;

but it lie not met with in CT except indirectly when the

Buddha bays that Sakka, who visited him, and whose conversation Is recorded in the Sakkapanha Sutta, was also known as Maghava'*\

Vv.44-5: $ iamaloka. This expression is not found in CT, but is quite frequent in comacntarlal literature (PvA 33, 107, etc.),

- v.47: •aho 9 ho. See the remarks to ogho above (examples: Vism 5125 VvA 110, DhA II 274, etc.).

~ ^«70: kusagga , 'the point of a blade of grass'. Found in later literature (VvA 73; PvA 254, etc.). ‘ v

vv.97, 383: okjtonnu, 'knowing the uncreated/not made'CNibba- ha?) (Nd I 237). In this sense, it seems peculiar^ Dhp.

149* alapun cvn t 'gourd*. Brough (p.226) .says that 'the spelling with a -p- is probably a late pedantry.'

vv. 157*166: atta vacga 'On Self', The stanzas of this chapter do not have parallels in CT*I.

7 V.171: rSjoraUiupamam (rd jamthu ) . I could not find this term in CT-I.

v.218: anokkhStc, Usually thought to designate Nlbbana, is translated as 'Undeclared*, 'Ineffable*, etc. We will meet this word in three places in Hajjhima Nikaya (I 331; III 8 , 15), al¬ ways in its primary meaning of the ragular verb 'to tell, show, •point,* etc.) The above designation is, clearly, indicative of a later period. (The occurrences of this word in other canonl- cei texts always reflect the regular meaning.)

302: addhagu. Only in Thr 55 and Ja III 95. In S l 212 its form is ptnthagu .

v.322: Sindhavj ( a thoroughbred horse). Unknown in-~CT; men¬ tioned with some frequency in*Ja (I 175; II 96; III 278,'etc.).

- v.324; Dhanapalai.o (elephant's name). Only known to Ja (I

Origin of Dhamraapada Verses

66; III 293, etc.). According to Ja No.533, the famous elephant Nalagiri, after its conversion by the Buddha, came to be known as Dhanapalako (keeper of treasure).

- v.351: bbavasallo, ‘acebiddi bha va sa11 ani* ('who has cyt the thorns of existence'). No other instance of this expression has been observed in CT. In talitavistara 550, the Buddha is called mahaialyaharta 'the great remover of thorns'.

We could add to this sho't list the enigmatic vv. 294-5 - they eem to be tinged with a non-Buddhist colour; they resist any elucidation, despite the fair effort of the Commentaries to un¬ tangle their complexities by ascribing a symbolic meaning to

the words

A more profound contextual study of Dhp, if cairied out, could be expected to reveal additional clues to -Its ' originality . Ano¬ ther helpful source for the determination of the age of Dhp Is! its metrical structure. A.K. Warder, in his Pali Metre, deals extensively with this subject^. To sum up, '... Of the large collections we can say only that some of them contain a prepon¬ derance of older... or later (e.g. Dhp) texts... '(p.fc); ‘Dhp verses represent quite a long period of composition, overlapping some of the... [[[Wikipedia:canonical|canonical]]} texts...' (p.173). He calculates this to have occurred in the Hauryan Period, 300-200 a.C. (p. 225), The present writer has been working on a study ot the Pali metre in Dhp. Preliminary results indicate that the above , time span could be stretched backwards, at least, one century more (fifth to third century B.C.). The hypothesis that a Dhamma- pada text might have existed at the time of the First Council should not be discarded. If so, it would have been a short an* thology of verses that gradually expanded during the whole pe¬ riod of formation of the Canon itself, as reflected In its dif¬ ferent metres and their variants and some linguistic peculiari¬ ties, before it received its final polished form as ve have it now.

Indeed, it is possible to distinguish between three historical periods in the composition of Dhp: the earliest period is repre¬ sented by a small kernel of stanzas which, probably, originate with the Buddha's time. It Is characterised by ideas which con Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

stLtuted early Buddhism, such as (1) the unsettled, ereraetical life of a recluse (which prototype is the ’Rhinoceros* of Sn): 49. 90-92, 305, 395?; (2) emphasis on meditationa1 and allied

subjects: 209, 202 , 372 ; (3) contempt for the body: 146, 148-

50 (these develop the idea expressed in v.147, M* II 64); (4) doctrinal issues: 273-5, 277-9; (5) self-reliance/efforts, Tatha- gatas are only teachers, etc.: 158, 165, 166?, 276; (6) on the qualities of the (ideal) bhikkhu: 31, 360-1, 365-8; (7) associa¬ tion with virtuous ones: 207, 208, 375; (8) on the ideal of Nib-

bana: 2 3 , 75, 12 6 , 369 ; (9) qualities of the followers of the

Way: 57, 81-2, 296-301; (10) definition of a samana, recluse:

391;, (11) reverence to those who can make known the Dhamma: 391- 2*; (12) exhortations to laymen and bhikkhusi 53 , 283; (13) utter¬ ances of the Buddha, made after his Enlightenment: 153-4, 353.

The intermediate (pre-Mauryan) period, to which appertain about two-thirds of the stanzas; this is the formative period of the co-callcd 'primitive' text on which drew all the Dharma- padas, including Dhp.

During the last (mid-Mauryan) period, additional stanzas (40- 50?) were composed or incorporated into Dhp. During this same period occurred the first senism in the Sangha; and the final

redaction of Dhp, in the form we have it' now, probably took place around Asoka’s time. Due to the pressure and Influence of the

rival sects, the Sthaviras (or Theravadins) made efforts to popu¬ larise the Buddhist teachings. Accordingly, there is nothing in these latest stanzas about the fundamental tenets of the Bud¬ dha's teaching; the emphasis is on morality in general, on the fruits of kamma based on bad or good actions, on happiness in

this life and rebirth in heaven after death, echoes of the schis¬ matic discussions, etc. Some of the themes, briefly, are: (1) on the states of woe and bliss, on heaven and death, on the fruits ofr kamma: 17-18, 127-8, 174, 219-20, 237-8. 319 (this last com¬ plementary to vv.316-18); (2) on good and bad behaviour: 62,

129, 137-40, 247-8, 2 70, 340, 349, 355, 360; (3) association

with good friends: 78; (4) on the virtuous and wise: 95, 145 (cf. v.80), 347, 350-1; (5) on the fruit of a stream-winner,

longing for Nibbana: 178, 218; (6) echoes of the schismatic dis¬

cussions, criticism or complaints of other sects' behaviour,

Origin of Dhammapada Verses

5 etc.; 164, 195-6, 254-8, 268-9; (7) on the difficulty of renunci-

j ation: 302; (8) on.happiness and suffering: 202; (9) exhortations

| to bhikkhus: 343, 379, 381 ; (10) on the gift of Dhamma: 354 (one

of Asoka's inscriptions reads: 'There is no gift that can equal

l the gift of Dharma')^ 6 ; (11) the stanza (324) already mentioned

j above on Dhanapalako. Due to their late composition, these stan-

i as, with a few exceptions, could not be expected to have paral-

| leIs in canonical or non-canonical Pali or Sanskrit literature.

The metre in the older stanzas is, approximately: vatta, normal (pa thy a ) - 66%; vatta, mixed - 30%; tutthubha - 4%. In the last- period stanzas, the metre is: vatta (pat/iya) - 44%, vatta, mixed - 23%; tutthubha - 8% va 1 1 a-1 u 11 hubha - 2%; mattjc/iuiuids - 2 3%.

(The existence of a Targe quantity of the new metre mattachandas is very significant.)

Based on such contextual and literary evidence as above, I am induced to believe that the Pali Dhammapada is an original work and not a mere < ollection of canonical verses. The author ^‘or authors made use of some stanzas, culled from the CT, as seem¬ ed appropriate to the objectives and themes of the text. It may be adduced, in favour of this proposition, that original anthologies were not a novelty at the time - TheragathS and Therl- gatha are two such examples. As Dhp was a didactic and Imperson¬ al work, it had to maintain in anonymity the name(s) of the au-

thor(s) in line with canonical tradition . This point, obvious-

ly t will have to be investigated further; my aim here has been

to draw the attention of other researchers to the problem of the Dhammapada's origin which has not yet received serious consi¬ deration.

Wissim Cohen (Upasaka Dhammasari)

Sao Paulo, Brazil

Acknowledgements: The author wishes to express his appreciation to Mr K.R. Norman for his contribution in indicating the parallels to Dhp in the Culanid- desa, and to Mr R. Webb for his continued encouragement during the preparation of this article.


1 A few years ago* after 1 had* drawn my conclusion concerning the second

Bucdhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

pirt of this article, I came across this passage: 'This is an anthology which dfcew on the more original parts of the SOtra and added further verses to ‘it f *(A.K. Warder, Indian buddhism, rev. ed., Delhi 1980, p.279). I take it to imply the same idea and so do not lay claim to originality.*

fit Mizuno, 'Dharmapadas of Various Buddhist Schools* (Studies in Pali and buddhism, cd. A.K. Narain, Delhi 1979) and *A Comparative Study of Dharmapadas*

1 Buddhist Studies in Honour of liammalava SaddhStissa, ed. G. Dhammapala et al., Nugcgoda 1984). In these articles, additional bibliography is included.

, ivintend to prepare, in the future, a list of these errors and submit them to any publishers interested in correcting them in new editions.

A siUf*.le Pali text, Apaddna, was not available to me for verification

astoihc presence of Dhp verses. However, wc would expect not more than

one or two parallels in it.

To render the tabulated statistical data more complete, in addition to Parallels of integral verses, parallels of partial stanzas found in the old canomicai texts arc also Included: 4^ and 5 pSdas cut of six-line stanzas;

2 amd J pldis out of four-line stanzas. v

There is evidence, however, to show that tho composition of some of the verses of Ja extended over a long period, overlapping that of Dhp.

See 'Dharmapadas of Various Buddhist Schools*, op. pit., p.258.

Brough (ed.), The candhdrl Dharmapada, London 1962, p.20.

W.U.Eockhlll (tr.), Uddnavarga, London 1883, repr, Taipei 1972 and New DfcH|i 1982#

h.S. Shukla (ed.). The buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dharmapada, Patna 1979; G. Roth fed.), *Tcxt of the Patna Dharmapada* in The Language of the Earliest Buddhist Tradition, cd. H. Bcchert, Gottingen 1980.

. Unlike CDhp and I’d and considering that SDhp is, in form and text, very akin to Dhp, wc perceive a lacuna where wc would expect to find parallel stanzas. Vv 130-1, 183, 222-3. 260, 278, 297-8 arc examples of this. It

s^r .iodicate that. in reality, the original text contained a larger number of stanzas.

See * A Comparative Study of Dharmapadas', op. cit.

To make it clearer, two distinct historical layers may be detected in lids'the older one, comprising about 300-350 stanzas, drew on the morn 'primi-

Origin of Dhammapada Verses

tlve* text of Dhp. It is this older layer - before it received additions, probably by the hand of Dharmatrata - that I consider older than CDhp.

14 The same may be said of PDhp 37 , 38; PDhp 63; PDhp 193, 194 and 1’Dhp 325, 326, which, rearranged, would make them parallels to Dhp 393, 401, 5*5,

121, 122; and 166 respectively.

15 In all but one case, Shukla follows the same structural division of vm. ', as that of Pali Dhp. The exception is BUS Dhp 63, 64 (4-6 -*■ 6-4 would BHSDhp 63 • Dhp 375 and BHSDhp 64 - Dhp 376 a-c).

T.W.Rhys Davids, The History and literature of Buddhism, repr. Varanasi

1973, pp.32, 45-6. - B.C. Law, A History of Pali Literature , repr. Varanasi

1974, Vol.I, p.214. - M. Wintcrnitz, A History of Indian Literature, repr.

New Delhi 1977, Vol.II. pp.83-4. - K. Mizuno, op. cit., p.256, etc.

17 K. Mizuno, op. cit., p.258. He was able to find no more than 20 addition¬ al gathas in the Chinese sources (p.259); hence his conclusion on lost text, mentioned here.

'In the Pali canon is recorded an interesting tradition in the tore, e: two appendices to the Vinaya-pitaka section (Cjllavayya, Khandhakas XI and «  XII) to the effect that the canon received In this way, by united congregatio¬ nal recital... and the lexts rectified were therefore the only definitive canon of Buddhism. Two famous occasions on which, not pun ions hut .

merely, but the whole of its Dhamma-vi/iaya contents was rehearsed. ..' * *

The Buddha and Five After-Centuries t repr. Calcutta 1978, p.100. The first rehearsal of the Tipitaka is dealt with in many books; sec. ion A. K, Warder, op. cit., p.20I ff.

19 The passage, in full, is given in E.J. Thomas, The History of Buddhist Thought, repr. London 1971, p.270.

20 J. Brough, op. cit., p.243; Mizuno, *A Comparative Study of Dharmapadas’. op. cit, p.172.

21 This w6rd (mananaya) poses a difficulty which seems unsurmountabie: in no place, not even in later commentarial literature, could 1 find a single example of the use of this word in its present meaning. 1 am, therefore, inclined to accept the original word to have been manojava (swift as thought), as in the other Dharmapadas. Contrary to the opinion of Mizuno. 1 do not consider this word 'illogical* within the context of the stanzas; m the words of Brough, 'This reading reflects the ksanika (momentary] nature o: the dharmas...* (p.243).

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1939)

Although I myself translated it as such in my version of Dhp, I am now convinced Lhat the word should be rendered as in the suttas: to the point, coherently, consistently, sensibly.

G.P. Malalasckcra, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, repr. Pali Text Society, London 1974,, p.406.

Some scholars are of the opinion that. Dhp has come to include some sayings


liuddh 1

St at all

. Gee,





Uardcr, PaJi

  1. hablc


of Dhp



behaviour, sec



sch, / nscript ion:>

of .

fir oka ,

repr. Dell


traditional v

i ew


the Sangh.i conci



Dhp has

been expressed


l he

laic Narada


Is preface

lo The Dh


, London 1972,


That the Dhp


Lid have

existed in

its present form

at the time of

the First Council is far from probable, and docs not tally with the evidence at our disposal.

Origin of Bhammapada Verses

1 Included here are all the verses to be found in the texts, Irrespective of whether they are mentioned in more than one text or not.

2 Registered by order of arrangement of canonical texts.

3 Source: The Gandharl Dharmapada, ed. by J.Brough, London 1962. Figure in brackets includes those fragmentary versos which, in all probability, were exact parallels to Pali Dhp in their original form.

4 Based on G. Roth, 'Text of the Patna Dharmapada', in The language of the Earliest Buddhist Tradition , ed. H, Bechert, Cottingen 1980; and The Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Dharmapada, ed. N.S. Shukla, Patna 1979. Source*. Udanavarga, by Dharmatrata (tr. W.W. Rockhill), repr. Taipei 19 72.

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)












Vimjri Pi taka

Snyutti Mikaya


Origin of Dhammapada Verses


Pali Dhp Canonical (CT-II) & Non-Canonical Texts






Origin of Dhammapada Verses pan

Canonical (CT-1I) «.

G5ndh3rT Sanskrit'

Udanavarga Dhp Non-Canonical Texts

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

Pali Canonical (CT-1I) It GSndhSrl Sanskrit UdSnavarga

Dhp Non-Canonical Texts Dhp Dhp* •

Origin of Dhammapada Verse anonical (CT Non-Canonical





Notes: 4 Repetitive verses considered#

Numbering of the stanzas follows that of BHSDhp. See next note.

The verses of PDhp corresponding to BHSDhp.195 through 205 and BHSDhp.24B through 414, are one higher. As a reminder, only the first occurrence is given here,

1 Fragmentary extant stanzas.

2 Different arrangement of the stanzas.

2 Variation in one of the pSda s.

  • Extra stanza in BHSDhp, not found in PDhp.


j K.R. Norman

The Dhammapada is one of the most, perhaps the most, popular of Therav5din Buddhist texts. As evidence of the popularity of texts of the same genre in ancient times we have extant, in part or whole, besides the Pali version, a version in the GBndhart Prakrit perhaps belonging to the Dharmaguptaka school, sections of a Maha- \ saftghika-Lokottaravadin version, a Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit ver-

\ sion (the so-called Patna Dharmapada), three versions of the Udana-

i varga in Sanskrit, a Tibetan version of the bdanavarga, and four

Chinese versions. We can guess that a Dharmapada of some sort

( was probably included in the canons of all the sects of Buddhism

i which have disappeared.

j There are various reasons for this popularity. There are

. those who have rated it among the masterpieces of Indian litera-

ture, although others have disagreed with this judgement. Some

- say that it can be regarded as the most succinct expression of

j the Buddha's teaching found in the Pali Canon, and the chief spir¬

itual testament of early Buddhism. It is (they say) a perfect compendium of the Buddha's teaching, comprising between its covers all the essential principles elaborated at length In the forty- odd volumes of the Pali Canon.

If this is so, then it is perhaps strange that -the Pali Text Society does not at present have an edition of the text in print., nor does it have a translation currently available. When John * Brough, one of the greatest British Sanskrit scholars of this century, had just spent several years producing his study of the Gandharl Dharmapada, and had the whole Dhammapada-related literature at his fingertips, he was asked if he would produce a translation of the Dhammapada for the PTS. He replied: 'I can¬ not. It is too difficult.'

It Is probable that many readers will find this hard to under¬ stand. After all, new translations of the Dhammapada appear al¬ most every year, and there are by now probably forty or more in existence in English alone. What, they may well ask, is so diffi¬ cult about it when so many translators seem to manage it? The thing to notice about most of these new renderings is that thev

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

differ from other translations only in minor details, such as the word order in sentences, or the choice of words which are used to translate specific technical or semi-technical terms.

No translator is ever satisfied with the words which his predeces-

sors have used for such terms as dhamma, asava, nihbuta, etc., and a translator sometimes believes that he has made a better transla¬ tion because he has thought of a different word, without consider¬ ing whether he has obtained a better grasp of the meaning of the phrase or the sentence as a whole. Wc can very often get some idea about translators of the Dhammapada from the way in which they render the word dhamma in the very first verse. We get a broad range of equivalents such as: 'ideas, things, mental states, phenomena of existence, (mental) natures, Knowables*.

An advertisement has recently appeared for a translation in which Dhammapada 1 is rendered as: 'Our life is shaped by our mind; ,we become what we think.*

The intention of the two new translations which have recently appeared^ is to do more than this. They both aim at putting the Dhammapada into a framework and a background - Carter and Paliha- wadana (A CAP) into the framework of the Pali commentarial tradi¬ tion, and Kalupahana (« K) into the background of brahmanical Hindu thought contemporary with the Dhammapada.

Both these translations are to some extent inspired or, rather,

.stimulated by Brough's edition of the Gandharl Dharmapada , and their reaction to him and it is clearly visible. The reason for this is not hard to find. Brough believed that Buddhism had its own share of great art but he politely dissented with those who have rated (the Dhammapada] among the masterpieces of Indian li¬ terature (one wonders what he would have thought of the dust- jacket's statement 'ranks among the classics of the world's great religious literature’). He expressed his view that those who write in this way can hardly have made any serious comparison with great literature; nor could anyone with a sense of literary values describe the whole collection in terms scarcely merited by its best parts, if he had himself lived day and night close enough to those verses for long enough to arrive at an assessment of his own disencumbered of hearsay^. Brough was a poet in his own right, as his translations of Sanskrit poetry show, and his

On Translating the Dhammapada

view should not be disregarded lightly, for religious or other reasons, by those who, almost certainly, have not lived as close to the text as he did for several years while dealing with the Gandharl Dharmapada. On the other hand, it must be agreed.that some of his preferences for particular readings, based upon poetic considerations, are purely subjective and are unlikely to be ac¬ cepted by all.

Brough also shook his head sadly over those who despite all the discoveries of the last 100 years in Gilgit, Chinese Turkestan, and elsewhere, still thought that the Pali version of the Dhamma¬ pada and other canonical texts were the oldest and best. Of his decision to place the verses of the Pali Dhammapada alongside their parallels in the G|ndhari Dharmapada he wrote: '... it must not lead anyone to assume that there is a special degree of kin¬ ship between our'text and the Pali, still less that tne Pali re¬ presents a norm" from which other versions have deviated. Perhaps this last warning is superfluous, since any such theory has long

been obsolete; but 1 am not sure that it is entirely extinct' 4 .

After a brief introduction, dealing with the Buddhist literary tradition in Sri Lanka, problems regarding the received text, and the arrangement of verses in this volume, CAP begin by giving a complete translation of the Dhammapada (pp.13-82). Despite the statement on the (fust-jacket, this is not accompanied by the original Pali of the text, portions of the Commentary (excluding the narrative sections, which are already available in Burlingame's translation) 5 are then translated (pp.87-416). For each verse (or verses, since tue Commentary sometimes puts verses into groups of two or more) they repeat - a rather space-consuming exercise - the translation they have just given, and follow this with the original Pali. The explanatory portion of the Commentary, which follows the verses in the original edition of the Commentary, is then translated. Throughout the compilation there are numbers in square brackets, which presumably **efer to the pages of the edition of the Atthakatha which they are translating. I have searched through the book and cannot find any reference to the source volume, and am therefore unable to identify the edition. Their translation ends with very extensive notes (pp.417-512 ), a bibliography and an index. In the notes they explain where

Buddhist Studies Review 6* 2 (1989)

they are following a reading other than that found in the PTS edition**, and they quote from two medieval Sinhalese commentaries upon the Dhammapada, which give help with the interpretation of Pali terras. The earlier, at least, of these seems to have made use of old Slhala commentaries, now lost.

Their translation of the Dhammapada verses is set out in short lines, approximating to the pada structure of the Pali original. The order of the English words often follows the Pali order close¬ ly, which sometimes lends a somewhat archaic sound to the English, but their version is for the most part clear and straightforward, and one can see exactly how they are construing the Pali. The translation of the Commentary contains many extracts from the Pali original, and the English is expanded wherever necessary to make it intelligible, while the sequence of the comments is sometimes rearranged to make the translation read more smoothly.

It is, however, not always clear why they translate the way they do. In 11 'essential' is contrasted with ' nonessential *, but in 12 with 'superficial*. Only recourse to the Pali reveals that 'nonessential* and 'superficial* are both asara. In 56 they trans¬ late sllavatam as a genitive singular, despite the gloss sllavan- t anam , which they translate correctly, . ^

K begins with *a very extensive (pp.1-75) introduction, in which he develops his thec-ry that the Dhammapada was composed with the Bhagavadglta in mind. It is clear that the Buddha's teaching was Intended to be anti-brahmanical. with his rejection of the atman and vavna serving as the centre of his attack. Since the Bhagavadglta is a brahmanical text, one would expect that work and the Dhammapada to be diametrically opposed about these and other teachings. I cannot, however, see any evidence of the precise parallelism of content and order in the two texts which one woull look for if one wished to prove that the compilers of the Dhammapada actually chose and arranged the verses with the Bhagavadglta in mind.

K then gives (pp.79-U0) the text of the Dhammapada (using Fausbpll's second edition of 1900, but omitting Fausb0ll's some¬ what bizarre metrical emendations). He alludes to minor editorial changes he has made, giving suggestions made by Jayawickrama as his authority. The one Instance he mentions, however, viz. the

reading of noyati (presumably from n * oyati • na uyyati) in place of Fausbdll's no yati [in 179), is actually to be found in the Atthakatha. His translation follows (pp.113-53), and the notes (pp.157-92) and an index of Pali terms (pp.193-221) conclude the volume.

Despite the facts that C&P include all the grammatical com¬ ments from the Atthakatha and quote from two other commentaries, and their translation and that of K are both heavily annotated, these two translations of the Dhammapada (as I have already sug¬ gested) differ ^little from those already available. Although K states specifically (p.ix) that he thought that it was time for a new translation because the interpretation of the philosophy of the Dhammapada given by Radhakrishnan 7 (* R) In his translation had survived too long, his debt to R is especially evident, with occasional pSdas identical with his version. He sometimes agrees with R in interpreting the Pali in a way which cannot be justified without comment, e.g. viveke yattha duramam (87) translated *at a solitary freedom so hard to enjoy’, (R: *that retirement so hard to love'), which seems to assume that viveke is in agreement with duramam*, and dhlro ca sukhasajjivaso (207) translated as.'the amiable company of the sagacious ones' (R: 'association with the wise is... happiness'), which may be correct, but only if dfclro is taken as something other than a nominative singular. Where K differs from R in philosophical interpretation, it is more in the exegesis In the notes than In the actual translation. *

He occasionally departs from R’s translation,- sometimes cor¬ recting his mistakes, e.g. anivesano in 40 correctly translated^ 'free from attachment* instead of R's 'attached to it', and vive- kam anubruhaye in 75 translated as 'cultivate detachment' in place of R's 'strive after wisdom*. Sometimes there is no apparent reason for his change, and as his command of English is not of the same standard as R's, the results are occasionally somewhat opaque. It is not immediately obvious what one is meant to under¬ stand by: 'Neither a mother nor a father nor. other relatives vi'll do that (whereby) a rightly directed thought will make him one superior to it* (43); or 'even unto one there -nought is oneself' (62); or 'An ignorant man who is conceited as a wise one, he in¬ deed, is called an ignoramus' (63); or 'taking upon this refuge*

158 Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989) /

(189, 192).

K’s translation has other oddities, which are possibly based upon confusion of forms. He translates vannagandbam in 49 as ’colorful' and we may suspect that he has confused it with vanna- vantam in 51-52 which he renders in the same way..* In 44-45 he> translates dhammapadam sudesitam as ’the well-taught path of righ¬ teousness'. presumably confusing pada with patha , although in the notes (p. 164) he includes a reference to 'the well-taught verses of the doctrine'. In 168 he translates uttitthe na ppamajjayya ('one should stand up, one should not be careless') as 'let one net be indolent in (the gathering of) scraps (as alms)', which

looks a 3 though he has taken uttitt/ie to be uccbittho , perhaps

'helped by R's misprint utthitthe. In 188 bahum ve saranam y anti is translated as ’Many are they... that resort as refuge...',

which suggests that bahum is being taken as a nominative plural.

Sometimes K improves on R, although it is not always clear

that he knows how or why he is doing so. So in 74 he translates

'Let both householders and recluses know that this has been done by myself', where R and C&P have ’think’, translating mannantu, which is also read by the Commentary. Udanavarga XIII.5, however, reads janlyur 'let them know’, and it seems preferable to divide the word kata mannantu as katam annantu, where the latter word is the third plural imperative from Sjanati 'know'. In 179 he translates koci lokc as 'anywhere in the world', which is certain¬ ly correct, since koci stands for kvaci , whereas the Commentary (followed by R and C&P) takes it as a nominative s J ngular. In his notes, however, K gives no hint that he'is consciously depart¬ ing from R's interpretation.

Similarly, he translates vijessati in 44 as 'will compre¬ hend', i.e. the equivalent of vijanissati 'will know’, instead pf 'will conquer’ as R and C&P take it. He does this, he says, at Jayawickrama's suggestion (although this is in fact the explan¬ ation given in the Commentary), because "‘will conquer' makes no sense in the present context" although, as noted, other transla¬ tors find this a satisfactory interpretation. C&P read vijessati in the Dhammapada itself but vicessati for the lemma in the Commen¬ tary, and they have a note pointing out that the various tradi¬ tions are undecided about whether to read -c- or -j-. It is clear

On Translatina the Dhammapad

that there is a pun intended on vici - in pada a 'to distinguish, separate, understand* and pad - in pada d 'to pluck’. ’The various readings have come into existence because the verse has at some stage been transmitted through (and possibly even composed in) a dialect which turned intervocalic consonants into -y-. When the Pali redactors (or the redactors of the version upon which the Pali Dhammapada is based) were faced with this verse they were uncertain about the correct forms to adopt in their own dia¬ lect. When translating the pada about picking flowers there was no doubt - the verb there had to be ci-. In the first pada the decision was not so easy. Although the verb yici- existed and made very good sense, and must indeed have been the form which the commentator had in mind when he gave his explanation, never¬ theless (pace K) the idea of conquering the world and becoming a Jina was also very possible. Hence the ambivalence of the tra¬ dition.

Sometimes we may suspect that a departure by K from R's inter¬ pretation is based upon a misunderstanding of the Pali, e.g. in 34 roaradheyyam pahatave is translated 'The dominion of Mara should be eliminated’, which suggests that pahatave (an infinitive of purpose * 'to avoid the dominion of Mara') has been taken as though it were the future passive participle pahatabbam . C&P have a long note on this word (pp.435-6) which reveals that they were rather baffled by the inclusion of the form pahatabbam in the Commentary, They explain their efforts to reconcile this form with the infinitive which they correctly realise pahatave to be. Their confusion is hard to understand. The Commentary rightly explains pahatave by an alternative form of the infinitive (paha- tum), but in the exegesis of the verse the sentence is changed to the passive construction and reworded so that the future pas¬ sive participle is included. I do not think that the Commentary is trying to explain the infinitive by the future passive partici¬ ple as C&P seem to believe, and I cannot accept their translation ’[Fit) to discard [is] Mara’s sway'.

The possibility of the word amata having the meaning 'immorta¬ lity' has caused problems for both C&P and K. In his note on verse 21 K states: "amata-padam has been translated by R as the 'abode of eternal life'. Amata (Sanskrit amrta) t being the goal

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

of the religious life, was assumed to be the avoidance of death, including death in this life, and the attainment of eternal rest in the future. Such a view of immortality seems incompatible with the rest of the teachings of the Buddha. Amata or immor¬ tality, therefore, could be taken only in the sense of absence

of rebirth.*' A reader may well feel that, although K has made

a good point here, 'absence of rebirth* is not the most obvious

way to define 'immortality', and it would have been helpful if

he had expanded his explanation.

The commentary on verse 27 explains that nibbana is called amata because, as a result of not being born, it dees not grow old and die. Such a statement makes no sense and must be incor¬ rect, because nibbana is the opposite of samsara , and yet it could equally well be said that samsara is r.ot born, and therefore will j not grow old and die. On the other hand, we cannot say that sam :

sara is born and will grow old and die. It is clear that the epithets must refer, not to nibbana , but to the conditions which

pertain in nibbana , which must be the opposite of those which pertain in samsara. In their translation C&P quote a later com- mentary "upon the Dhamraapada which seems to recognise this problem. i) It gives the information that nibbana Is called 'deathless' be¬

cause it is free from old age and death and because it destroys old age and death for the noble ones who have attained it. Ooce we realise that these epithets must refer to the condition of those beings, who have gained nibbana, then ve can see that the - translation 'immortality* for a/nata gives the wrong impression,

because it implies that such beings live for ever which, as K

has made clear, is aji untenable view. The correct translation

- must be ’where there is no death. 1

Strangely, although K has this lengthy note about amata and

ji C6P quote the explanation from one of the later commentaries,

both translations nevertheless follow their predecessors. K tran- slates the compound word a/nata-padam in 21 as 'the path to iromor- ! ! tality*; in 114 he renders amatam padam as 'path of immortality';

S > in 374 he translates amatam as 'Immortality*; in 411 he renders

| amat' - ogadham as 'immersed himseif in immortality*. C&P translate

fcj : 'the path to the Deathless', 'the immortal state*, 'ambrosia*

and 'the Deathless* respectively. They are clearly following

On Translating the Dhammapada

others: Max Muller translated the same passages as: ‘the path of immortality', 'the immortal place, ’the immortal’ and 'the ! Immortal* respectively. Radhakrishnan translated: 'the path to

'* eternal life', 'the deathless state', ‘life eternal* an3 'the

eternal' respectively.

It is noteworthy that GU J sometimes follow t..^ commonly accep¬ ted translation elsewhere loo, even when the Commentary gives i another explanation, and there is nothing which prevents them

i following it, e.g. in 175 they translate nlyanti as 'are led*,

\ although the presence of yanti twice in the first line shows clear¬

ly that we are dealing with a development of niryanti ’they go

forth', as the Commentary's explanation nissara/iti (’they go out*)

| shows. To translate as they do misses the whole point of the

verse, which means 'Geese can go high in the sky; men can go in the sky by supernormal powers; but the wise (i.e. the followers of the Buddha) can go away from this world (i.e. attain nibbana)*.

K gets this right, but he gives no note about his interpretation, and it may he that he is merely following the Commentary (see above). C&P usually draw attention to anomalies in the Commentary, e.g. while translating diso in 42 as 'foe', they point out that the Commentary explains it as 'thief*. On the other hand they

  • sometimes ignore such anomalies, e.g. in 166 they translate sadat-

\ thapasuto as 'intent on the true purpose', and make no , comment

upon the Commentary, which must have interpreted sadattha as sa- -d-attba {< sva + artba with a sandhi -d-), since it explains ‘ this as 'engaged in one's own purpose’ ( sake attfte). K, on the

other hand, devotes a long note to the verse, justifying his re- | jectipn of the Commentary’s interpretation.

{ K's reaction to Brough leads him to make incorrect statements

about him - referring to 82 he says (p.167) that Brough thinks that the occurrence of the word dhammani in Jataka V 221 ,27* is incorrect. Brough actually says 'the neuter plural' occurs, and probably correctly... ,9 . On the same verse C&P take a more sober line, and agree that the plural is unusual (p.4$l). They are ? perhaps putting more trust in the Patna Dharmapada than is Justi-

| fled when they say its reading dhammani iottana decisively sup-

| ports the Pali reading. The Patna Dharmapada reading does nothing

more than show that th» — -* *

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

sent in the version upon which the Patna Dharraapada is based. Although it suits C&P here to be able to say that 'the Patna Dhar¬ mapada decisively supports the Pali reading', I have not found anywhere in their translation a statement that 'the Patna Dharraa¬ pada here decisively refutes the Pali reading'. Elsewhere, how¬ ever, when the Patna Dharraapada, unknown to Brough when he made 1 his edition, agrees with the Pali against the Gandharl Dharmapada and the UdSnavarga they are often content merely to state the fact. In one place, however, their reaction leads C&P to forget their Sanskrit - on p.421 they reject Brough's suggestion that vahato in 1 is the genitive of the word vahatu 'draught ox’, on the grounds that the Udanavarga reads vahatah and the Patna Dhar¬ mapada reads vahato, 'both of which support the [traditional ex¬ planation in the) Pali commentary*. In saying this they overlook the fact that Patna vahato (like Pali vahato) is the expected development in the dialect of that text from Brough's conjectured vahatoh, while the Udanavarga vahatah represents the Buddhist Hy¬ brid Sanskrit’s redactor's 'translation' of the vahato which he received in his exemplar, and cannot be used as evidence one wa'y or the other. Bizarrely, having objected to Brough's explanation, they adopt his translation: *... as a wheel the draught ox's foot*.

C&P quote extensively from Brough. They do not do this merely to reject his views, but are prepared to discuss variant tradi¬ tions, e.g. svakhyata-cfharroa as opposed to *samAhya ta-dhamma in 70, although they do not consider *sams*rta-dharraa which, despite the note on p.447, would seem to be the only possible antecedent to the form sa/n^/iaca-dhafluna which they actually read in the verse. They seem, however, to be unacquainted with other literature about the Gandharl Dharmapada, and have a long note on sahkarabhutesu in 59, because they do not realise the possibility of separating su from sahAarabhute and taking it as a particle. They refer to Roth's edition of the Patna Dharmapada 10 and Bernhard's edition of the Udanavarga 11 , both unused by K, but neither their transla- tion nor K's seems to owe anything to LUders* work . There is, for example, no hint of any knowledge of the existence in Pali of an ablative singular in -am, and although C&P state that 'from a flower' would be a better translation for puppham in 49, and point to the existence of the ablative forms puspa and puspad

On Translating the Dhammapada

in the parallel texts, they do not suggest that puppham might be an ablative. Nor do the translators reveal any knowledge of an accusative plural in -am in Pali, with the result that both translations take kanham dhammam and suAAam in 87 as singu¬ lar (’a shady/shadowy dhamma . . . the bright'), whereas the Commen¬ tary on Samyutta-Nikaya V 24,21, where the verse recurs, makes it clear that it is referring to akusala and kusala dbammas . Patna Dharmapada 284 and Udanavarga XVI. 14 both have plural forms in the parallel versions of the verse.

K seems to have interpreted Brough's statement, quoted above, as meaning that the Gandharl Dharmapada was /more primitive* than the Dhammapada, although Brough quite clearly stated that

the Udanavarga, Pali Dhammapada and GSndharl Dharmapada 'show,

simply on Inspection, that no single one of them has a claim superior to the others to represent this section of a 'primitive* Buddhist canon’* 3 . K seems to believe that Brough was the first person'to V have stated that the Pali version was not necessarily superior to all others, which would suggest that he had not read -•.Brough's introduction very' carefully. He accuses Brough of ex- hibiting a 'prejudice which does not help towards a proper under¬ standing of the different versions and their relative positions* (p.vii).

It must be stressed that all the versions of the Dhammapada we possess are translations of earlier versions, all going back ultimately to a corpus of verses, the core of which came into existence at a very early stage of Buddhism, possibly at the time of the Buddha, although it is very likely that additions were made to the corpus after that time. Even if we could date the versions we have; we should be dating only the translation of an earlier version. If we look at any one of this group of texts we will find that each one of then has some features which might reasonably be surmised to be, if not original, then at least close to the original, and yet as the same time each one has features which are manifestly incorrect or late. The rela¬ tionship between Pali Dhammapada, Patna Dharmapada, Gandharl Dharraapada and Udanavarga is very complicated, with patterns of equivalence between them varying from verse to verse, and sometimes even from pada to pada. The fact that any two or more

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

of them agree in some feature tells us only that in some way, in the history of the texts, they were dependent upon a common source for that particular feature. The number of verses each redactor selected, the numbers of vargas into'which they were sorted and the way in which verses were apportioned to each varga, give us no information whatsoever about the date at which each selection was made.

To translate the Dhararaapada one needs to be entirely without pre-conceived notions- about which version is ’best’; one must be thoroughly acquainted with all the other versions; one must know about all the secondcry literature which has been written about these, especially articles dealing with the relationship between them; one must be an expert in the grammar of Sanskrit, Pali and other Middle Indo-Aryan languages; one must have a flair for seeing a point which other translators have not even realised presents a difficulty and for be^ng able to solve the problem. Moreover, to translate the Dhammapada into English one must be able to write good, clear, unambiguous and idiomatic English. No wonder Brough said it was too difficult!


1 David J. Kalupahana, A Path of Righteousness: Dhammapada : an introductory essay, together with the Pali text, English translation and commentary, xii, 221 pp. Lanharo, New York, London: University Press of America, 1986. $22.76, $12.60 (paperback).

John Ross Carter and Hahlnda Paliwadana, The Dhammapada : A new English trans¬ lation with the Pall text and the first English translation of th^ commentary's explanation of the verses, with notes translated from, Sinhala sources and critical textual comments, xii, 523 pp. New York, Oxford: OUP, 1987. $45.00.

2 John Brough, The Candhari Dharmapada , London 1962.

3 Ibid., p.xvii. •

Ibid., p.xvi.

E.W. Burlingame, Buddhist Legends , Harvard Oriental Series, Vols.28-30, 1921, repr. PTS 1979.

H.C. Norman, The commentary on the Dhamraapada, Vols 1-4, PTS 1906-14.

On Translating the Dhammapada 1$5

S. Radhakrishnan, The Dhammapada , Madras, OUP, 1950, repr. Delhi 1980.

Max Muller, The Dhammapada , Sacred Books of the East Vol.X, Oxford 1881, repr. Delhi 1980.

Op. cit., p.245. 0

10 G. Roth, ’Particular features of the language of the Arya-MahSsanghika- LokottaravSdins and their importance for early Buddhist tradition' in H. Bcchert (ed.). The Languages of the Earliest Buddhist Tradition , Gottingen 1980, pp.78-135.

    • F. Bernhard, UdSnavarga , Gottingen 1965.

12 ..

H. luders, Beobachtunycn uber die Sprachc des buddbisticbes Urkancns, Berlin L954 . « 

Op. cit., p.xiv.


Russell Webb

The factors that have contributed to this text's continuing popu¬ larity are: (i) its self-sufficiency as r. auide to Buddhist \ thought and practice (i.e. it 'represents* the Sutta Pitaka to a greater degree than any other text); (ii) its readability, and (iii) its relative concision.

It is interesting to recall the vast number of editions and translations that have been produced, especially since the text in question is, in many cases, the only complete canonical work Uiat has appeared on a.commercial basis.


Arabi c - Boulos Salama (tr. - unpublished) Khartoum 1959

Bengali - Charu Chandra Bose (ed. and tr., incl. Sanskrit tr.) MBS, Calcutta 1904, 1960

L.M. Joshi and Sharada Gandhi (tr. with text in Guru- ' mukhi script) Patiala 1969

Bhikshu Shilabhadra (tr.) MBS c.1960

Burmese (Rangoon)

Khuddakanikaya I, 1924

Chatthasanglti Pitakam (Sangayana ed.) Khuddakanikaya I 1961, 1972

Siriraangala-paritta-pali (ed.) 1986

Thingaza Hsaya Agga-DharamalaAkara (ed. and tr.) 1880 Hpo Lat (tr.) 1951 T.H. Levin (tr. ) 1873 Saya Tint (tr . ) 1925

Chinese - Fa-chu-ching (incl. 13 vargas from an Udanavarga) Nanjio , 1365

Dainihon Kotei DaizSkyo 24, Tokyo 1880-5 Dainihon Kotei Zokyo 26, Kyoto 1902-5 Taisho Shinsha DiazOkyo 210 Tokyo 1927 Fa-chii-p ’ i-yii-ching (T 211) - S. Beal (tr.), loc . sub. T. Adachi (tr.) Hokkugyb Kogi , Tokyo 1935

The Dhammapada - East and West

C. Akenuma and K. Nishio (tr.) Uokkuhiyugyo , Tokyo 1931 Bhikkhu Dharmakitti (Liao-chan, tr.) Nan ch'uan fa chu # Hong Kong 1961

Bhiksu Jan Hai (tr. Narada's English ed.) Taipei n.d.

(Related, apocryphal text - T 2901, tr. by H. Ui in his Saiiki Butten no Kenkyu - 'Study of the Buddhist Scriptures from Central Asia ' , Tokyo 1969]


N.K. Bhagwat (ed. with English tr.) Bombay 1935 Vinoba Bhave (ed.) Nava samhita pada auchi-sahi ta , Ka$I (Benares] 1959

Rai Carat Das and Seelakkhanda Thera (ed.) Calcutta 1899

J. Kashyap (ed.) in Khuddakanikaya I, Nalanda Devanaga¬ rl Pali Series, 1959

C. Kunhan Raja (ed. with English tr.) Adyar 1956, 1984 P.l. Vaidya (ed . with English tr. by R.D. Shrikhande) Poona 1923 (rev. ed. with tr. by Vaidya) 1934

Hind 1 - Bhikshu K. Dharmarakshita (tr. with Devanagarl text)

MBS, Sarnath 1954 , 1^963; with tr. of stories from

Commentary, Varanasi 1971

RShula SaAkrtyayana (tr. with Devanagarl text) Allaha¬ bad 1933

Japanese (all tr. - published in Tokyo?)

Ryoda Miyata et al. in Nanden Daizokyo 23, 1937 Makoto Nagai Dhammapada, 1948

Hajime Nakamura Dudda no Shinri no Koioba , 1978

Shundo Tachibana in Kokuyaku Daizokyo 12, 1918 Entai Tomomatsu Dhammapada , 1961, 1969 Unrai Wogihara Hokku xyo, 1935

Khmer - Brah Traipitaka pall (with tr.) Phnom Penh 1938 Lao - (with Lao, English and French trss) Vientiane 1974 Slnhala (Colombo)

Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series 24, Khuddakanikaya I, 1960 (with Sinhalese tr.)

E.W. Adikaram (ed . with English tr.) 1954

168 Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

A.P. Buddhadatta (ed. and tr.) ,n.d.

A. P. de Soysa (tr.) 195—

Devamitta (tr.) Dhammapada-purana~sannaya , 1926

H. Devamitta (» H. Sri Dharmakirti Devamitra, ed.)

Sanna sahita dhammapada y a, 1879, 1911 U. Dhanmananda (tr.) Dhanwnapadartha-gatha-san/iaya, Alut- gama 1907

K. Dhammaratana (tr.) Dhammapada-purana-sannaya t 1926 M. Sri Wane6vara Dharmananda (ed. and tr . ) Saddharmakau- mud i nam bhava rt thavivaranasahita dhammapadapa1iya , 1927, 1946

B. Siri Sivali (ed. and tr . with English tr.), 1954,


S. Sumahgala (tr.) o/iammapadartha-gatha-sannaya, 1899

Thai (Bangkok)

Udaya Devamoli et al. (ed.) Syamaratthassa Tepitakaro 25, 1926, 1980

Brah Traipitak-bhasa-daiy 38 (tr.) 1957 (ed. and tr.) Gatha Phra Thammabod garaglorn, Wat Ben- chamabopitr 1961 ^

Klong khatha thammabat (ed. and tr.) I9tt Sathienpeng Wonnapok (tr. with English tr.) 1979 Brah Dharmapad-caturbhag (Thai and roman texts, Thai and English trss) 1987

Nepali - Bh. Amritananda (tr.), Kalimpong 1950 Satya Mohan Joshi (tr.), Lalitpur 1956

Tibetan - Gedun Chomphel (tr.) Chos kyi tshigs su btad pa blugs so, Gangtok 1946, New Delhi 1976 and in an appendix to Derge Kanjur and Tanjur (ed.

Dharma Publishing), Berkeley 1980 - another tr., MBS, Sarnath 1964


(Thfch) Minh Chau (tr. - unpublished?). Van Hanh Bud¬ dhist Institute, Saigon c.1975 (Thich) Thien Chau (tr.) Villebon-sur-Yvette (Paris)

The Dhammapada - East and West


(N.B. All texts in roman script unless otherwise indicated) Suriyagoda Sumahgala (ed.) PTS, London 1914

Catalan - Joaquim Torres i Godori (tr.) La Sendcra de la Perfeccio , Montserrat 1982

Czech - Vincenp Lesny (tr.) Prague 1947

Danish - Chr. Lindtner (tr.) Buddhas laereord , Copenhagen 1981 Pcul Tuxen (tr.) Copenhagen 1920, 1953


Dutch - J.A. Blok (tr.) in woorden van don Bocddha, Deventer 19- 53, 1970

English - E.W. Adiharara (tr.) Colombo 1954 B. Ananda Maitreya (tr.) serialised in Pali Buddhist Re¬ view 1 and 2, London 1976-7, and offprinted as Law verses , Colombo 1978

J. Austin (comp.) The Buddhist Society, London 1945, 19-

Irving Babbitt (tr.) New York 1936, 1965 Bhadragaka (comp.) Collection of Verses on the Doctrine of the Buddha , ’ Bangkok 1952 * - printed 1965 N.K. Bhagvat (tr.) Bombay 1931, Hor.g Kong 1968 ,

A.P. Buddhadatta (ed. and tr.) Colombo 1954, Bangkok 19-

Buddharakkhita (tr.) MBS, Bangalore 1966; Buddhayoga Meditation Society, Fawnskin (California) and Syari- kat Dharma, Kuala Lumpur 1984; BPS, Kandy 1985 E.W. Burlingame (tr. incl. Commentary) Buddhist Legends , 3 vols. Harvard 1921, PTS 1979. Selected and rev. by Khantipalo for Buddhist Stories, 4 vols, BPS, Kandy 1982-8

Thomas Byrom (comp.) London 1976

John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihavadana (ed. and tr.) New York 1987

J.P. Cooke and O.G. Pettis (tr.) Boston 1898 U. Dhamoajoti (tr.) MBS, Benares 1944

Eknath Easwaran (tr.) Blue Mountain Center, Berkeley

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

1986, London 1987

Albert J. Edmunds (tr.) Hymns of the Faith , LaSalle (Il¬ linois) 1902 *

D.J. Gogerly (tr. vaggas 1-18) in The Friend IV (Colom¬ bo 1840), repr. in Ceylon Friend (Colombo 1881) and in his collected works, Ceylon Buddhism II (Lon¬ don 1908)

James Gray (tr.) Rangoon 1881, Calcutta 1887 K. Gunaratana (tr.) Penang 1937

Norton T.W. Hazeldine (tr.) The Dhammapada, or the Path of Rightcousncss , Denver 1902 Raghavan Iyer (cd. and tr.) Santa Barbara 1986 U.D. Jayasckera (tr. - unpublished) Colombo 1986 David J. Kalupahana (ed. and tr.) A Path of Righteous¬ ness , Lanham 1986

Suzanne Karpelbs (7 tr.) serialised in Advent (Pondi¬ cherry 1960-5) and repr. in Questions and Answers (Collected Works of the Mother 3, Pondicherry 1977) Harischandra Kaviratna (el.andtt.) wisdom of the Buddha , Theosophical University Press, Pasadena 1980 Khantipalc (tr.) Crowing the Dodhi Tree, Bangkok 1966 The Path of Truth, Bangkok 1977 C. Kunhan Raja (tr.) Adyar 1956, 1984 P. Lai (tr.) New York 1967 T. Latter (tr.) Moulmein 1850

Wesley La Violette (free rendering and interpretation) Los Angeles 1956

C.P. Malalasekcrc; \tr . - unpublished) folorabo 1969 Juan Mascar6 (tr.) Harmondsworth 1973

F. Max MUller (tr.) London 1870, SBE - Oxford 1881, New York 1887, Delhi 1980. Contained also in John B. A1 phonso-Karkala An Anthology of Indian Litera¬ ture (Harmondsworth 1971 - selection only), Lewis

Biownc The WorId's Greatest Scriptures (New York 19- 45, 1961 - selection only). E.A. Burtt The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha (New York 1955, 1963),

Allie M. Frazier Readings in Eastern Religious cht U Philadelphia 1969 - selection only).

The Dhammapada - East and West

C.H. Hamilton Buddhism, a Religion of Infinite Compassion (New York 1952), Charles F. Horne The Sacred Books and Early Literature of the East X (New York 1917, Delhi 1987), Raymond Van Over East¬ ern Mysticism I (New York 1977 - selection* only),

I in Yutang The wisdom of China and India (New York 1942) and The wisdom of India (London 1944,* Bombay 1966).

Narada (ed. and tr.) Kandy 1940, London 1954, 1972,

Saigon 1963, Calcutta 1970, Colombo and New Delhi 197-2, BMS, Kuala Lumpur 1978; and, with addition of summary of commentary to each verse by K. Sri Dhammananda, Kuala Lumpur 1988; tr. incl. in The Path of Buddhism , Colombo 1950 Piyadassi (tr.5 Selections from the Dhammapada , Colombo 1974

' (tr. incl. Commentary) Stories of Buddhist in - Tjia, 2 vols, Moratuwa 1949, 19 53 Swami Premananda (tr.) The Path of the Eternal Law, Self-Realization Fellowship, Washington (D.C.) 1942

S. Radhakrishnan (ed. and tr.) Madras 1950, 1987, Delhi 1980. Repr. in S. Radhakrishnan and Charles A, Moore (ed.) a Source Book in Indian Philosophy , Princeton and Oxford Univ. Presses 1957 C.A.F. Rhys Davids (ed. and tr.) .Verses on Dhammj , PTS, London 1931

Sangharakshita (tr.) vaggas 1-12 serialised in fwbo sews lot ter, London K69 ff.

S.E.A. Scherb (tr.) 'The golden verses of the Buddha’

- a selection for the Christian Register , Boston 18- 61 .

Sll&cSra (tr.) The way of Truth , The Buddhist Society of Great Britain and Ireland, London 1915 Silananda (ed. and tr.) The Eternal Message of Lord Buddha, Calcutta 1982 B. Siri Sivali (tr.) Colombo 1954, 1961 W. Somalokatissa (tr.) Colombo 1953, 1969

172 Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

D,tv Mya Tin (ed. and tr . ) Rangoon 1986

Roger Tite (comp. - unpublished) Southampton 1974

P. L. Valdya (tr.) Poona 1923 , 1934

W.D.C. Wagiswara and K.J. Saunders (tr.) The Buddha's way of virtue, London 1912, 192/

Sathienpong Wannapok (tr.) The Buddha‘s words , Bangkok 1979

S. W. Wijayatilake (tr.) The way of Truth, Madras 1934 F.L. Woodward (tr.) The Buddha's Path of virtue, Adyar

1921, 1949

[The Cunningham Press, Alhambra (California) 1955, rcpr. The Thcosophical Society, Bombay 1957, 1965]


La Dhamapado do Budhismo, Montevideo 1973

T. T. Anuruddha (tr.) La Vojo al Nirvano , Vung-Tau 1973 George Voxon (tr.) serialised In La Budhis/no (Heswall

1931-4) and La Budha Lumo (Prestatyn 1950-7)

Estonian - Llnnart Mall (tr.) Tallinn 1977

Finnish - Hugo Valvanne (tr.) ilyvecn Sanoja , Porvoo-Helsinki 1953

French - Centre d'Etudes Bouddhiques (tr.) Vcrsvts d u Dhamma, Grenoble 1976

Andre Ch6del (tr.) Les Vers de la Doctrine , Paris 1978 P.S. Dhamraararoa (ed. and tr.) BEFEO LI, 2, Paris 1963. Fernando Hu (tr.) Paris 1878

Suzanne Karpeles (tr.) Commentaires sur le Dhammapada ,

Pondicherry 1960, 1974 R. and M. de Maratray (tr.) Paris 193,1

Narada (ed. and tr. Prajnananda [R. Joly]) serialised, in Sagesse 1-4, Gretz 1968-9; offpr. (with text) as Dhammapada , Les Stances du Dhamma, Gretz 1983

German - Paul Dahlke (tr.) Per Pfad der Lehre, Berlin 1919, Hei¬ delberg 1970

R.O. Franke (tr.) Dhamma-worte , Jena w 1923 Walter Markgraf (tr.) Der Pfad der Wahrheit , Munich 1912 Hans Much (tr.) Das hohe Lied der Wahrhei t des Buddha Cautaroa, Hamburg 1920

The Dhammapada - East and West

F. Max Muller -(tr.) Leipzig 1885

K. E. Neumann (tr.) Der Wahrhcitpfad , Leipzig 1893, Mun¬

ich 1921, Zurich-Vienna 1957 Kurt Schmidt (tr.) in 5prtJche und Lieder, Constance 1954

L. von Schroder (tr.) Worte der wahrheit, Leipzig *1892 Theodore Schultze (tr.) Leipzig 1885

Albrecht Weber (tr.) in ZDMG XIV, Leipzig 1860, and Indischc Strcifen I, Berlin 1868

Hebrew - Partial tr. by Schlomo Kalo as tfipi Buddha, Jaffa


KrnO HGtcrtyi (tr.) AMM, Budapest 1953 ,

GyOrgy Kovacs (tr. - unpublished) Budapest 1932

Icelandic - Sdren Sdrensen (tr.) Reykjavik 1954

Italian - Eugenio Frola (tr.) L^rma della Disciplina , Turin 1962 Luigi Martinelli (tr.) in Btica Buddhist a c vtica cris - tia/ia , Florence 1*971

P.E. Pavolini (tr.) Antoloyia di morale buddhistica , Milan 1908; repr. in Testi di morale buddhistica' Lunciano 1912, 1933

Lin Yu tang (in tr.) in La saggezza dell • India % Bompiani i960 .

Latin - V, Fausbtfll (ed. and tr.) Copenhagen 1855, OsnpbrUck

Kdre Lie (tr.) Oslo 1976

Polish - St. Fr, Micha^ski (tr.) Sciezka Pcawd y, Warsaw 1925, Lodz 1948


Nissim Cohen (ed. and tr.) A Scnda da Virtude, Sao Paulo 1985

G. da Silva (comp, from various eds) SSo Paulo 1978 Lin Yutang (in tr.) in a Sabedaria da China e da India t Rio de Janeiro 1969

Russian - N.l. Gerasimova (tr.) Moscow 1898

174 Buddhist Studies Review 6, 2 (1989)

Toporov (tr.) Bibldrotrheca Buddhica XXXI, Moscow 1960


Vesna Krmpoti<! (tr.) in Uiljadu lotosa , Belgrade 1971

Spanish - Carmen Dragonetti (tr.) El camino del Dha'rma , Lima 1964, Buenos Aires 1967

Juan Mascard (tr.) El camino do pcrfeccion, Mexico City 1976

Swedish - Rune Johansson (tr.) Duddhistiska Aforismor, Stockholm

L.N. (tr.) Buddhas Evongclium cllcr Dhammapadam t CGte- . borg 1927

Ake Ohlmarks (tr.) in Duddha taladc och sade, Stockholm


II.W. Bailey 'The Khotan Dharmapada', BSOAS XI, London 1943-6 Michael Balk d/itersuchungon zum' udanrvarga . Untersuchungen Bertlch- sichtiging mittelindischer Parallelen und eines tibeti- schen Kommentars. Ph.D. diss., Bonn 1988 B.M. Barua and S. Mitra (ed. ) PraArit Dhammapada, Calcutta 1921, repr. Delhi 1988. (Selected trss in Laurence W. Fawcett Seeking Gotama Duddha in His Teachings , privately published, Radnor, Penn., 1962, pp.50-6)

A.A.G. Bennett ’The Text of the Dharamapada \ The Maha Dodhi 66, Calcutta 1958

'The Prakrit Dharmapada' (6 parts). Ib., 66-7, 1958-9 'The Smritivarga of the Sanskrit Dharmapada’. Ib. 69, 196 1

J.* Brough (ed.) The Candharl Dharmapada , London 1962 S. L6vi ’Textes sanscrlts de Touen-houang.. . Dharmapada...’, JA, Paris 1910

- ’L’Apramada-Varga . Etude sur les recensions des Dharma-

padas ' , JA 19 12

Kogen Mizuno 'A Comparative Study of Dharmapadas' Buddhist Studies in Honour of llamma lava Saddhatissa , ed . G. Dhammapala et

The Dhammapada - East and West

al, Nugegoda 1984

'Dharmapadas of Various Buddhist Schools' Studies ir. Pali and Duddhism , ed. A.K. Narain, Delhi 1979 P.K. Mukherjee 'The Dhammapada and the Udanavarga', Indian // rical Quarterly XI, Calcutta 1935 Hideaki Nakatani 'Remarques sur la transmission des Dharmapada’ Bulletin d'Studes Indiennes 2, Paris 1984 R. Pischcl 'Die Turfan-Rczensionen des Dhammapada ’, SPAW XXXIX, Berlin 1908

Bernard Pauly (ed. from Pelliot Collection) 'Fragments Sanskrits de Haute Asie': XV Udanavarga 33 (Brahmanavarga) with parallel versions in Prakrit and Tibetan rec nsions,... and Dhammapada , .JA 1961

Pavel Poucha Inst itut iones linguae Tocharicae. 2. Chrestomathia

Tocharica (Prague 1956). Incl. edited fragments of the' Tochartan Dharmapada and Udanavarga with their corresponding parallels in Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan

L. Schmithausen 'Zu den Rezensionen des Udanavarga', WZKS XIV, Vienna 1970

Ch. Wlllemen 'The Prefaces to the Chinese Dharmapadas. Fa ChU Ching and Ch'u Yao Ching', Toung Pao LIX, Leiden 1973 Dharmapada , A Concordance to Udanavarga, Dhammapada, and the Chinese Dharmapada Literature, Brussels 1974 Introduction to The Chinese Udanavarga , Brussels 1978


Andrd Chddel 'Le Dhammapada, recueil de sentences bouddhiques' , Bulletin de la Soci6t& Suisse des Amis de l'Extrdme - Orient V, Berne 1943

Mahinda Palihawadana 'Dhammapada and Commentary':Some Textual Prob¬ lems and Brough’s Comments on Them', vidyodaya journal of Arts, science and Letters , Silver Jubilee No., Nuge¬ goda 1984 .

The Pali canon is our oldest source Jot the word of the Buddha. We are a charity publishing Pali texts, translations, dictionaries and primers to increase public awareness of Buddhist literature. If you have any difficulty in finding our books, please write for our list ofpublications or order your book direct from us.

Better still, further our workby becoming a member. AUmembers receive 10% discount onpurchases, and Sponsoring members am also choose a free book every year.

Pali Text Society Sponsoring Membership:

7J Lime Walk / year...Xl6

Oxford 0XJ7AD 5 years...X70

Ordinary Membership: l ycar~£7 }ycars~£JQ

We invite applications for Research Fellowshipsfrom suitably qualifiedpersons, working in thefield of Pali Studies. Applicants will usually be in the fourth year of a course of graduate research, or Us equivalent The course ofresearch will be expected to lead to a publishable book, on the publication rights of which the Pali Text Society wilt have first option.

Fellowships will be tenable for one year m the first instancy with a possibility of renewal Their value will be fixed at the appropriate leveljbra comparable research worker in the applicant's country of domicile Utters ofapplication and requests for information should be sent to Mr K.K Norman, Faculty of Oriental Studies. Sidgwick A venue, Cambridge CBJ 9DA.

CJritc to the FkiTexr Society "Iodm


Etienne Lamotte

In the first century of the Christian era* the history of India 5 was marked by the peaceful co-existence of several kingdoms of both local and foreign origin: in the north-west, the great Indo- Scythlan empire of the KUisanaa which stretched from the Caspian v Sea to Varanasi and from Kadmir to the region of Bombay;... In the ’ Deccan, the Andhra kingdom of the Sitakarnie, the Ksaharita kin,- f doe of SurXette and tha Sake satrapy of UJ Jayinis to the extreme

south of the -peninsula, the Dravldlan kingdoms of tbe keralaa or Ceras (Calicut and Travancore), the PIndyas (Madura region) and the Colas .(Trlchinopoly and Tanjore). wV s -

Until the end of the pre-Christian era, India had lived in . isolation and had baen able to assimilate without difficulty the ' hordes of foreign conquerors who had ventured across the north^ K west frontier: Graeco-Bactrlans, Scythians and Parthlans. She

had compelled them to bow to indigenous habits and customs end £ inculcated her beliefs in them. At the beginning of the Christian £ era, the situation changed radically. The development of trade t routes by land and sea brought India into, daily contact with the great neighbouring civilisations of the Vest and the Bast* ’ The trans-Iranian routes and the .tricks of Central Asia were crossed i by merchants; Graeco-Alexandrian ships commissioned by ftoman

capital regularly touched at the ports of Barbarlcon, Barygasa, SopSra and the Malabar coast; the Chinese themselves occasional¬ ly visited the settlements on the east coast. In fact, India had not sought these contacts; it was the foreigners, attracted by her wealth, who started the trading which was to intensify as the centuries passed. It was no longer possible for the In¬ dians to remain in an isolation caused by Ignorance or disdain; it was in their own interest to establish trade relations, welcome the merchants from overseas and exchange raw materials and manu¬ factured goods as well as ideas with them. A new opportunity arose for India to make the voice of her thinkers and philosophers heard and, before showing in a study to follow to what degree ^he responded, >e would like to examine here the possibilities

Buddhist Studies Review 5 f 2 (1988)

which were established over the centuries between East and West 1 .

During the pre-Christian era, the perlpla , military expedi¬ tions and embassies in the direction of India were no more than voyages of exploration and discovery. Under the Roman Empire,’ once the routes were open and curiosity satisfied, dealings be¬ tween East and West were entirely dominated by trade.


Scylax of Caryanda (519 B.C.). - Scylax of Caryanda in Caria was

ordered by Darius to reconnoitre the marine route which links the mouths of the Indus to Egypt. Setting out from Kaspatyrus (Kasyapapura, modern Multan near Attock), the explorer descended the Indus as far as the Arabian Sea, ran along the coasts of Hak-

ran and southern Arabia and, entering the Gulf of Aden, went up

the Red Sea to Arsinoe in the Gulf of Suez . The periplus lasted for thirty months, and the length of its duration is enough to prove that the navigator, travelling with a head wind, knew no¬ thing of the vayB of the monsoon.

Alexander the Great (331-324 B.C.). - Hot in pursuit of Bessup

after his victory at Gaugamela (331 B.C.), the. Macedonian conquer¬ or made use during his march of the great 'twisting artery which linked the Caspian Gates to the southern slopes of the Hindu Kush, passing through Herat (Haraiva or Alexandria-in-Aria), Faraz (Phra- da or Prophthasia), Dranglana, the southern shore of Lake Hamun, the right bank of the River Helmand (Haetvmant, Setumant, Etyman- der, Hermandrus), Kandahar (Harahuvati or Alexandria-ln-Arachosla), Parvan (Alexandria-under-the-Caucasus or in the Paropamlsadae) 5 . The bematlsts Diognetus and Bseton, who accompanied Alexander on his expedition, surveyed the route and. carefully measured the distances .

The revolt in Aria had orevented Alexander from returning to Bactria via the most direct route linking the Caspian Gates to the Jaxartes which passed through Bactria (Zariaspa) and termi¬ nated at Khojend (Alexandria-Eschate) on the Syr Darya. Notwith¬ standing, this route was also explored by his surveyors 5 .

Now lord of Bactria and Sogdiana after a campaign lasting two years (329-328 B.C.), Alexander set out to conquer IndiaJ

Early Relations I

to his mind 'the region which extends eastwards from the Indus'*.

He took the old highway of India connecting Bactra to Taxila ac¬ ross the Hindu Kush. Setting out from Bactra at the beginning of the year 327, in ten days he crossed the Afghan massif and, by way of Bamlyan, reached the southern slopes where his # settle¬ ment, Alexandria-under-the-Caucasus, present-day ParvSn, was locat¬ ed. By three or four stages, he arrived at Lampaka where he con¬ centrated his troops in Nlcaea, a temporary encampment to be found between the villages of Mandrawar and Chabar-bagh. The majority of his Macedonian forces, led by Perdiccas and Hephaestion, des¬ cended the south bank of the Kophen (Kubha, today the Kabul River), reprovisioned in Nagarahara (Jelalabad), occupied PUskarivatl (Peucalaotis, ^modern Charsadda) and reached the Indus between

Udabhanda (Und) and ^b. Alexander, who had been fighting in

the upper valleys of the Kunar (KhoSs), Swat (Suvastu, Suastos) and BunSr, then rejoined his lieutenants; the Macedonian army, at last regrouped, crossed the Indus by a pontoon-bridge and made peaceably for Taxila where it was welcomed by the local king 0m- phis (Ambhl). In Taxila began the great artery which is still used today by the Trunk Road: pointing in the direction of the south-east, it reached Mathura on the right bank of the Yamuna, where it communicated respectively with the west coast via UJjayl- nl and Bharukaccha and the east coast through KausambI, Patallputra and Tamrallptl. Alexander, halted at the Hydaspes by the resis¬ tance of King Porus (Paurava), turned directly east, and, arm; in hand, crossed the great tributaries of the Indus: the Jhelua (Vitasti, Hydaspes), Chenab (Asiknl, Candrabhaga, Aceslnes) anc' Ravi (Parusnl, Iravatl, Hydraotes), and finally reached the Beat (Vipae, Vlpasa, Hyphasis) where his troops mutinied. The route taken by Alexander as far as the Beas, with indications of the distances, was also noted by the professional surveyors 7 . All the topographical works carried out on Alexander's orders ant whose starting-point was the Caspian Gates were collected and pub¬ lished, before the establishment of the Parthian domination ol Iran, in the AsiatiJcoI stathmol by a certain Amyntas, who hat

followed Alexander on his expedition .

The order to retreat was given in November 326 and the Mace¬ donian army, reinforced by a fleet of 800 to 1,000 ships, descend¬ ed the Hydaspes and the Indus to the delta of Patalene, whlcl

106 Buddhist Studies Review 5, 2 (1988)

Alexander explored for six months (January to July 325). The return to Suslana was made by three routes.

Craterus, who had not gone as far as the delta 9 , left. In July .325, the right bank of the Indus off Sklkarpore, crossed the Hulls Pass, Quetta and Kandahar, and skirted the south bank of the Helmand and Lake Hamun; then, through the desert of Dasht-

i-Lut and Natretabad, he reached Galashklrd inf 'Carmania, where > Alexander had preceded him 10 .

In the meantime Alexander, at the head of some ten thousand

men, had left Pa tala in September 325 and set out along the Makran

coast, to Gedrosla. Then turning northwards, in December 325,

he reached Galashklrd in Carmania where Craterus and Nearchus

were not long in.Joining him.

Hearchus, at the head of a fleet of one thousand units con¬ centrated in the Indus Delta, had been ordered to delay his depar¬ ture until the arrival of the monsoon from the north-east which breaks in October: clear proof that at that time the movement

of the eteslan winds was well known 11 * However, the hostility

of the local populace forced the admiral to weigh anchor on 21 September 325. He skirted the Orelte and Makran coasts and, after eighty, days of eventful voyaging, in December of the same year, reached the mouth of the Anamls (Mlnab), in fertile Harmosla,.- near Hormuz. Nearchus, having placed his fleet in safety, went Inland to Galashklrd and rejoined Alexander and Craterus who anxi¬ ously awaited him 12 . The reunion was an occasion for Joyful fes¬ tivities and a new Alexandria was founded. The fleet then sailed up the [[[Persian]]]Gulf and the Pasltlgrls and reached Suslana where, in the spring of 324, it was joined by the land army.

The seieucids (312-64 B.C.). - After his victorious return from

Babylonia, Seleucus I Nicator (312-280) set out to reconquer the eastern satrapies which had broken away from the Alexandrian em¬ pire. and his armies again travelled the routes of Iran and Bac- tria. The operations begun in 305 by the Diadochus [Alexander*s successor] against the Indian empire of Candragupta once again drew Seleucus onto the ancient Indian route linking Bactra to Taxlla, and his momentum took him to the banks of the Yamuna, possibly as far as Mathura: we know that this campaign ende<)

Early Relations I

in a compromise in the terms of which* in exchange for five; hund-i^/ red war-elephants, Seleucus ceded-the possession of India and the greater part of Afghanistan to his rival . Seleucus 9 inter¬ est then turned to the neighbouring countries of the Caspian SeaVj the strategic and commercial Importance of which did not escape him. Deodamas, the commander of Seleucus and Antlochus, identi- fled the course of the Jaxsrtes, which until*'then had been confus¬ ed with the Don 14 ! Patrocles, governor of the nor i thern p^yj|.i»cea and a geographer of great authority, explored the Caaplgn.; Si* but, on the basis of misinterpreted local records. waa .led to. claim that not only the Ochus (Tejend) but al,o the Oxu, and Jax»r- tea, tributaries of the Aral Sea, flowed lnjto. the Caspian, the surface of which, according to Patrocles, equalled that of •*.*>,.

Black Sea 15 . The geographer discovered, or rediscovered

Black Sea 15 . The geographer discovered, or rediscovered..SubseW^^ quent * to Artobulos, the southern. Indian tredie^routet^ at ‘ time the Oxus, which was easily navigable,' servej,^ a considerable .amount of merchandise from Indie -,tn the [Caspian] Sea'>. from there It rapidly-reached the coast^ofJArMiiifis^^P^ (Azerbaijan), there' to ascend the Cyrus (Kour) t vteschV^*T!*piwjs lu,j^^ ^ side and redescend to the Black Sea 16 . Plpaliy. it the maritime route skirted the coast of Cedrosla - and, • «f .t,r| explored by S^ylax and Nearchus, was occasionally uoed'hiy^the^;^;/^

ships of the Diadochus.- Seleucus -. transportediMroB-L’tka'^ta^^feff-^

Delta to the mouth of the Euphrates, some Indian »picms>fo^V^«^^ the Journey proved fatal .... •" F 1

Antiochus I Soter (280-261), the son of Seleucus^ himself ^ ; ^

re-explored eastern Iran and built and fortified, under the name ^

of Antioch, Alexandria-in Margiana (Mcrv) and A1 exa nd r la -Esc hat c (Khojend (now Leninabad)) 18 .* ;

During the same period, the Mediterranean world was aqklng remarkable progress in its knowledge of India as a result of the detailed and exact information supplied to it by its ambassadors •* f

who had been sent by the Diadochus to. the Mauryan court. Mega- * ’

sthenes and Deimachus had both been sent as ambassadors to Patall- putra, Megasthenez to Candragupta (313-289) and Deimachus to his |

son Bindusara Amitragbata (289-264), and they have left us records |

of their Journeys 19 . In fact Megasthenes. who was attached to f

the person of Sibyrtius, the satrap of Arachosla, visited Candra- punt *.*) 20 several rimes and wrof c the T nd i k a which for centuries

Buddhist Studies Review 5, 2 (1988)

remained the best, not to say the only source of information on

India. His description of Pataliputra, reproduced in Arrian's

Indike , is remarkably accurate, t as is proved by recent excava¬ tions; moreover, the precise details supplied by Megasthenes

on the Indian nation, its manners, institutions and castes agree

with the majority of the more authoritative indications supplied

by the tfautaIya-Arthaiastra , a summary of the Indian institu¬ tions whose author, or one of several,- vas possibly CSnakya, also known as Visnugupta, a minister and counsellor of Candragupta.

What is more, Megasthenes, on behalf of Seleucus, reconnoit¬ red and measured in schoeni the Royal Highway or basilike hodos - in Sanskrit rajavlthl - which crossed India from west to east, linking the Hydaspes to the mouths of the Ganges. Pliny kept

the topographical record compiled by Megasthenes and added to it corrections supplied later by other bematists: 'From the Hypa- sis to the River Sydrus, 169,000 paces; from there to the River lomanes, as much (a few copies add 5 miles); from there to the

Ganges, 112.5 miles; from there to Rhodapha, 569 miles (others

evaluate this distance at 325 miles); from there to the town of Calllnlpaza, 167.5 miles (according to others, 165 miles); from there to the confluence of the lomanes and the Ganges, *625 miles (a great many add 13;5 miles); from there to the town of Pallboth-

ra, 425 miles; from there to the mouth of the Ganges, 637.5

miles . As far as we know, the towns of Rhodapha and Calllnlpaza have yet to be identified; conversely, there is no cifficulty in recognising the Beas in the Hypasis, the Sutlej in the Sydrus, the Yamuna (Jumna) in the lomanes, Prayaga in the confluence of the lomanes and Ganges, and Pataliputra or Patna in Palibothra. Already by the time of the Mauryas, a great communication artery connected Taxila to Tamralipti, present-day Tamluk on the east coast, by way of Mathura, KauSambI and Pataliputra. Ptolemy 11 Philadelphus (285-247), whose reign partly coincided with that of ASoka, was represented at the Mauryan court by an ambassador with the name of Dionysius 25 ; as for the Indian emperor, it is known in which circumstances and for what purpose he sent his messengers of the Dharraa to Syria, Egypt, Macedonia and Cyrenai- ca 26 .

The secession of the satrapy of Bactrla in 250 B.C., shortly followed by the revolt of Parythene in 249 , was the first blow

to- Seleucld supremacy in Asia. Relations which had been maintain¬ ed until then with the Indian empire became desultory: the pro^- gressive weakening of the Magadhan kingdoms under the last Kauryas and the §unga usurpers made them, moreover, less desirable. The attempt begun between 247 and 246 by Seleucus II Callinicus to reconquer eastern Iran failed due to the coalition of the Parthiap llridates and the Bactrlan Dlodotus II 27 . The operation* carried out In Bactrla, from 207 to 206, by Antlochu* III the Great proved fruitless! vanquishing the Parthian Artaban, he forced hi* way across the Arlus (Herl-rud) and blockaded Buthydeaus of Hagnptla i„ his stronghold at Zarlaspa (Charjui); however, after two years of investment, the Eplgonus eventually treated with hi* rival and raised the siege in order to return to Syria by taking the route through the Hi“hdu Kush - Bactra, Bamlyan and Parvan - then

the tracks in Arschosla and Caraania which had previously been

used by Craterus

The defeats inflicted by the Romans on Antiochus III, at Thermopylae (191), Corycus and hagnesia-under-Slpylos (190), toi¬ led the knell for Seleucid power in Asia. The Parthian rulers

profited from this to consolidate their kingdom and enlarge it at the expense of Syria, henceforth cut off from all contact with India. In 138 Mithridates I defied Demetrius II Nicator and took him prisoner; in 128 his son Phraates II killed Antiochus VII Sidetes in combat. When Syria was annexed by Pompey to the Repub¬ lican States (64 B.C.), the Arsacid Parthians continued to oppose any extension of the new Roman province to the east; in 53 B.C. the Suren of Orodes 1 bested the legions of the triumvir Crassus

at Carrhae (Harran); more than twenty thousand Roman soldiers

perished on the battlefield, ten thousand prisoners were taken in captivity to Merv, and the head of Crassus was transported to Artaxata and cast at the feet of King Orodes and his son Pacor- , us during a performance of the Bacchantes by Euripides. From

51 to 38, the Parthian armies commanded by Osaces and Pacorus invaded Roman Syria up to three times, finally to be repulsed at Gindarus (Jindaris in northern Syria) by General Ventidius Bassus. However, when (Mark) Antony, in the year 36 B.C., pro¬ ceeded to the Euphrates under the pretext of revenging the affront meted out to the corpse of Crassus seventeen years previously, Phraates IV, the son and successor of Orodes, inflicted a bloody

defeat on him at the battle of Phraata (Takht-1-Sulemeln) in Atro-

patene .

The incessant wars kept up by the Parthians at the end of the pre-Christian era against Seleucid Syria and the Roman Repub¬ lic considerably slowed trade overland between India and the Medi¬ terranean West; however, the growing progress of Alexandrian navigation under the Ptolemies of Egypt maintained contact between the two continents.

The Ptolemies (323-30 B.C.). - Under the first Lagidae, Ptolemy I Soter (323-285), Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285-246) and Ptolemy III Euergetes, Graeco-Egyptian ships attached to the port of Alex¬ andria still went no further than to explore the Red Sea and re¬ connoitre the Arabian coast as far as Bab-al Mandeh and the shores of the Somalis to the west of Cape Guardaful, initiating exchanges with the Sabaean Arabs of the Yemen and the local Ethiopians. However Euergetes, whose victory over the Seleucids briefly gave him possession of Mesopotamia, Babylonia and Suaiana, sent ships to re-explore the [[[Persian]]] Gulf, from the Euphrates to India. Without leaving the Gulf, however, this fleet sailed before the wind in the*direction of A1 Qatar then skirted the 'Pirate Coast' as far as Cape Maketa, modern Ras Masandan 3 ^.

In the reign of Ptolemy VIII, known as Physcon (145-116), coastguards on the [[[Persian]]] Gulf discovered a half¬ dead stranger on a shipwrecked boat. He was taught G^eek and, when he could speak it, the shipwrecked man explained that he had set out from India but, having gone astray and seen all his companions perish from hunger, he had been cast onto the Egyptian coast. He agreed, should the king intend to send an expedition to India, to act as guide. Euergetes II immediately equipped a ship, the command of which he entrusted to a certain Euxodus, who had come from Cyzicus to Alexandria as a theoros and spondo - phorus of the Choreian games. Euxodus therefore left with rich gifts for India from where he soon returned with a full lading of perfumes and precious gems, which Euergetes quickly acquired for himself. Some time later. Queen Cleopatra, the sister and widow of the king, sent Eudoxus back to India with greater resour¬ ces; while returning, the explorer was carried off by the monsoon to the south of Cape Guardaful and stranded in Ethiopia. He col¬

lected valuable information of a geographic and linguistic nature on that country and acquired a fragment of prow engraved with the effigy of a horse: the ship from which that piece of wreckage came had probably belonged to navigators from the West who had • ventured too far beyond the Lixus (Oued Draa on the southern fron¬ tier of Morocco). Back in Egypt, Eudoxus was once again frustrat¬ ed of his gains and Ptolemy IX Lathyrus, the son of Cleopatra, seized his cargo. Nonetheless, the explorer wanted to return to India, this time on his own account and by circumnavigating Africa to the vest: setting out from Alexandria, he called at Dicaerchia (Puteoli) in Italy, Massllla (Marseilles) in Gaul and Gades (Cadiz) in Spain; from there he sailed * before the wind out to sea, the Cape to his south. Wrecked on the coast which he hugged too closmly, he built a pentecontor out of the remains of his ship and continued on his way until a point where he en¬ countered peoples who obviously spoke the same language as the one whose^vocabulary he had recorded on his previous voyage.

He believed himself to be south of Cape Guardaful when in reality he was in Moiocco. Wishing to obtain some larger ships before sailing »on for India, he abandoned the expedition and vent back. The ventures of Eudoxus, first narrated by the geographer Posido¬ nius (born c. 135 B.C.), were repeated by Strabo 31 who criticises them point by point and rejects the whole story as 'A tale in the style of Antiphanes'. Nevertheless, our geographers gladly give some credit to the peregrinations of Eudoxus while remarking that the record does not supply any precise details on India, the object of the voyage, and that his vague definitionof it lacks


Under Ptolemy XII Auletus (80-51), Greek adventurers set foot on the island of Socotra, formerly called dvlpa Sukhadara 'the Happiness-bearing Island', but to which they gave the name of Dioscorides. Socotra, located on the route to India off Cape Syagrus (Ras Partak), was still too far from the departure bases and the new colonists Immediately ffell under the domination of the Arabs of the Hadhramaut 32 . At the time of the Perlplus of the Erythraean Sea , that is about the first century of. £he Chris¬ tian era, the island was still Inhabited by Arabs, Indians and Greeks. Thrusting their reconnoitres further along the Arabian coast, the Graeco-Alexandrian navigators learned that Acila, pre-

Buddhist Studies Review 5, 2 (1988)

sent day Ras as-Hadd, situated at the eastern extreme of southern Arabia, constituted an important emporium of thd" Sabaean Scenltes and that it was an embarkation-point for India 33 ; nevertheless, the hostility of the local inhabitants prevented foreigners from U6ing this port.


Relative peace in the East. The constitution of the Roman Empire and the policy of peace initiated in the East initiated by Augus¬ tus had most favourable results on the development of large- scale trade. The incessant hostilities which had formerly oppos¬ ed the Parthlans to the Romans lessened and long periods of peace, often continuing for several decades, cleared the way to Iran and India for merchants and navigators. After the victory of Actiura (30 B.C.), Augustus became closer to the Parthian King Phraates IV (37-2 B.C.) and gave him his youngest son to kq.ep

as a hostage; in exchauge, Phraates formally returned the eagles and standards of Crassus' legions to the Romans (20 B.C.). Phra¬ ates, wishing to demonstrate his confidence in Augustus, had his four sons educated in Rome. The king of the Persians was to die of poison through tue manoeuvres of his own wife Husa, a clave of Italian origin, and of his son Phraates. The latter mounted the throne in the year 2 B.C. where he remained until 9 A. C, without Rome raising any objections. When Phraates was overthrown by a palace revolution, Augustus, at the request of the Iranian nobility, sent to Persia the eldest son of Phraates IV who assumed the crown in the year 9 under the name of Vonones I (9-il A.C.) However, the Roman education the young prince

had received displeased his compatriots who exiled him to Syria and replaced him by a nobleman of Hyrcanian origin, Artaban III, who ruled from the years II to 43. The new sovereign was on generally friendly terms with Augustus and Tiberius. The Roman emperors had understood that Iran, over de-centralised and sapped by dynastic quarrels, did not constitute any danger and there was no point in dealing with it except defensively: Persia occu¬ pied a key position on the great routes of communication and could at will stop or favour intercontinental trade. Prom the military point of view. Imperial objectives were strictly limited

to the maintenance of the Roman protectorate over Armenia and the occupation of the strongholds in Mesopotamia.

Under Tiberius (14-37), Germanicus, who was named as comman ¬ dant of the eastern province, established a cllent-atate-of Rome* in Armenia (17), without provoking any reaction from the Persians. However, in 36 Vitellus, the governor of Syria, found it desirable to depose Artaban Ill and replace him on the throne of Seleucela with a rival, Tiridates III. The event ended in the triumph of Artaban, who returned victoriously to the capital, and Seleu- ceia was lost to the Hellenic cause.

Under Nero (54-68). the Parthian King Vologeses I (51-78) won Armenia from the ^Romans and installed his brother Tiridates there. Vanquished by General Domitius Corbulo, he nevertheless obtained an honourable peace in the terms of which his brother would continue to govern Armenia but receive his crown from the hands of Nero. The ceremony took place in the year 66 at Rome, to which the emperor proceeded with great pomp. He was planning, in agreement with the Parthians, to make an expedition to the Caucasus and the heart of Asia when death put an end to his pro¬ ject .

Some fifty years later, Trajan (97-117), wanting to seise Armenia from the hands of Osroes or Khosrau (107-130), disembark¬ ed at Antioch and, in the course of two campaigns (115-114), took Ctesiphon and conquered the major part of the Parthian em¬ pire. f However, while he was exploring the 'Erythraean Sea', near the [[[Persian]]) Gulf, the country rebelled. Once the revolt was quelled Trajan, having returned to Ctesiphon, placed the diadem on the head of Parthamaspates, the son of Osroes. Illness prevented him from consolidating his conquests and he died in < August 117 on * "the way home, at Sellnus in Clcllla. However, in 123 his successor Hadrian (117-138) concluded peace with Per¬ sia and the boundary of the Roman Empire was, once again, extend¬ ed to the Euphrates. Hostilities recommenced when Vologeses CXI (148-191) set his brother Pacorus on the throne of Armenia. Emperor Lucius Verus, co-regent of Marcus Aurelius, .-led the war for four years (162-165) with great success: vanquisher at Euro- poe, he rated the palace of Ctesiphon and burnt Seleucela. It would have been worse for the Persian kingdoms had. It nqt been

for a plague which decimated the Roman legions and forced them to retreat before they could spread throughout the empire. Again in 197, Septimus Severus (193-211) marched against Vologeses

IV (191-208) who threatened the stronghold of Nisibis in Mesopo¬ tamia; Babylonia was conquered and Ctesiphon laid waste. The Persians were not long in recovering: the last Arsacid, Artaban

V (213-227), despite the intrigues of his rival Vologeses, was able to inflict crushing defeats (217-218) on the emperor Macri- nus and impose heavy war tributes on him. Finally, in 226, the Parthian empire of the Arsacids collapsed under the attack of the Percian Ardashir who inaugurated the Sassanld dynasty in Iran. The new kingdom was to endure until 651 and present a more formidable threat to the decadent Roman Empire than the Parthians« 

Eviction of the Arab danger . - From the beginnings of the Roman Empire, the caravan towns located on the border of Parthian and Roman power, such as Damascus, Palmyra, Petra, etc., enjoyed a period of Increased prosperity. However, the safety of commer¬ cial trade was threatened by the Himyarite and Sabaean Arabs who ransomed the caravans and controlled navigation on the coasts of the Hejaz, Aslr, Yemen, Hadhramaut and Oman. Augustus resol¬ ved to make them see reason. A Roman expedition organised with the concurrence of the Egyptians, Jews and Nabataean Arabs from Petra was entrusted to Aelius Callus. Setting out from Cleopat- ris in the Gulf of Suez in the year 25 B.C., it crossed the Red Sea, disembarked at El Ha ira, pushed across the Nejd and Aslr as far as the frontiers of the Yemerv and Hadhramaut. Aelius Callus, launched In pursuit of an elusive enemy, wandered in the desert for more than six months and ended by relmbarklng

at Acre in order to regain the west shore of the Red Sea at Myos

Hormos . In about the year 1, Isodorus of Charax, commissioned by Augustus and with the authorisation of the Parthians, explored both shores of the (Persian] Gulf, and this reconnaissance proba¬ bly led to a raid on Arabia Felix (the Yemen] as well as the sack of Aden *by Caesar* 35 .

Freed from the threat made on their expeditions by the pilla¬ ging Arabs, the Graeco-Alexandrian merchants, financed by Roman money, intensified trade between the West and the East, a trade

which was hardly interrupted by the hostilities which broke out at regular intervals between Rome and Ctesiphon. Goods were transported by land and sea, and the length of the regular routes was accurately reconnoitred and described in numerous works plac¬ ed at the disposal of travellers, such as for example the Ceogra-*

phica of Strabo, the Stathmoi Parthikoi by Isodorus of Charax,

the Periplus of the Inner Sea by Menippus of Pergamum, the Peri- plus of the Erythraean Sea by an anonymous pilot, etc.

The Silk Road . - Internal trade was carried out along the Silk Road 36 , reconnoitred in the first century by agents of the Graeco- Syrian Maes Titianus. The information they collected was publish¬ ed in about the*year 100 A.C. by the geographer Karinus of Tyre

and reproduced a century later in the Ceographia of Claudius Ptolemaeus (128-170 A.C.) 37 . The Silk Road, linking the 30*

and 105* meridians, started at Antioch, the capital of Roman Asia,, and . ended in Lc-yang, the capital of China; the route was divided into two parts of basically equal length: the western section, from the Euphrates crossing to the Stone Tower, and the ea'stern section from the Stone Tower to China.

Starting at Antioch on the Orontes, the Silk Road crossed the Euphrates at Heirapolis (Menbij) and entered the Parthian kingdom. From there it crossed Ecbatana (Hamadan), Rhagae (Rayy, near modern Tehran), the Caspian Gates, Hecatorapylos (Charhud) and Antioch in Margiana (Merv). Then, entering the Kusana king¬ dom, it intersected the important communication junt tJlon of Bac- tra (Skt. Bahli), the capital of Bactria (Skt. Tukharasthana) and, continuing eastward, reached, at the foot^of the Komedai mountains, the Stone Tower (GR. Lithinos Pyrgos, Skt. Kabhanda), present-day Tas Kurgan in the Pamirs. It was there that the Levantine merchants exchanged their goods for bales of silk from China.

On 118 eastern section, which was particularly frequented by Serindlan and Chinese caravans, the Silk Road reached Kasgar (Skt. Khasa) where it subdivided into two tracks which ran re¬ spectively through the south and north parts of Chinese Turkestan.

The southern route, the oldest to be used, crossed Yarkand (Arghan), Khotan (Kustana),.Niya and Miran, eventually to reach the Serindlan kingdom of Lou-lan, later Shan-shan t in the region

Buddhist Studies Review 5, 2 (1988)

of Lop-Nor 30 .

The northern track, skirting the Tarim Basin to the north,

passed through U<5 Turfan (Hecyuka), Aksu (Bharuka), Ku6a (Kuci),

Kara&ar (Agni), Turfan, Hami, the Jade Gate and finally Tunhuang,

where it rejoined the southern route

The Silk Road then entered China proper, continuing through Chiu-ch' tian, Chang-yeh, Ch'ang-an (present-day Sian or Xian) and ended at the Han capital Lo-yang (modern Luo-yang).

At Bactra the Road was Intersected perpendicularly by another artery linking the capital of Turkestan with Sogdiana to the north and India to the south.

Leaving Bactra, the route to Sogdiana crossed the Oxus (Vak- su), passed through the Iron Gates and reached Samarkand (Mara- canda), the capital of Sogdiana (Sail). Describing a huge arc circling Ferghana, it crossed the Jaxartes, passed through Ta$- kent and, traversing the Land of a Thousand Streams, reached the town of Aksu through the T*ien-shan massif 40 .

The old Indian highway 41 which also began in Bactra ran south to the high peaks of the Hindu Kush and, through the passes of Kara-Kotal (2,840 'a.), Dandan Shikan (2,690 a.),'Ak Robat (3,215 m.), Shibar (2,985 m.), as well as the valleys of Ghorbadd and Kabul, arrived at the Indus which it crossed in order to reach Taxila. The main halting-places on the Bactra-Taxila section, which was some 700 km long, were: Bamiyan (Persian Bamlkan), Klpilt (Begram), Nagarahara (Jelalabad), Puskaravatl (Charsadda), Udabhanda (Und on the Indus) and, finally., /Taksadila 42 . The ancient highway diverged considerably from the modern Trunk Road which, starting in Mazar-e-Sharif or Khanabad,. passes through Bamiyan (or Salang), Kabul, Peshawar and Attock, ending at Rawal¬ pindi. In TaksaSila, the Indian highway curved south, reaching Mathura , on the right bank of the Yamuna, a tributary of the Gan¬ ges. Mathura communicated with the west coast via UjjaylnX and Bharukaccha, and with the east coast through KaudfnbX, Patallput- ra and Tamraliptl. A transverse track linked Ujjayinl, the chief town of Avanti, with Kaudambr, the Vatsa capital.

To the east of the old Bactra-Taxila artery, the obligatory route for any expedition of importance, began the mountainous tracks which connected India more closely with Kasgaria and Kho-

tan. We will describe only three of them here :

1. The Chitral trail mounting the course of the Kunar and communicating with Chinese Turkestan through the Baroghil Pass and the Vakhjir Pass.

2. The Gilgit route across the great Himalaya and Karakorum mountains (6,000 km. as the crow flies). Starting out from Srin¬ agar in Kadmlr, it traversed Bandipur, the Rajingan Pass (3,590 m.), Gurez, the Burzll Pass (4,188 m.), Godhai, Astor, Bunji, Gil¬ git, Mlsgar, the Kilik Pass (4,750 m.). Mintaka, Tas Kurgan (3,210 m.), the Ullong Pabst Pass (4,230 m.), finally ending in KaSgar (1,300 m.) 44 .

3. The route via Leh, also beginning in Srinagar*and linking the capital of Kadmlr with the southern Tarim Basin. Crossing Leh in Little Tibet, it traversed the high passes of the Ladakh Range, the Karakorum and Kun-lun mountains, rejoining Chinese Turkestan between Yarkand and Khotan. Since it reached altitudes of 6,000 m., it was oily practicable in summer.

The Silk Road and the secondary tracks did not serve exclu¬ sively for the transport of merchandise but were used also, as were the maritime routes at the same time, by the Chinese and Indian ambassadors tc reach their diplomatic posts. In 138’ B.C., the Han emperor Wu-ti sent his envoy Chang Ch*len to the* Greater YUeh-chih of Sogdiana and Bactria in order to conclude an alliance with them against the Hsiung-nu 45 . In 97 A.C., the Chinese general Pan Ch*ao, who had just pacified Serindla, sent his lieutenant Kan Ying to open relations with the Arsacid Parth- ians and the Roman Empire of Nerva; however, overawed by the length of the route, he only partly accomplished his mission and turned back in Parthia without going as far as Ta-ch*in 46 .

The Indians and*Scythians, of whom we know only the name, spontan¬ eously sent anbasssadors to Augustus to seek his friendship and that of the Roman people. One of these ambassadors sent by Pan- dion or Porus presented the emperor with rich gifts, and an Indian sophist who was included, Zarmanochegas or Zarmanus of Bargosa (Bharukaccha), repeating the spectacle presented earlier by Cala- nus to Alexander, burnt himself in Athens in 21 B.C. 47 . In the j reign of Claudius, between 41 and 54, a freedman having been carried by the monsoon to Taprobane, the king of Ceylon sent

Utt Buddhist Studies Review 5, 2 (1988)

to Claudius In return an embassy led by a certain Rachlas (rajan?) who .supplied Pliny with Information on the great island* 8 . In the year 99 an embassy from the king of India, doubtless Wima Kadphlses, arrived in Rome at the moment when Trajan was return¬ ing after his brilliant victory over the Dacae. Seated with the senators, the Indian envoys witnessed the emperor's triumph. At the end of the reign of Hadrian (117-138), the kings of the

Bactrians - undoubtedly the Kusana sovereigns of the North-West

- sent him legates to seek his friendship . In 138, during his accession, Antionius Pius (138-161) :also received Indians, Bactrians and Hyrcanians who came, once again, to offer an alli¬ ance 50 . Finally, between the years 218 and 222, the Babylonian historian Bardesanes was able to confer, at Emesa in Syria, with Dandaois, an envoy sent on an embassy to the emperor Elagabulus 5 *.

(To be concluded)

  • This article was originally published under the title of ‘Les premieres

relations entre l'Inde et 1'Occldent' in La Nouvolle Clio, V, 1-4 (1953), Melanges Albert Carnoy, pp.83-118. Translated from the French by Sara Boin- Webb with most grateful apprec ation to the Council of tho Buddhist Society, London, for generous financial aid.


1 The most valuable information is provided by the Greek and Roman geographers and naturalists. Main sources are the Geographies of Strabo (65 B.C.-20 A.C.), Naturalis Historia , XXXVII libri , by Pliny the Elder (23-79 A.C.), De Chorogra - phia, III libri , by Pomponius Mela (post 44 A.C.), Periplus of the Erythraean Sea by an unknown author of disputed date (end of the first century?). Ceogra- phia of Ptolemy (c. 100-179 A.C.), Historia Rctnana of Dio Cassius (post 229 A.C.) etc.

Among the long lists of surveys, noteworthy arc H.G. Rawlinson, Intercourse between India and the Western World ... to the Tall of Ranc , 2nd ed , Cambridge 1926; E.H. Warm! ngton. Commerce between the Reman Empire and. India, Cambridge 1928; M. Cary and E. Warmington. The Ancient Explorers , Cambridge 1929; and, more recently, J. Filllozat, 'Les ^changes ue l'Inde et de I'Empire romain aux premiers slides de l'6re chr6tienne', Revue historique , Jan-Mar 1949, PP.1-29.

7 Herodotus, IV 44; cf. Ill, 102.

For details of the itinerary followed by Alexander in Asia see W.W. Tarn, Alexander the Great, 2 vol., Cambridge 1948.

Ed, Since this essay was first published many of the place names, particularly Indian ones, have changed, but wc have not tried to update them all as this would add further to the already long lists. Also a vast literature has grown up around many of the topics discussed by Lamotte but space precludes the insertion of all the relevant additions to the bibliography. However, the following two items warrant mention by virtue of their incorporating major themes featured in the author's own work:’

Jean U. Sedlar India and the Greek World . A Study in the Transmission of Culture, Totowa, New Jersey 1980.

Irene M. Franck and David M. Brownstone The Silk Road . A History. New York , 1986.

See also, of course, the updated bibliography in E. Lamotte, History of Indian Buddhism , translated from the French by Sara Boln-Webb, Publications de L'ln- stitut Orientaliste de Louvain 36, Louvain-la-Neuve 1988.

(Notes fallow)

4 Strabo, XI, 8, 9; XV, 2, 0; Pliny, VI, 61.

5 Strabo, XI, 8, 9; Pliny, VI, 45.

6 Arrian, IncUAe, II, l: T& 61 dnd xoG *MoG «pdc /». xoGxo pot lexw ij x&p 7><56r yij.

7 Strabo, XV, I, 26-28; XV, 2, 8; Pliny, VI, 62.

8 Strabo, XV, 2,8,; XV, 1,11; Athenaeus, XI, 102, 500 d; XII, 39, 529 e; II, 74, 67 a; X, 59, 442 b; XII, 9, 514 f; Aelianus, De Nature Animalium, XVII, 17; V, 14.

9 Arrian, Anabasis, VI, 15, 7.

Arrian, Anabasis , VI, 3; Strabo, XV, 2, 11.

Early Relatione 1

29 For historical details, see C. Huart and L. Delaporte, L'lran Antique , Paris, 1943, pp.322 ff; R. Ghirshman, L'Jran dee Origines a f Islam, Paris 1951, pp.917 ff, 220 ff.

Pliny, IX, 6; cf. XII, 76.

31 Scrabo, II, 3, *-5.

32 Pliny, VI, 153; Periplus, 30; Cosnas Indicopleustes, III, 169 b.

33 Pliny, VI, 15K

34 Strabo, XVI, 4* 22-23; XVII, l, 54; Pliny, VI. 160-2; Dig Cassius, UII, •' 29; Virgil, Aeneid , VIII, 705.

35 Isodorus of Charax, LXXX ff; Periplus, 26.

36 On the Silk Road, see A. Hermann, Die alten 5eidenstrasse zvischen China

und Syrien, Ouellen und Forsch. z. alten Cesch. u. Geogr. , Berlin 1910, ‘Die

Seidenstrassen von China nach dem rdmischen Reich', Mitt . Cecg* Ces.,, Vienna

1915, p.472; 'Die alten chinesischen Karten von Zentralaslen und Westasien',

in Festschrift fur Fr. flirt/., Berlin 1920, p.185; Das Land der Seide und Tibet

im licht der An tike, I, Leipzig 1938; H. Luders, Wei t ere Beitrage zur* Ce-

schichte und Ceoyraphie vaa Ostturkistan, Sitz. Pr. Akad. d. Viss., Berlin 1930, p.17; P. Pelliot, La flaute Asie, and, as an appendix, 'Explorations et Voyages dans la Haute Asie', Paris 1931; R. Grousset, etc., I*Asie Orientate des Origines au XVe siecle, Paris 1949, p.198; l'Empire des Steppes, Paris 19- 39, p.78.

37 Ptolemy, Geographia, I, 11, 5-7, 12.

3 ® The southern track was especially reconnoitred between 1900 and 1915 by Sir Aurel Stein, who gave an account of his work in the book by Sir John Cam¬ ming, Revealing India's Past , London 1939, p#152.

The northern route was the object of several academic expeditions, among which should be mentioned the French Pelliot-Vaillant mission (1906-B), the German expeditions to Turfin (1902-14), the geographical survey by Sven Hedin

Buddhist Studies Review, 6, 1 (1989)

peased by the absence of animosity*.. [ incompleteJ.

    • ^e finds a knowledgeable companion* who is always

of good conduct in this world and surmounts all obstacles,

let him go with him* his mind receptive and alert.

  • V e ' does not find a well-experienced companion, who

is always of good conduct in this world, like a king departing from his lost kingdom, let him go alone and not commit any faults.

15. And if* while going, you do not find a companion who

Is your equal, (continue firmly on your) way alone: a

fool is not companionship.

alone is better; a fool (is not) companionship.

Go alone and do not commit faults, have few desires, like an elephant in the forest.

This varga is also called bhedavarga in the present Ms although its title is given here as drohavarga ,

(Translated by Sara Boin-Webb fiom the French of N.P. Chakravarti)


Etienne Lamotte


The maritime routes. - Under the last Lagidae, the metropolis of Alexandria, once so flourishing, was declining fast. The terrible reprisals taken on the populace by P.toleray Euergetes II (145-116) after his return to Egypt had practically entirely exterminated the Alexandrian element in which were perpetuated, in opposition to the uneducated locals and indlscplincd mercena¬ ries, the traditions and customs of ancient Greece. The magistra- ture no longer functioned, laws and rules were no longer applied and,- in all this anarchy, the prosperity of the town was no more than a memory. The situation improved rapidly when Egypt became a Roman province after the battle of Actium'(31 B.C.): assisted by three army corps and nine cohorts, the legate and administra¬ tors sent to Egypt >y Augustus reorganised' the policing and re¬ established local raagistratures. Alexandria soon recovered its activities: ’What today contributes most to its prosperity/

noted Strabo at the beginning of the Christian era, ’is that it is the only locality in Egypt yhich is equally well placed both for maritime trade, because of the excellent lay-out of its port, and for inland trade due to the ease with which all the goods sent down the Nile reach it, which causes it to be the greatest entrepot in the whole world.* Its commercial relations with India and Troglodytica (western Africa) have developed fur¬ ther. Since the most precious merchandise first reaches Egypt from tho~e two countries, there to be distributed throughout the world, Egypt exacts double cues (entry and exit dues) there* from, the heavier the more valuable are the goods, without count¬ ing the advantages inherent in any monopoly since Alexandria is, as it were, the only entrepot for such merchandise and it alone can supply other countries . On the west coast of the Red Sea, particularly at Myos Hormos and Berenice, other ports had been fitted up where ships sailing up or down the Persian Gulf could find a sure haven 53 . After the expeditions organized

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 1 (1989)

by Augustus against the pillaging Arabs of the Yemen and Hadhra- maut (25 and 1 B.C.), the way was free and, having gone up the Kile to Syene (Assuan) in the company of the prefect Aellus, Strabo was able to ascertain that 120 vessels left Myos Homos annually for India whereas, under the Ptolemies, few merchants had risked such a voyage 54 . The Alexandrian fleets generally called at the west coast of India, not caring to venture further east; nevertheless, certain merchants, though as yet very few, having touched land in India, hugged her coastline as far as the Ganges Delta 55 .

Progress in navigation made under the Empire consisted in the fact, that pilots, forsaking cabotage which they had practised until then, dared to risk the open sea by trusting in the move¬ ment of the monsoon. In addition to the old route from Aden to the Indus Delta along the coasts of Arabia and Makran, three new sea-ways were rapidly reconnoitred and used in the first century, of the Christian era: Aden - Barbarlcon or Aden - Bary- gaaa, Aden - the ports of Konkan, and finally, Aden - the Malabar coast.

1. The earlier cabotage seems still to have been customery at the beginning of the Empire. The fleets carefully hugged the coastline of the Indian Ocean which had already been explored from east to west by Scylax of Caryanda under thV Acbaemenlds, as well as by Nearchus under Alexander. Setting sail from Myos Hormos, the ships went down the Persian Gulf, at Aden skirted Arabia Felix, ran along the free Coast of Incense (Hadhramaut) to its easternmost point (Acila, present-day Ras-el-Hadd), sailed up the Gulf of Oman to the tip of Cape Maketa (Ras Masandan), regained the Makran coast which they followed to the mouth of the Indus, there*to drop anchor at Barbarlcon (Skt. Patala, modern Bahadipur), an important trading-post on the central arm of the Delta. 'Northward and inland,* says the Periplus , 'there is the “ctropolis of Scythia, Hinnigara, governed by Parthlans who, pressurised by internal dissensions, pursue each other; the ships remain at anchor in Barbarlcon, but ail the merchandise goes up the river to the capital' 56 . In fact, Indo^-Scythia Included the Pahlava and ^aka-Pahlava kingdoms respectively of Seletan and the Sindh which were unified in the reign of the Parthian sovereign Gondophares (c. 19-45 A.C.) but* on the death of the

king, fragmented into a series of independent satrapies which were forever in dispute: the western Punjab ruled by Abdagases, Arachosia and the Sindh reigned over successively by Orthagnes and Pacores, and the other territories governed by Sasas, Sapadena and Satavastra. This confused situation, which in no way impeded the activities of the ports or the movement of trade, continued until approximately the year 65 A.C., the probable date of the conquest of Indo-Scythia by the great Kusana king Kujula Kadphi-

Although at the time the maritime route was mainly used by , Graeco-Alexandrian navigators, the Indians in turn occasionally attempted one or two expeditions westward. Nicolaus of Damascus (c.64. B.C. - 4 4 A.C.), whose evidence is recorded by Strabo and Dio Cassius 5 ^, narrates how, while at Antioch in Syria, tie met an embassy which the Indians had sent to Caesar Augustus. The deputies, whom the hazards of the Journey had reduced ' to three* in number, bore a letter in Greek from King Porus or Pandion, in which the sovereign declared that, while being lord and master of 600 kings, he nonetheless set great store by the friendship of Caesar. He offered to give him free passage through his lands to go wherever he wished, even to assist him personally in any . honest and Just enterprise. In addition to the letter were * young man both of whose arms were amputated but who could draw a bow with his feet, a serpent two cubits in length, a giant tortoise and a partridge larger than a vulture. This walking circus was accompanied by the gyranosophist philosopher Zarmanoche- gas or Zarmanus, a native of Bargosa (Bharukaccha, present-day Broach); repeating the exploit of Calanus, he burnt himself in Athens after having laughingly climbed his own pyre. On his tomb the following inscription was engraved: 'Here'lies Zarmano- chegas, an Indian from Bargosa, who died a voluntary death, faith¬ ful to the custom of his fathers.*

This account, which is full of anachronisms and contradictions, is probably a pastiche invented to transfer to the name of Augus¬ tus the Indian adventures of Alexander, the vanquisher of Porus, who was interested in exotic philosophies and magic. However, the legend enables us to infer the possibility, if not the fre¬ quency, of Indian expeditions to the West at the time of Augustus.

Buddhist Studies Review 6, l (1989)

2. It was in the early years of the reign of Tiberius (14- 37 A.C.), it is believed, that Hippalus, a particularly intrepid Creek pilot, - iJli robur et aes triplex , Horace supposedly decla¬ red! - forsook in- and off-shore navigation in order to sail before the wind on the high seas, making use on his. outward voyage of the south-west monsoon (May to October) and, for the return, the north-east monsoon (November to March). First skirting the coastline of southern Arabia ro the tip of Cape Syagros (Ras Fartak), he then headed for the open sea in a straight line in the direction of India, landing either at Barbaricon on the Indus Delta in Indo-Scythla, or at Barygaza (Bharukaccha) at the mouth of the Narbada. In memory of that exploit, repeated by numerous emulators, the name of Hippalus was given to the south-west mon¬ soon, to a cape on the African coast, as well as to part of the Arabian Sea. Seemingly Hippalus is wrongly attributed with the discovery, or at least rediscovery, of the monsoon. Already by the time of Nearchus, as we saw above, the movement of the etesian winds was fully known to the Greeks and from then on never ceased regulating coastal navigation. However, Hippalus used it, not for coastal sailing, but for an excursion on the high seas. It is audacity rather than a knowledge of the winds that was Hippalus* merit. This fact io clear from a paragraph in the Perlplus of the Erythraean Sea : 'All the coastal naviga¬

tion from Kane (on the southern Arabian coast) and Arabia Felix (Aden) was made by earlier navigators by means of cabotage in small ships. But Hippalus, a pilot, having reconnoitred the situation of the (Indian) ports and the configuration of the (Arabian) Sea, was the first to discover sailing on the open sea. It is from him that... the Libonotus (south-west wind) which blows on the Indian Ocean, seems to have received its name (of Hippalus). Since then and until now, navigators set out directly (to the open sea), some leaving from Kane, others sailing from the Coast of Incense. Those who sail towards Limyrice (Mala¬ bar coast) tack for most of the time; while those who make for Barygaza (Broach on the Gulf of Cambay) or Scythia (Sindh) hug (the Arabian coastline) for no more than three days and, finding a wind faourable to their course, reach the high seas and sail in the open to the aforesaid ports' 58 .

The northern route discovered by Hippalus seems, at least at

the beginning of the Empire, to have been the most used. It led directly from Aden to Barbaricon (1,470 miles) or Barygaza (1,700 miles). Barbaricon, a great trading centre which served North-West India, was easy of access; conversely, entering Bary- xgaza was highly dangerous: navigators coming from the open sea risked running aground . on the sandy dunes of t v e F.irinos (Rann and the Gulf of Kutch) or breaking up on the reefs of the Barake promontory (Dvaraka, present-day Dwarka) at the eastern point of Sur.astrene (Saurastra or the Kathiawar peninsula) 59 . Those who were forced to sail that route therefore had to turn about and take to the high seas along the southern coast of Surastrene where local fishermen piloted them across the Gulf of Cambay to the port, of Barygaza, at the mouth of the river Lamniaos (Nar¬ bada in Sanskrit) 60 . At the time of the Perlplus, that is. towards the end of the first century A.C., this major port formed part of the possessions of King Manbanus who ruled over Aberia (Halva) and Aparanta in northern Konkan. This Manbanus in the Perlplus has been identified by A.M. Boyer with the rajan ksaharata ksatta-

  • pa Nahapana , The Ksaharata satrap king NahapSna, that is, in

Iranian, 'Protector of the People'. He struck coins of silver, nickel and copper bearing on the obverse the head of the satrap to the right, with traces of Greek characters and, on the reverse, the symbols of the thunderbolt and arrow with Indian legends in Brahml and KharosthI script 61 . His name appears on eight Buddhist inscriptions discovered in the caves at Karli, Nasik and Junnar, commemorating the generosity of his son-in-law Usvada- ta and his minister Ayama towards the Community of monks Two of them bear the dates 41 , 42 , 45 and 46, probably to be

interpreted as the Saka era: 119, 120, 123 and 124 A.C. Although the Perlplus locates his capital at Minnigara in Aryake, probably Junnar, the Jaina legend makes him king of Bharukaccha and sup¬ plies details of the skirmishes of Nahavahana (- Nahapana) with his powerful neighbour, King Salavahana (- Satavahana) of Pai- han 63 . In about the year 124 in fact. Nahapana was overthrown

by a Satavahana king of the Deccan, Gautamlputra Sri SStakarni, who was then in the eighteenth year of his reign . At the time of the Perlplus , the kingdom of NahapSna abounded in wheat, rice, sesame oil, butter, and cotton which served to make coarse fabrics; pasturages were .numerous, the inhabitants taller than average

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 1 (1989)

and black-skinned 65 . Barygaza (Bharukaccha) was linked with the North West by a great artery, the main halting-places of which were Ozene (Ujjayini) in Avanti, Modura (MathurS) in Sura- sena country, Taxila (Tak$a6ila) in the western Punjab and, final¬ ly, Proklais (Puskarava 1 1) the capital of Gandhara. Proklais supplied extract of spikenard oil to Kaspapyrus (Multan) and in the Paropnmisadae, coitus, an aromatic Indian plant, and rub¬ ber; Ozene exported onyx stones, porcelain, linen textile and coarse fabrics in quantity 66 . Barygaza also communicated via rough tracks with the interior markets of Dakhinabades (Daksina- patha or the Deccan), the most important of which were Paithana (Pratisthana) and Tagara (Ter), respectively situated twenty and thirty days by foot from Barygaza. Paithana supplied onyx, and Tagara, textiles and cotton goods. All this merchandise was taken by cart to Barygaza where it accumulated on the quays. The Graeco-Alexandrian merchants exchanged it for articles from the Vest: metals, glassware, gold and silver work, cheap perfumes, boy-musicians, girIs destined to prostitution and especially 'gold and silver denarii, more highly valued on the exchange markex than the local coinage' 67 .

3. At the time of the Periplus , the ports and markers in the Bombay region were the object of protectionlst' measures and, consequently, avoided by foreign traders. It appears from the Indian sources that the port of Surparaka and the market of KalyS- na played a major part in maritime traffic and local trade, but the Poripius advises against them: 'Beyond Barygaza are situated local emporia of little importance, in this order: Suppara (Sur¬ paraka, modern Sopara) and Calliena (Kalyana, present-day Calli- ani); the latter town, at the time of Saragenes the Elder, was a regular market but, when Sandanes captured it, its activity was heavily curtailed and the Greek ships which venture to those places (are seized) and taken under escort to Barygaza' 6 ®, It was therefore not without reason that, half a century later, Ptolemy the geographer designated the towns of Konkan by the name of Towns of the Andres Poiratai 69 , that is, of the piratical Andhras, from the name of the Andhra or Satavahana sovereigns who then ruled over the region. However, one of the versions of the legend of Saint Thomas claims that the apostle first reach¬ ed India in the neighbourhood of Jaygarh in southern Konkan;

a papyrus by O^yrhynchus 70 records a meeting In the sane place between the local inhabitants and Greek navigators; finally and in particular, the inscriptions rediscovered in the caves at Nasik. Junnar and Karli mention among the generous benefactors of the Buddhist Community several Vavanas who, at least In part, were Greeks (Iones) 71 . #

4, However, the extreme south of the peninsula supplied tra¬ ders with even more coveted goods: pearls from the Culf of Hanaar, beryl from the mines of Coimbatore and pepper from the Malabar coast. The Romans were informed of all these riches by four Sinhalese ambassadors who went to Rome during the reign of Claudi¬ us (41-54 A.C.). An affranchised slave of Annius Plocamus, a

'tax-farmer' of the imperial treasury at the Red Sea, was carried away by* the winds 4 when he was turning the Cape of Aden and, after sailing for fifteen days, was cast onto the coast of Taprobane (Sri Lanka) near Hippuri. Made welcome by the king of the country, at that time BhStikibhaya 72 . the freedman learned Sinhalese and was able to answer the questions put to him by the locals on Italy and the Romans. The king of Taprobane, wishing to estab¬ lish friendly relations with Emperor Claudius, sent an embassy to Rome under the leadership of a certain Rachias, doubtless an anonymous rajan. Once they had reached their destination, the envoys provided the Romans in general and Pliny in particular with all kinds of information concerning the island of Ceylon and Sinhalese trade with the Seres (Chinese) beyond the Himalaya mountains 7 ^. *

Doubtless attracted by the lure of fabulous gains, an unknown navigator, even more audacious than Hippalus, attempted to reach the Malabar coast by setting sail from Aden and following an arc bent northwards, some 2,000 miles in length. This exploit which, it is believed, took place around the year 50 of the Chris¬ tian era, opened up a fourth sea-route towards India. The Periplus alludes to ft when it speaks of hardy intrepid navigators who, setting out from Kane or the Coast of Incense, 'steer towards Limyrice (Malabar coast) by tacking for most of the time* .and Pliny states that in order to use that route, the most advantage¬ ous departure point is Ocelis (Celia near Aden) and that from there one sails with the Hippalus wind for forty days as far as Huziris, present-day Cranganorc, the foremost market of India

According to the evidence of Pliny the Elder, the Periplus and Claudius Ptolemy, the ports of southern India were the scene of intensive trade during the second half of the first century and the whole of the second century of the Christian era. Here we shall mention only those whose Tamil name is easily recognis¬ able through their Greek and Latin transcription.

In the Cera region, on the Malabar coast:

Tondi: Krjoo^iQov 0 f t hc Pcriplus (Nos 53, 54) and of Ptolemy

MuciRi: the Muziris of Pliny (VI, 104), Mottos 0 f t h e p er ipi us (Nos 53, 54) and of Ptolemy (VII, 1, 8), *a port packed with Greek ships from Ariake* where long pepper (pippall, Greek )

was purchased with gold. The Peutinger rabies (Ch.XII), publish¬ ed in about the year 226 A.C., mention a temple of Augustus there.

Karuvur: Koqovq<i, , the royal town of A'i^/Moo; (Ptolemy, VII, 1, 86 ).

In the kingdom of the Pandyas, on the west and east coasts of Cape Comorin:

Nelcynda and Bacare noted by Pliny (VI, 105), the Periplus (Nos 55, -58) and Ptolemy (VII, 1, 8 and 9), the Tamil name of which as well as the exact location are unknown, perhaps Kotayara and Pokarad.

Kumari: Ko/iap, Kopunct 0 f the Periplus (Nos 58, 59), of Pto¬

lemy (VII, 1, 9), Cape Comorin.

KoRkei: pearl fisheries of the hotyn (Periplus, No.59; Ptolemy, (VII, 1, 10), the town of King Uuv6hu*.

In the Cola kingdom, on the Coromandel coast *(Colamandala): KSvirlpattiNam: the Cabirus of Pliny (VI, 94), Kuuaon of the Per - plus No.60), of Ptolemy (VII, 94), the great emporium of

the iVi*iyy«i (Colas) at the mouth of the Kaveri.

URandei: 9 (te0ovQ*i 0 f Ptolemy (VII, I, 91), capital of the (Co —

sovereign), today buried beneath the sands.

Pushing their reconnaissances further east, a small number of Greeks, doubtless making use of local embarkation points, risked venturing into the Gulf of Bengal. Among the Indian mar¬ kets and ports on the east coast where the navigators from Limyr- ice and the north put in, the Pcriplus records in this order: Camara (Kaviripatt INara ), Poduce (Pondicherry?) and Sopatraa (Mad-

ras?) 76 . Small coasters there served the ports of Limyrice, sangaras assembled by joining up large 'piraguas' (barques made from a single piece of timber], and kolandias (from the Skt. kola, 'raft'), vessels of the high seas, sailing from the Ganges Delta or the Chrysl Chersonesos, the ancient El Dorado correspon¬ ding to the Suvarnabhumi of the Indians and which may vaguely be located in Malaysia or part of Burma. ' It was, according to the Periplus, these local ships which the Greeks used to recon¬ noitre the island of Taprobane or Ceylon, Maisolia (Masulipatam) or Andhra country between the mouth of the Kistna and the Godava¬ ri, Dosarene (Da£arna)* or the region of Tosall in Orissa, and doubtless also Burma and Malaysia

penetration inland . - In the first century of the Christian era

foreign navigators, retained by their commercial activities at the ppr^s.'vhardly ventured into the Interior of the Indian lands.

We know, however, from the periplus, that they were acquainted with some half-dozen Indian kingdoms on the central mainland

was referred to above (.Periplus , No.41); 2. The Dakhinabades

(DakslnSpatha) under Saraganus or rather the Satakarnls or Sita- vahanas of the Deccan (Nos 50, 52); 3. Limyrice or Dimyrice (Tao- ilakam, Dravida) including the whole of the coast of Malabar (Nos 31, 32 , 47) and containing the kingdoms of Cerebothros or Keralaputra (No.54), Pandlon or Pandya (Nos 54, 59), Argalos or Uragapura (No.59); 4. Maisolia or the modern district of Masu¬ lipatam (No.62); 5. Dosarene (Da$arna) or the region of Tosall


Fifty years later, under the Antonine dynasty (96-192 A.C.), foreign traders, gaining in assurance, ventured further inland, and the Indian kingdoms listed in Book VII, chapter . of the

Ccographia by Ptolemy are more than a dozen in number: l.'Ozene (UjjayinI), the royal town of Tiastenes* (VII, 1, 63), the Maha-

ksatrapa rajan Castana who ruled about the year 130 A.C., and

who left coins and Sanskrit inscriptions on which he bears the

sonorous titles of Lord {svamin) , Well-Named {sugrhltanaman ) and August Visage (nnadraraukha ) 78 . - 2. ’Kingdom of Baithana

(Pratisthana) ruled by Sir! Ptolemaius’ (VII, 1. 82),-more pre¬

cisely Vasisthlputra Sri Puluraayi, whose reign lasted for at

Buddhist Studies Review 6, ] ( ]989^

least tventy-iour years (c.131-155 A.C.). and who left numerous inscriptions at KSnheri, Nasik, Karli, Dharanikot and AmarSvatT 79 .

“ 3 »' 'Kingdom of Hippokoura (Kolhapur) governed by Beleokouros* (VII, 1, 6 and 82), Vilivayakura , a royal title appearing on certair coins of Gautamfputra and Vasisthlputra 88 . - 4. Kingdom of Hus opallis in Canarene country (VII, 1, 84). - 5. Kingdom of Karoura (Karuvur) governed by Cerebothros or Keralaputra (VII,

1. 86). - 6. Pounnata in southern Mysore (VII, 1, 86). - 7, King¬ dom of the Aiol , capital Kottiara, to the south of Travancore (VII, 1, 9 and 87). - 8. Kingdom of the Kareoi in the valley of Tamraparn* (VII t 1, 10 and 88). - 9. Kingdom of Modura (Madura) governed by the Pandions or Pandyas (VII, 1, 89). - 10. Kingdom of the Batoi, capital Nikama (VII, 1, 12, 74 and 90). - 11. King¬ dom of Orthura (URandei) ruled by a Sornas or Cola (VII, l, 91).

2. Kingdom of Sora (Cola), governed by Arkatos (VII, 1, 68).

13 • Kingdom of Malanga (Mavilangai? Kanchl?) ruled by Barsaro- nax (VII, 1, 92). - 14. Kingdom of Pitura or Pithuda (VII, l, 93).

Indian evidence, - The Creek and Latin naturalists and geogra¬ phers were not alone in emphasising the Importance ^>f the trade initiated at the beginning of the Christian era> between West and East; the fact is also stressed by the Tamil Sangam writers 81 , discoveries of Roman coins in the Deccan area and the cosmopoli¬ tan nature of harbour establishments on the Indian coast.

The Tamil Sangam literature, which describes events that occur¬ red during the first two or three centuries of the Christian era, celebrates the abounding prosperity of MuciRi 'where fine vessels, masterpieces of Yavana workmanship, arrive with gold and depart with pepper' 82 . It is the town 'where fish is sold, where rice is amassed, where sacks of pepper accumulate, where liquor abounds, and which presents all comers with a confusion of goods from the mountains and goods from the sea’ 83 . At KoRkei, a town of the Pandya king, 'fine pearls, precious marvels greatly esteemed^ throughout the world, grow and mature in brilliant shells ; there is savoured 'teRal (wine) of sweet perfume, brought by the fine Yavana vessels' 8 ^.

The rapid Increase of- wealth in Rome at the beginning of the Empire created an unprecedented demand for- Eastern merchandise:

Early Relations II

spices, pearls, ivory, wood and silk. The measures taken by Tiberius to check this spread of luxury which carried Roman money to foreign and hostile peoples failed lamentably . India, China and Arabia relieved the Empire of an hundred millions sesterces a year 87 ; Indian alone drained half this sum against local mer¬ chandise sold in Italy and an hundred times its value . Imperial currency abounded in the ports of Malabar, Muzlris* Nelcynde and Bacarc 89 . Of the eighty-odd treasure-troves of Roman coins found on Indian and Sinhalese soil, the richest were discovered

in the Deccan** thirty-six in the State of Madras, four in Mysore, and twenty-two in Ceylon, the majority of them being denarii of Augustus (14 A.C.), Tiberius (37 A.C.) and Claudius (54 A.C.).

The bleeding of the currency continued until the. end of the fourth century: at SIgiriya, in Sri Lanka, 1,675 coins have been collected, the last of which dates from the reign of Emperor Honorius (395-423).

Recent excavations undertaken in ,the region of Pondicherry at VIrapatnam 91 , also known to archaeologists as Kakayentope or Arikamedu, and which possibly corresponds to the ancient Poduce of the .Periplus and of Ptolemy, have, in the northern sector of the site, brought to light the ruins of a huge warehouse, 150 feet in length, and in the southern sector, traces of a *us- lin manufactory enclosed by walls and containing bottomless wells, with a vast network of canals for the draining of water. Indica¬ tions of an archaeological nature serve to situate the warehouse in about 50 B.C. and the manufactory in approximately 50 A.C. This latter date appears to be confirmed by the few Brahml in¬ scriptions in middle Indian or Tamil discovered on site: one of them bears the figure 275, in which J. Filliozat sees a date referring to the introduction of ASokan culture in the tamll region in approximately 251 B.C. The inscriptions would there¬ fore date frofc the year 24 A.C. The most important finds consist of minor objects made, of terracotta, metal, stone and glass. Alongside local Indian artefacts are others of foreign origin: a Roman terracotta lamp, some wooden bowls,- a cornallne ring setting engraved with the effigy of Augustus, a quartz intaglio representing Cupid, and especially Italic pottery bearing the seal of the workshops of Arretiun (Arezzo in Tuscany): vibll, Camuri, rtta. etc. In the opinion of R.F. Faucbeux and (Sir)

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 1 (1989)

Mortimer Wheeler. VIrapatnam was a Roman factory, a branch of the great Italic workshops which the slump of Arrentine pottery in Western markets from the year 50 A.C. made them decide to expatriate. The existence of a Roman emporium in the Gulf of Bengal at the beginning of the Christian era implies that, accor¬ ding to M. Wheeler, the south-west monsoon was known and utilised by Western navigators at a period much earlier than had generally been presumed. However, we have already expressed the opinion that the movement of the cteslan winds was known to the companies of Alexander, in particular to Nearchus, and that the new sea- routes opened up by Hippalus in the reign of Tiberius consisted simply in making use of the monsoon for voyages on the high seas. Furthermore, the hypothesis which suggests that VIrapatnam was a #Roman factory is not tenable: according to the judicious remark made by J. Filliozat, the Indians were sufficiently skilled and active to create by themselves an industry imitating the luxury ar ticles imported fron the Mediterranean world. The presence in VIrapatnam of millstones, polishers and rough or semi-carved stones proves that the lapidarist craft was practised on the spot; while continuing to manufacture Indian objects, the local craftsmen could well have reproduced articles of foreign origin. The problem posed by VIrapatnam is connected with that of the workshops of Central Asia: at Rawak, Yotkan and in the Niya Val¬ ley have been found, alongside intaglios of Indo-Scythian or Partho-Sassanid inspiration, other intaglios derived directly from the classical tradition representing Zeus, Athene, Eros and Herakles. It may be wondered whether these seals were impor¬ ted directly from the workshops of Bactria and Roman Syria or whether they were not rather made on the spot by local artists and itinerant lapidarists. As for the Arretine pottery discover¬ ed at VIrapatnam, it could have come from old stock sold off at the Indian markets after the closure of the Western bazaars in which, after the. year 50 A.C., this merchandise found no ta¬ kers.

Indian navigation . - While not displaying anything like the same amount of activity as the Graeco-Alexandrian navigators, Indian sailors occupied an honorable place on the sea-routes, whether as simple coastal traffic, as attested to from the highest anti¬ quity, or as expeditions out to sea. Unfortunately, accounts

Early Relations II

of voyages consigned co Indian texts are so surrounded by legend and lacking i-n chronological indications that there is little upon which # to depend.

The Sinhalese chronicles of the DIpa- and Mahavamsa demonstrate how easy and frequent relations between the Indian sub-continent and the island of Ceylon were. In the sixth century B.C., in the remote times of the Buddha, a group of Simhaias, natives of La la or Lata (Gulf of Cambay) embarked at the port of SurpSra- ka; after a long expedition, they set foot in Ceylon and gave the island their name, 'Island of the Simhala' (Simhaladvlpa), and their dialect, Sinhalese, closely linked t‘o the language of Kathiawar 92 . After the ninth year of his rule (252 B.C.), Agoka sent his messengers of the Dharma to TamraparnI, thus estab¬ lishing relations with the kings of Ceylon which were never to be broken 93 ,. Ten years later (242 B.C.), Devanarapiyatissa des¬ patched to Pataliputra an embassy which returned to him laden with gifts and bearing a pressing invitation to embrace the*Doc¬ trine of the Buddha 94 . That same year the Buddhist monk Mahinda,

ASoka's* son, and his companions landed in Ceylon and began their teaching tours which were rapidly to culminate in the inversion of the island 95 . The novice Sumana soon returned to Pataliputra where he acquired relics of the Buddha 96 ; he was followed almost immediately by Arittha, the king of Ceylon’s nephew,^ who was sent to ASoka to obtain the assignment of Buddhist nuns . These last, with Samgharaitta, ASoka's own daughter, at their head immedi¬ ately embarked at TamraliptI and, after a day’s crossing, landed at Jambukola, carrying a Bodhi tree with them 8 . These religious conquests were to be succeeded by other less peaceful ones: during the last centuries of the pre-Christian era, Ceylon was invaded as many as three times by Tamil conquerors from the mainland who succeeded in remaining on the island for several decades: Sena and Guttika from 172 to 150 99 ; the Cola prince Elira from 140 to 96 100 ; his nephew Bhalluka, who disembarked with an expedi¬ tionary force of 60,000 men but was promptly repulsed back to sea by Dutthagamani 101 ; the five Damilas, Pulahatta, etc., who ruled in Anuradhapura from 39 to 24

In the Vinayas, Jatakas and Avadanas we find several accounts of voyages on the high *eas, but the present state of the documen- Review 6, I ( 1989)

tacion does not enable us to d*ate them precisely. This liters-

j ture is both fantasist and stereotyped. The heroes, whom they

! call Mahatyagavat, Kalyaijakarin and Papakarin, Maitrakanyaka

or Maitrayajha . performed exploits or underwent adventures,

j 1 the setting of which was fixed in advance. A group of merchants,

invariably numbering five hundred, plan an expedition and choose fjj a young man of great virtue as their captain. His parents or

betrothed attempt in vain to put him off the voyage. The mer- chants assemble at a port and ensure the services of an old half*

. blind pilot
he has already sailed the open sea six times and

this new venture will be his last, 'since a man has never been I seen who, having returned from the high seas safe and sound with

| his boat six times, has returned a seventh.* The ship anchored

} ln Port is attached by seven mooring-ropes and, once the departure

j ;! has been decided, one of them is cut each day; on the seventh

day . propelling wind rises which drives the ship out to sea,

ing sharks, shark-eaters and finally cetaceans of monstrous pro- ij portions. The makara, which dwells in the deepest waters but

yv which sometimes emerges on the surface, has a. head a high as

tbe sky, from a distance its eyes resemble two sjins in the firma¬ ment, and its teeth, steep cliffs. When it opens its jaws, fish, tortoises, dolphins and sea-horses are engulfed as a whole, and i a ship that sails too close runs the great danger of being swal-

! lowed by it. If it avoids that danger, it then encounters a

tempest which generally breaks out seven days after departure,

when the ship has already sailed seven hundred leagues. The

five hundred merchants perish in the shipwreck and the captain alone escapes the catastrophe. However, his adventures continue an< * takes him seven weeks to reach the end of his journey;

for seven days he swims in deep water until he reaches shore; for three weeks he continues his way submerged up to the neck, up to the hips and then up to the knees; for a further three weeks^ he successfully crosses a mud-bank, a lotus park, then a lair of poisonous snakes. He finally arrives at a marvellous

* town, made of seven Jewels and defended by seven trenches. There

he finds coveted treasure, precious gens or the philosopher's stone. On the way back, his treasure is usually stolen from him b y Na gas and, in order to recover it, he undertakes to empty

Early Relations II

the sea with his hands. His energy is then recompensed and hia treasure returned to him. Once .back hone, he rediscovers his old parents, who have been blinded by tears, and his betrothed who has waited for him. : •_* #

A Timingilajataka or 'Jataka of the Leviathan' is represented on a medallion at Bharhut with the mention: 'Vasugupta taken to the shore after having been rescued from the stomach of the leviathan through the intervention of Mahadeva' . The medallion was made about'the year 150 B.C., and the legend In question is recorded at length In several texts 105 : the monk Dharmaruci, having been reborn in the form of a gigantic whale, was On the point of swallovaing a ship when the distressed passengers invoked the Buddha. The former monk, recalling his previous vows, closed his jaws and the ship was spared.

The ports of embarkation most frequented by- Indian sailors were those of Tararaliptl (Tamluk) on the east coast, Bharukaccha (Broach) and Surparaka (Sopara) on the west coast. At the time of the Periplus , access to the last-named was reserved for In¬ dians, and Greek ships which ventured there were seised end taken under escort to Barygaza 106 . Local navigation used many other ports, the list of which is found in the Mahanlddeea, Milindapanh; and Brhatkatha 107 ; it contains close analogies with Ptolemaic nomenclature and like it must date from the second century A.C. Sylvain L6vi, who studied it in detail 108 , remarks that it deve¬ loped as the plotting of a huge periplus which sots out from the Far East, touches the coasts of India and loses itself in the depths of the West. If, he says, we find in it some names as yet little known or unknown, we nonetheless have sure referen¬ ces to Java, Suppara, Bharukaccha, Surattha, Tona and Allasanda (Alexandria).

Indian # merchants seem to have been particularly attracted to the markets of Babylonia, wood from Timor and gold from Suvarna- bhumi. Merchants from Varanasi went to Baveru (the Babiru of the w cuneiform texts, ancient Babylonia) where, for gold, they sold peacocks which they used together with crows to guide their navigation 109 . Dealers in the wood of Surpiraka attempted t< exploit the great forest of Godlrsa sandalwood, located beyonc distant oceans; they regularly encountered terrible storms.

Buddhist Studies Review 6, 1 (1989)

as did Dharukarnln who, on the open sea, was subjected to a hurri¬ cane unleashed against him by the yaksa Mahe&vara and he owed his escape only to the intervention of his brother Purna; that holy man flew through the air to the distressed ship and, seated cross-legged above the vessel, soon calmed the fury of the waves . However, according to the evidence of the Mahakarraa- vibhaAga, it was especially for Ceylon, the islands of the Archi¬ pelago. and Suvarnabhumi that the sailors of the Great Ocean made . Suvarnabhumi, the Chryse Chersonesos of the Periplus and Ptolemy, which is vaguely situated in Burma or Malaysia, by tunn attracted merchants from Varanasi such as Sankha, from

Campa Such as Mahajanaka and even a musician from Surparaka,

such as Sagga . The Sinhalese chronicles claim that Suvarna¬ bhumi was converted to Buddhism shortly after the Council of Pataliputra (c.242 B.C.), by the missionaries Sona and Uttara 113 ; but other sources have no hesitation in dating that conversion as far back as the time of the Buddha himself, who supposedly entrusted the holy Gavampati with teaching the Dharma to the population of Suvarnabhumi over an area of an hundred leagues.

The legend recorded in the KarmavibhaAga is still widespread

In Bftrma today . In fact, however, the Indiani 3 ation of Burma dates from no earlier than the fifth century A.C. 115 , and it is most unlikely that Buddhist propaganda could have reached the region before then* 16 .

The foregoing brief account, in which the history of the re¬ lations between India and China should also have found its place**^, is enough to demonstrate that, in the first years of the Christian era, India came out of her millenary isolation and entered the world complex. New routes were thus opened up

to religious propaganda, particularly to the Doctrine of the Buddha which was able to make use of the possibilities offered to it, but only in part. For reasons which we shall explain elsewhere, it disdained the Western world, which, was indifferent or hostile to the Good Word, and turned all its solicitude to China and the Far East, ready to receive the teachings of tht Buddha.

(Concluded )

Translated by Sara Boin-L'ebb with thanks to the Buddhist Society of London

Early Relations 11

52 Strabo. XVII, 1. 13 <tr. after Tardleu).

53 Strabo, XVII, 1, 45.

5 * Strabo, II, 5, 12.

55 - Strabo, XV, 1, 4.

58 Periplus, 38-39.

57 Strabo. XV, 1, 73; cf. XV. I, 4; Dio Cassius, UV. 9 .

58 Periplus, .57: ToCror <5{ iXo, I i* tl en plvo, n'gtnXovY iso Keviji xailtrjC Eitotpo*o •A t ap( a { of pi* <ngixtgot> p,xQoxl e ei( xXotoif ju e .xoAW{om C IsXto*. x f <i»o { ii */>o lot xvfite*<lxfi(, xara»oi}oa{ xi)r Olatr rm* Ipnogla)* xa) t i oxipa xfjt OaXiaatic, xi* die

,niXiyov ( ittOgt nXoi*jif o i xai wn.xiic l* <ixco*oO <pia<i*xo>*. Ini.] xatd xaifi* ni irrfitxov iv x$ 7v<5ixy ntXdytt Xifidvoxot (palvtxai <uinaXot> n e oc ovofidCiaOax \dnA nQourjyoQlat xov nQu>xo>t itevQr}K6xos xAv\&tdnXow\. ’Ay' o&/iixQt xui xtvi

^piv tiOAt'dnA Kavfj, tivic M dnd x&v\*AQtoydxiov d 9 (ev re;, ol piv tit AwvQtxt)* nXiovx ini nXtto*'x Q axvM otrts ' ot di Bagtyata* ot xt tit rxvOtav ov nXtlov fj XQtlt fjpigat dv Xovot xai xd Xotnov f naQtnKfigov ngdt dgdfiov vynXoi lx t»]c x&qa Cttid tow Uw9t* [y

naQanXiovot tods ngottQrjfiivovt xdXnovt .

59 Poriplus, 40.

60 Poriplus, 44.

61 E.J. Rapson, Indian Coins , $178-79 and pi.Ill, l.

62 II. Lvidere, 'List of Brahral InscrlptIons’ ( Bpigraphia Indica t X, Appendix) ■Nos 1099, 1131-1136, 1174.

63 Cf. the CurnI by JlnadSsagani, a commentary upon a gffthj by Bhadraba.m .paasage edited'and translated by S. Uvl. •Kanlsk. et Sgt.vdhan.’. Journo Aslatlque, Jan.-Mar. 1936. pp.67-70. ,

6A See the inscriptions of Gautamlputra Sri Sitakarni and Vflsisthlputra Si Pulumayi at Nflslk (Luders, op. cit.. Nos 1125 and 1123).

65 periplus, 41.

Periplus, 48

P<*riplus % 40 and 51.

PHny, VI, 10!.

Early Relations II Feriplus, 49, 56.

R.E.M. Wheeler, 'Roman Coins, first century B.C. to fourth century A.D., found in India and Ceylon', Ancient India, No.2, Delhi 1946, Appendix 1, pp.

On the excavations at Vlrapatnam, see R.F. Facheux, Una vieijle citd in- dienne prds de Pondich^ry, Vlrapatnam, Pondicherry 1945; R.E.M. Wheeler, *Ari~ kamedu: an Indo Roman Trading Station on the East Coast of India 1 , Ancient India , No.2, Delhi 1946, pp.17-124; J. Filliozat, 'les Inscriptions de Vlra- patnam', Ccmptes-Rendus de 1'Academic d'Inscriptions, Jan. 1947, pp.110-18; ’Les ^changes de 1'Inde*, Revue historique , Jan.-Mar. 1949, pp.16-23.

DCpavamsa, IX, 1-37; MahSvamsa, VI.

Thirteenth Rock Edict; J. Bloch, p.130.

DIpavamsa, XII, 25-40; MahSvamsa, XI, 18-41. DIpavamsa, XII, 35-39; MahSvamsa, XIII, 18-21. Dlpavamsa, XV, 6-28; MahSvamsa, XVII,. 9-21. DIpavamsa, XV, 81-95; MahSvamsa, XVIII, 1-8. Dlpavamsa, XVI, 3-7; MahSvamsa, XIX, 17-23. DIpavamsa, XVIII, 47; MahSvamsa, XXI, 10.

DIpavamsa, XVIII, 49; MahSvamsa, XXI, 13; XXVII, 6.

MahSvamsa, XXV, 77 ff.

DIpavamsa, XX, 15-17; MahSvamsa, XXXIII, 56-61.

On the adventures of Mahstysgavat, KalySnakSrln and PSpakSrin, see the references in the Traite de la Grande Vertu de Sagesse de NSgSrjuna , II, Lou¬ vain 1949, pp.755-7, notes; on those of Maitrakanyaka, see S. Uvi, Mahikama- vibhanga , Paris 1932, p.51.

A. Cunningham, The St0pa at BhSrhut, London 1879 {repr. Varanaei 1962], pl.XXXIV, 2; S. Barua and K. Simha, Bharhut Inscriptions , Calcutta 1926* p.6l.

DlvySvadSna, pp.231-3; MahSvastu, I* pp.244-6; AvadSnakalpalatS. n

Buddhist Studies Review 6 , 1 (1909)

pp.777-8; Apadana, 11, p.430, Traite, I, pp.410-14.

Periplus, 52., I, p.154; mundapaflha. p.359; BrhatkathJ of Buddhasvamin, XVIII, vv .428 ff.


S. Uvi. 'PtoIonAe, Le Niddesa ec la Brhatkatha’, Etudes Aalatiques, Paris 1925, II, pp.l- 55 .

Baverujataka, No.339, III. p.126; on 'land-sighting crows', see also DIgha, 1 , p. 222 .

On -he adventures of Dharukarnin, also called Stavakarnlka, cf. Hllasar- vastlvadln Vinaya. T 1448. ch.3, p,13a; DlvyavadSna, pp.41-2; Avadanasataka, n. P.166; Buddhacarlta, XXI, v.22. in E. Johnston, 'The Buddha's Mission and Last Journey', Acta Orientals, XV, 1937, p.55 [Included In The Buddhacar- ita or Acts of the Buddha, Delhi 1984 ).

5. Levi t Mahikarmavibhanga , pp.51, 53

SamkaJ3taka, No.442 (IV, p.15); Mah3janakaJ 3 taka, No .539 (V?, p.30);

Sussondijataka, No.360 (III, p.187).

Dlpavamsa, VIII, 12; Mahavamsa, XII, 6 and 44; Samantapas3dik3, 1, p.64. 114

HahBkarmavibhanga , p.62; P. Bigandct, Vie ou Lcgendo de Caudama, lo Doud- dha des Birmans, Paris 1878 p.371 [English ed., Rangoon 1858, repr. Varanasi 1979).

Cf. C. Coed 6 s, Los Etats hindcuises d^lndochine ci d'lndonesie, Paris 1948, p.37 [English ed. The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, Honolulu 1968]

The small amount of information assembled here on Indian navigation should not allow us to forget that, at least for mainland India, prejudice against the sea persisted for a long time. On this subject, see the authoritative remarks by L. Rcnou, La civilisation dc l'Indc ancicnnc , Paris 1950, pp.202-3, 117 ^

On this subject, sec J.V. Mills, ‘Notes of Early Chinese Voy. gos\ Jour¬ nal of the Regal Asiatic Society , 1951. Parts 1 and 2. pp.3-25, where a good bibliography can be found.


A Short Record from the Ching-te Ch'uan-teng tu

During a courtesy visit to the Master's monastery, the Emperoi Shun-tsung asked Ju-man, 'Where did the Buddha come from, anc where did he go at his passing? As it is said that he is eter¬ nally abiding in thxs world, then where is the Buddha now?'

The Master replied, 'The Buddha came from his transcendents: state, and returned to that transcendental state at his passing The Dharma-body is absolutely empty, eternally existent, vitUou room for thought. Existing thoughts should be returned to no thought; existing things thought of as having an abiding plac

should be returned to (the Mind of) 'non-abiding'. Sentien

beings c'ome'" into existence and cease to be, but the immaculat Bhutatathata-ocean's tranquil substance abides forever. On thi "the wise ones skilfully meditate, without giving rise to furthc doubtful fears.'

The Fmperor further asked, 'The Buddha was born in a royr palace, and entered Nirvana between two sala trees (at Ku$inag«  ra). He dwelt in the world for forty-nine years after his et lightenment in order to teach, yet he also said that he had i

fixed Dharma. The mountains, rivers and great oceans, the un: verse, the sun and moon - all must eventually pass away, so wl

is it said that there is 'no birth and death ? As I still ha*

doubts about this, would the wise Master kindly explain further?

The Master replied, 'The Buddha's body is fundamentally 'no acting'. Any such distinctions (such as you have made) are err neous. The Dharma-body is like empty space and has never be subject to 'birth and death'. When there is an appropriate cau for it, a Buddha appears in the world; when there is no furih cause to stay, the Buddha enters Nirvana. The Buddha's teachi influences sentient beings everywhere, but it is like the reflc tion of the moon in water (and not the real moon). There neither 'permanence' nor 'impermanence , neither birth t 'death*. Living beings are never really 'born'; those that

nniV'r r^.il W nans avav. Understand c tv

CATURARAKKHA : The Fourfold Protection*

Translated by Hammalava Saddhatlssa

Buddhanussati metta ca asubham maranassati , iti iraa caturarakkha bhikkhu bhaveyya sllava.

Duddhanussa ti

1. Anantavittharagunam gunato ’nussaram munirn,

bhaveyya buddhima bhikkhu buddhanussatim adito,

2. Savasane kilese so eko sabbe nighatiya, ahu susuddhasantano pujanan ca sadaraho.

3. Sabbakalagate dhararae sabbe samma sayam munini, sabbakarena bujjhitva eko sabbannutam gato.

4. Vipassanadlvijjahi siladicaranehi ca susamiddhchi sarapanno gaganabhehi nayako.

5. Samma gato subham thanam amoghavacano ca so, tivldhassapl lokassa nata niravasesato.

6. Anckehl gunoghehl sabbasattuttarao ahu, anekchi upayehi naradarame damesi ca.

7. Eko sabbassa lokassa sabba-atthanusasako, bhagyaissarlyadlnam gunanam paramo nidhi .

8. Pannassa sabbadhammesu karunasabbajantusu, ittatthanam paratthanam sadhlka gunajetthika.

9. Dayaya paraml citva pannay' attanam uddharl, uddharl sabbadhamme ca dayay’anne ca uddharl.

10. Dissamano pi tav’assa rupakayo acintiyo,

Translation j

The virtuous monk should meditate on these four pioiections:

Recollections of the Buddha, of Lovingkindness, of Impurites

of the Body and the Recollection of Death. '

The Recollection of the Buddha

1. The intelligent monk should at the outset meditate on the Buddha, endowed with infinite and pervasive qualities, re¬ flecting on these qualities.

2.. The Buddha alone has destroyed all the defilements together with their habits and, with an extremely pure mind, is always worthy £f offerings.

3. The Buddha has rightly realised by himself, in every way,

^ all matters pertaining to all times and has attained omni¬ science alone.

4. The Lord is endowed with insight, knowledge, as well as vir¬

tue and pure conduct as widespread as the sky.

5. The Buddha has rightly gone to the blissful place. He is

endowed with treasured speech. He has known the three worlds in their entirety.

6. The Buddha has become supreme among all beings by his mani¬ fold qualities. He has subdued by various means those who

should be subdued.

7. The Buddha alone is a teacher to the entire world in all

matters. He is a repository of such qualities as fortune and prosperity.

8. The Buddha's wisdom is directed towards all matters and his

compassion over all beings. He is beneficial for himself

and others. He is supreme in all qualities.

9. That Buddha elevated himself by the wisdom gained through the perfection so attained by preaching the Doctrine in all its aspects; and elevated others through compassion.

10. The body of form of that Buddha which is visible in itself

Buddhist Studies Review, 5, i (1988)

asadharanananaddhe dhamraakaye katha va ka ti.

Met tanussati

Attupamaya sabbesam sattanam sukhakamatam, passitva kamato mettam sabbasattesu bhavaye.

Sukhi bhaveyyam niddukkho aham niccara aham viya hita ca me sukhi hontu raajjhatta c'atha verino.

Imamhi gamakkhettamhi satta hontu sukhi sada, ' tato parah ca rajjesu cakkavalesu jantuno.

Samania cakkavalesu satta 'nantesu panino, sukhino puggala bhuta attabhavagata siyum.

Tatha itthipuma e'eva ariya anariya pi ca , deva nara apayattha tatha dasadisasu ca ti.

Asup/ianussa t i

Avinnana 'subhanibham savinnana 'subham imam, kayam asubhato passam asubham bhavaye yati.

Vannasanthanagandhehi asayokasato tatha,

paiikkulani kaye me kunapani dvisolasa.

Patitaraha pi kunapa jeguccham kayanissitam, adharo hi sucl tassr kayo tu kunape thitam.

Milhe kimi va kayo 'yam asucimhi samutthito, anio a sueisampunno punnavaccakutI viya.

AsucI sandate niccam yatha raedakatha1ika, nanak imikulavaso pakkacandanika viya.

Gandabhuto rogabhuto vanabhuto samussayo, atckiccho 'tijeguccho pabhinnakunapupamo ti.

Ca turarakkha

cannot be conceptualised. How much more would it be with regard to his body of Doctrine endowed with unique wisdom.

The Recollection of Lovingkindness

1. Having compared oneself with others, one should practise lovingkindness towards all beings realising that everyone desires happiness .

2. May 1 be free from sorrow and always be happy: may those who desire my welfare, those who are indifferent towards me and those who hate me, also be happy!

3. May all beings who live in other regions in this world-system be happy!

4. May all fteings living in every world-system and each element of life within each system be happy having achieved the high¬ est bliss!

5. Likewise women, men, the noble and ignoble ones, gods, and those in woeful states and those living in the ten directions - may all these beings be happy!

The Recollection of Che Impurities of the Body

1. The monk, perceiving this body as repugnant as a conscious and non-conscious entity, should meditate on its repugnapee.

2. The thirty-two Impurities of my body are abhorrent in respect

of colour, form, associated elements and space.

3. The impurities within the body l re more abhorrent than those that fall from the body since in the case of the latter, that upon which they fall is pure, while the body itself incorporates impurities.

4. Like a worm born in excreta, this body is also born in ex-

  • creta*. Like a cesspit that is full up, this body is full

of impurity.

5. Just as fat pours overflowing from a pot full of fat* even so impure matter flows out of this body. Like a cesspit, this body is an abode of the hosts of bacilli.

6. This body is like a boil, a disease, a wound, it is incurable. It is extremely abhorrent. It IS comparable to a decomposed corpse.

Buddhist Studies Review, 5, 1 (1908)

Marananvssa ti

Pavatadlpatulyaya sayusantatiyakkhayam, parupamaya sampassam bhavaye maranassatim.

Mahasampattisampatta yatha satta mata idha, tatha aham marissami maranam mama hessati.

Uppattiya sahevedam maranam agatam sada, maranatthaya okasam vadhako viya esati.

Isakart anivattantam sacatam gamanussukam Ji.vitam udaya attham suriyo viya dhavati.

ViJJubuDbulaussS va ja larajIparLkkhayam, -ghatako va ripu tassa sabbattha pi avariyo.

Suyasatthamapunhiddhi-buddhivuddhi jinadvayam, ghatesi maranam khippam ka tu madisake katha.

Paccayanan ca ve.kalya bahirajjattupaddava, maramoram n'lmcsa pi maramano anukkhanan ti.

Bhavetva caturarakkha avajjeyya anantaram, mahasamvegavatthuri i attha atthita vlriyo.



4.dani aha ragave t thidukkham samvegavatthuni imani attha.

Pato ca sayam api c’eva imam vidhinno asevate satatam attahitabhilasI, pappoti so 'tivipulam hataparipantho settham sukham munivisitthamatam sukhena.


The Recollection of Death

Seeing, with wisdom, the end of life In others, comparable to a lamp kept in a draughty place, one should meditate on death.

Just as in this world, beings who once enjoyed great prosper¬ ity will die, even so will I, too, die. Death will indeed come to me.

This death has come along with birth. Therefore, like an executioner, death always seeks an opportunity.

Life, without halting for a moment, and ever keen on continu¬ ing, moves like the sun that hastens to set after rising.

This life come to an end like a streak of lightning, a bubble of water, a dew drop on a leaf or a line drawn on water. Like an eperay intent on killing, death can'never be avoided.

If death came instantly to the Buddha, the teacher of the , one and only way, endowed with great glory, prowess, merit, supernormal powers and wisdom, what could be said of me?

Dying every moment, I shall die within the twinkling of an eye, either without food or through internal ailments or

external injuries.

The Recolloction of the Light Sorrowful Stages of Lite

Having practised this fourfold protective meditation, the monk who has put forth effort should reflect, on the eightfold sorrowful stages of life.

The sorrow pertaining to birth, old age, disease, death,

the spirit world, the past cycles of births and the future

cycle of birth and sorrow, difficulty experienced in the

search for food in the present life - these are the eight sorrowful stages of life.

A person who, desirous of his own welfare and knowing the types of meditation, practises this regularly in the morning and evening, will, having destroyed the impediments, happily attain the supreme state of Nibbanu, extolled as the highest bliss by the Buddha.

Buddhist Studies Review, 5, 1 (1988)

£d.* These stanzas are recited twice every day in the viharas of Sri Lanka where they were originally composed. They constitute devotional meditation in that the first recollection strengthens one's confidence in the Buddha as supreme teacher ‘and guide; the second counters illwill and promotes feelings of compassion; the third weakens bodily attachment and restrains sensual desire; and the fourth emphasises awareness and exertion to utilise the advantages of human birth.

See Cj turara£*h ( i tf/iavana . The four protective meditations. Pali te/xt and translation by Bhikkhu Bodhi; commentary (by Pelene Siri Vajiranana) translated by F.M. Rajakaruna. Bhikkhu Training Centre, Maharagama 1984.

No-one seriously interested in Buddhist teaching or prac¬ tice can overlook the work of Nyanaponika Thera, a scholar with an extraordinary gift of clarifying <1 iff leu It con¬ cepts and making the Theravada intelligible, meaningful and easily accessible lo the Western reader.


is an anthology of his writings which first appeared through the Buddhist. Publication Society, Kandy, Sri Lanka, * and apart from eight short essays comprises the following, * Wheel scries: The Worn-out Skin, The Power of N Mindfulness, * The Boots of Good and Kvil, The Four Nutriments of Life,

The Threefold Refuge, The Four Sublime States, Anattfi * and Nibbana. Pp . xxv, 2 6 7. t.7.9 5


rookmount House,

62-65 Chandos Place, *

London WC2N 4NW *

l. ’Ainsi ai-je entendu. Lorsque le Bouddha , le Blenheureux, rAsidait dans le pare d'Anathapindada A SravastI, 11 dlsalt A ses bhiksu: 0 bhiksu! Une mAre ayant un enfant unique, sa pre¬ occupation prlncipale est de rAflechir sur la maniA're d'eduquer son fils pour qu'i1 devienne un jour un homme utile pour la so- ciAtjA. Les btfiksu demartdaient alors: Nous vous prioas, 6 Bien- heureux, de bien voulolr nous expliquer votre pcnsAc pour quo nous puissions'benAficier de votre prAcieux ervseignement.

Le Blenheureux rApondait*. Je vais accAder A votre demande, Alors ocoutez-mot blen et rAflAchissez bien. Quant aux upasaka, on dolt saivre .1'cxcmplc de Citra CrhapatL et dc Gaja Kumara, Ces deux personnes sont dec laics qui ont mi.s leur foi dans le Dharma et ont suivl avec application les ense ignemnt s. Si l*on veut entrer on religion et porter les trois habits de religieux (kasaya)\ on doit prendre cxemple sur Sariputra et Maha-Maudgal- yayana. Pourquoi? Parce qu’ils ont etudie assidOment le Dharma, n'ont pas commis d'actes rAprAhensibles au Dharma ou AbauchA des idAes contraires A leur conscience. Si par hasard de3 idAes erronees survenaient dans leur rAflexion, ils seraient condaranAs

a retourner dans les trois mauvalses voles .

Si vous vous appliquez a faire du bien, vour rAcolterez les bonnes consequences dans un proche avenir. C'est pourquoi les offrandes pAsent tres lourdes car elles peuvent empAcher les bhiksu d’atteindre le but visA. Alors, vous ne devez pas aimer recevoir les offrandes, si vous y cprouvez dAJA du plaisir, detruisez ce sentiment le plus vite possible. Ayant entendu ces paroles du Bouddha, les bhiksu etaient heureux et les met- taient respectueusement en pratique.


Arvind Sliurm * i

At the second annual conference cf the Australian Association for the Study of i

Religions, Dr Tolyatte Rahula of the University of Melbourne Cnov at McGill ?


  • lr.iverzLV/, V^r.^real, 'Tar.vla'2, *-hs had hirr.seIf fcrnerly been a mor.k in Sri ;

Lanka, read a paper entitled: "The Buddhist Arahant: Is his attainment of tfir- $

vana as perfect ,as the Buddha's Enlightenment?" He concluded that though st>me scholars maintain that "the arohonts were not as fully emancipated as the Buddha" *, "so far as the Dali canon is concerned, there is absolutely no ground even to suggest that the essence of the arahant’s attainment was dif¬ ferent from that of the Fully Awakened One... they all without exception claia

to, huve realized the threefold knowledge" *, this threefold knowledge consist¬ ing of :

(i) the knowledge of one’s own previous births

(ii) the knowledge of the rebirths of others ^; and

(iii) Knowledge regarding the utter cessation of asavas or mental intoxicants.

Nevertheless, although the Buddha and nrahants arc seen as identical in the achievement of salvation in the state of Nibbana, it is clear that in some ways the Buddha is more than an arahant. This paper i3 an effort to identify the ways in which he may be regarded as different from an arahant in the Theravada tradition. " • .

At first there seems to have been virtually no distinction between the Buddha and the arahants. Thus, "In the Buddhist movement the Buddha was the first arahant. He war. regarded as an arahant, along with other arahants, with¬ out any distinction. Thus after the conversion of the group of five monks [paheavaggiya) , the first converts to the teaching of Gotama, it is stated that there were six uruhants in the world (Vin.I, lM, the Buddha bein

reckoned one of them

The last sentence provides the clue to the first line of differentiation between the Buddha and nrahants. The Buddha was the first arahant arid the ara¬ hants subsequent Buddhas. In the Theragatha, for instance, the arahants are described as buddhanubuddha:

"... the Buddha as well as his disciples follow the same path and reach the same goal, and the distinction between the Buddha and the disciples who be¬ came arahants is not with regard to the attainment, but with regard to the fuct that the Buddha rediscovered the age-old path (puranam ahjasom) to the city of flibbana, while the disciples come to the come city having followed the

How is the Buddha different fron an Arahant...?

path discovered by the Buddha. The Buddha is, therefore, called the revealor of the path (magrgrassa akkhata) . He is the teacher (satt/w) who teaches th * disci¬ ples to attain the same ideal as attained by him"

Dr Rahuln amplifies this point of distinction. After maintaining that,

"An arahant may even with Justification be called a Buddha", he adds:

"It s.juld be admitted that the arahant's status was never regarded to be equal to that of the the Buddha. The Buddha is esteemed as unparalleled (asama) equal only to those who are themselves unequalled Buddhas (asamasama). Disciples can¬ not be the equals of the Master who finds the path for the Tirst time. Being, the pioneer and path-finder, he deserves to be venerated as such. Apart from that, the early strata of the Pali cation make no distinction between the Budd¬ ha^ attainment of nirvana and that of the arahant . Although he was later re¬ garded as omniscient in the popular sense of the word the Buddha himself

never claimed to be so" .

The question of the Buddha's omniscience may be postponed awhile to con¬ sider another significant fact hero. The Budilin, though he spent some time with.Alara Kulama and Uddaka RamapuLta, hud no Master as such; it is equally important to realise that none succeeded to his position in the Buddhist tm«ye- ment. For, "After the parinirvana his place as Way-shower {itajjhima-nikaya \\\

6 ) was to be taken, not by any monk (Majjhima-Nikaya , Guttn No. loft), for, be¬ ing Way-followers, not one of them resembled him, but by Dharma: 'Pharma h; our support' ,{or mainstay, Majjhima-Nikaya iii 9), n3 monks arc recorded U> have said after the teacher had died. This statement Tully accords with the in¬ junction the Buddha had given to Ananda, hie constant companion, shortly be¬ fore this event: 'The Dharma I have taught and the Vinaya I have laid down - that after my passing is to be your Teacher' {Digha-Nikaya II l r jh ) " Not - tiiy

is the Buddha unique by virtue of being the first Teacher, he was also unique, in the coulcxt of the early community, in being the last.

The claim to omniscience which the Buddha did make was that hr knew .-ill

that war. to be known to achieve salvation. Guch a claim could not. be made by the arahunts. Thus another dimension to the distinction between the Hud<">i and the arahants enters the picture now. Not only *s the Buddha different from an arahant in that he was the pioneer of the spiritual path they followed; because he wus a Teacher, as distinguished from disciples, or a leader as distinguished from followers but also different in the comprehensiveness of his knowledge. There are suggestions in the Pali texts that he knew more than he taught. Hr did not have the closed fist of teacher only where matters of sulvific signifi¬ cance were concerned for we ore told that "once when sitting under a simsupa tree, Buddha took a few of its leaves in his hand and asked his disciples that

Buddhist Studies Review 1, 1 ( 1983-4)

had assembl'd there to tell him whether they were all the simsupa leaves or whether there were more or* the tree. When they replied that there were surely T.a:;y more, :.e r.aid: ' i\s-a\ ~vl'J do I know more than what I have told you*. But he did r.u dwell upon all that he knew, since he saw no practical utility in doir.r, so. It would on the contrary, he thought, only make hie hearers idly curious »»:td delay their sotting about the task of exterminating evil. 'And wherefore, my d!noiploa, have J not told you that? Because, my disciples, it brings you no profit, it does not ccnduce to progress in holiness, because it docs not lead to the turning from the earthly, to the subjection of all desire,

U* th'* co:;nation of the transitory, to peace, to knowledge, to illumination,

to Nirvana; therefore have I not declared it unto you

It seems that the line of differentiation between the Buddha and the ara- hantn , originating in the fact of the Buddha being the Master and the arahants being the disciples, must have been accentuated by the formation of the Order or tho Bungiiu. Not only was the Buddha to be distinguished as the first ara- hnnt; n'»t only wan ho to be uistingulshed as soteriologically omniscient but once the corpus of his discourses began to take shape he also became further distinguished by the fact that a body of doctrines va3 associated with him as distinguished from nn urahant; a body of doctrine in the emergence of which the followers may or may not havd had enough part to play to Justify C.A.K.Hhys Duvid 3 calling them the co-founders of Buddhism, but a body 0<f doc¬ trine in any case uniquely associated with him. As I.B.Horner points out, "the epithet of dharma-kaya ( Digha-Nikaya 111 81<), the body of pharma,, was applic¬ able to the Buddhu nlone". 11 This point is picked up by the Milindapufttia. One of the pieces of conversation between Nagasena and King Menander runs as

"The king said: 'Is there such a person ah the Buddha, Ndgasena?’

'Can he then, Nagusena, be pointed out ac being here or there?'

'The Blessed One, 0 king, has passed away by that kind or passing away .in which nothing remains which could tend to the formation of another individual. It is not possible to point out the Blessed One as being here or there.'

'fJiv*.* me an illustration.'

'Now what do you think, 0 king? When there is a great body of fire blazing, i;; it. possible to point out that any one flame has gone out, that it is here or there?'

'No, Sir. That flame has ceased, it has vanished.'

'dust no, great king, has the Blessed One passed away by that kind of passing away in which no root remains for the formation of another

How is the Buddha different from an /rahant...?

individual. The Blessed One has come to an end, and it cannot be pointed out of him that he is here or there. But in the body of his doctrine he can, O king, be tainted out. For the doctrine was preached by the Blessed

'Very good, Nagascna!'"

Thus the statement that the Buddha was different from the arahants in that he was the Master is easily made but its ramifications are far-reaching in setting the Buddha apart from ttic arahants.

Thus one obvious way in which the Buddha is different from the arahants

consists in his having shown the path to them and hio ability to show it to

everyone else. This seems to represent the first stage in the differentiation

between the Buddha and the arahants. But as Wceraratne points.out:

" time passed, the Buddha-concept developed and.special attributes were

assigned to the Buddha. A Buddha possesses the sixfold superknowledge (chni-

aWiifinS); he has matured the.thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya

dhamma); in him compassion (Aaruud) ;itfd insight ( paftha ) develop to their full¬ est; all the major and minor characteristics of a great man (mahapurisa ) appear on his body; he is possessed of the tci. powers {dasa bale) and the four confid¬ ences (catu vcsarajja)\ and he has had to practise the ten perfections (jura- «ita) during a long time in the past.

• "When speaking of arahants these attributes are never mentioned together, though a particular arahant may have one, two or more or the attributes dis¬ cussed in connection with the Buddha (B 11 217, 222)." ^

The distinction here now turns on the question of the possession of super¬ normal powers by the Buddha and the arahants. However, as Dr Rahula points out:

"Now the position of the great arahants endowed with supernormal powers is still , not equuted with that of the Buddha, in the Angullaru Njkiiyu there is a list of

chief disciples who are declared by the Buddha to be pre-eminent in particular

achievements or talents, e.g., intelligence, meditation, energy, confidence and so on. Sariputta is thus proclaimed to be superior in wisdom, Moggallana in magical powers and Kassapa the Great in ascetic practices. They are foremost, the Buddha declares, in these achievements amongst*my disciples* (mama sairaJka- naig), implying that the Master remains above comparison. This superiority of the Buddha's powers is maintained, with an increasing emphasis, throughout the post-canonical literature. Hariputta, the pre-eminent in wisulom, fails to re¬ commend to a monk a subject or meditate that would suit his character and sends him to the Buddha. Moggallana, dernite his superior magical powers, has to be advised by the Buddha while taming a stubborn naga . After Pindola Bharn- .dvaja’s performance, again, the Buddha displayed his wonderful supernormal |*ow-

20 Buddhist Studies Review 1, 1 (1983-4) 1

ers, unsurpassed by anyone else in the world. Such episodes may reflect the / I stronp, tendency to hold the Master above his disciples in all matters; never- l thelcss, the attitude of the early Buddhist literature scem3 to be rather am¬ biguous in this regard, for we find on some occasions the Buddha conceding to individual arahants unreserved pre-eminence in certain qualities or personal virtues. The arahant Slvali is highly praised for his power to receive gifts, and Kassapa the Great is extolled for his strict adherence to ascetic practlc-.

cs. It is probable that in such references survives thq memory of an early tr^a-

dition which held that individual arahants may claim equality with the Buddha in spiritual attainments. On the other hand, it is not unusual of the Buddha

„ IN

to praise someone or something merely in order to encourage others.

The superior psychic attainments of the Buddha may be taken to constitute another possible point of distinction with the aruhant. But the Juxtaposition of the adverse happening:; overtaking, both Mogga 1 lanu and the Buddha provides an interesting occasion for introducLng aunt* relevant material from the "Quest¬ ions of King Milindu", which takes us into the consideration of another point: is there any difference karmically between the Buddha and the arahants after they have attained llibbuna? On this point of the post-Nibbanic state ol karma. Luma Anuguriku Govlndu remarks:

"Still, in most cases, a last unresolved remainder will be left over, for even ( if the mind has already come to a state of peace aiul harmony, that is, if the karmic after-effect:; are equilibrated, or, removed through a change of attitude, the karma that is bound in corporeal form may still for a long time go on vi¬ brating before complete harmonizing within the same (in form or corporeal per¬ fection, as fur as this is possible), or complete emancipation takes place. To the saint it is naturally given fr* withdraw himself from lx id 11y pains with the aid of concentration; but, generally speaking, so long us the body exists, so long, exists also the possibilit> of the sensation of pain, not no much o.-. ac¬ count of organic disturbances (illnesses) which hardly come into consideration

- for mental well-being (saintliness) signifies also bodily well-being (health)

- as rather the ground of external influences, such as, in the case of the Buddha, was the partaking of unwholesome food, or in the case of Angulimala, wounding through stone-throwing and the like. That, however, here also the ex¬ ternal influence, the apparently external happening, does not dispense with the inner, late-like connexion, is clearly evident from the story of Angulimala.

The robber (converted by the Buddha) who, in consequence of the knowledge that suddenly dawned within him, had become a saint, one day on his round for alms of food is recognized by the crowd and ill-treated so that he comes to the Buddha, all streaming with blood." ^

The interesting point here is that Govinda docs not connect the Buddha’s

How is the Buddha different from an Arahant...?

dysentery due to external agency to any "inner, fate-like connexion". Does he imply that in the case of the Buddha there in no r.uch connection, while it ex¬ ists in the case of the arahant? Govinda in not specific on the point but the fact that "Moggallana ... was murdered by hired assassins and the Buddha him¬ self had to encounter a number of unfavourable things" does indicate that both the arahant and the Buddha'are subject to post-Nibbanic adversity. This is a common point between the two. What, if any, is the difference?

This point emerges clearly from a comparison of two dilemmas presented to Nagasena by King Menander. The first, of these is the 31st dilemma: How could Moggallana have possessed miraculous powers seeing that lie was murdered?

From the point of view of this paper, the significant fact is that he was one of the Buddha’s chief disciples ^ and an arahant and that in spite of being an arahant "his death took place by his being beaten with club:;, so that his skull was broken, and his bones ground to powder, and all his* flesh and nerves bruised and rounded together". ^ And Nagasena attributes this end of Moggallana to the power of karma as "no other influence can avail the man in whom Karma is working out its inevitable end. That is why the venerable one, groat king, the great Moggallana, grout king, at a time vhm hr war. by Karma, he was d?eing beaten to death, war yet unable to make use of his power of Iddhi". 20

Moggallanu’s case may be compared with that of the Buddha in the 8th u.- lemma: The Buddha’s sinlcssncss and his sufferings. An Menander put it to Nagasena:

"...if the Tathagata, on his becoming a Buddha, lias destroyed all evil in him¬ self - thi3 other statement that his foot was pierced by a splinter, that he hud dysentery, and no on, must l:* . Hut i •’ the;* nr t.»rc thru lie enntud

have been free from evil, for there is no paiu without Karma. Ail pain has its root in Karma; it is on account of Kama that suffering arisen."

In this case Nagasena maintains that, "It is not ail suffering that has its root in Karma" and shows how some of it might uri3e from natural or pre¬ sent causes, lie lists eight causes by which suffering may arise:

"And what are the eight? Superabundance of wind, and of bile, and of phlegm, the union of these humours, variations in temperature, the avoiding of dis¬ similarities, external agency, and Karma. From each of these arc come suffer¬ ings that arise, and these are the eight causes by which many beings suffer pain. And therein whosoever maintains that it is Karma that injures beings,

and besides it there is no other reason Tor pain, his proposition is false."

And he goes on to show that all the sufferings the Buddha underwent were on account of factors other than his karma. To take the case of the Buddha’s foot-bed ng^hurt:

Buddhist Studies Review 1,1 (1983-4)

"Mow when the Blessed One's foot was torn by a splinter of rock, the pain that followed van not produced by any other of the eight causes I have mentioned, but only by external agency. For Devadatta, 0 king, had harboured hatred against the Tathagata during a succession of hundreds of thousands of births.

It van in his hatred that he seized hold of a mighty mass of rock, and pushed it over vith the hope that it would fall upon his head. But two other rocks j

cane together, and intercepted it before it had reached the Tathagata; and by force of their impact a splinter was torn ctff, and fell upon the Blessed One's loot, and made it bleed. Mow this pain must have been produced in the Blessed One either a:: Uie result of his own Karma, or of someone elsc's act. For beyond these two there can be no other kind of pain. It is as when a seed does not germinate - that must be due to vhe badness of the soil, or to a defect in the coca. Or it is as when food in not digested- that must be due to either a de¬ fect in the stomach, or to the badness of the food.

"But a 1 though tire Blessed One never suffered pain which wan the result of hi:; own Karma, or* brought about the uvoidunce of dissimilarity, yet he suffer¬ ed p.iin from each of the other six causes. And by the pain he could suffer it war. not possible to deprive him of his Ufe. There come to this body of ours,

0 king, compounded of the four elements, sensations desirable and the reverse, unpleasant and pleasant. Suppose, 0 king, a clod.of earth were to be thrown in¬ to the air, and to fall again on the ground. Would it be a consequence of any act it had previously done that it would so fall?

"Mo, ::i r. There ino reason in the broad earth by ^ which it could exper¬ ience the result nf an act either good or e/il. It would be by reason of a present cause independent of Karma that the clod would full to earth again.

"Well, 0 king, the Tathagata should be regarded as the broad earth. And as ‘the clod would fall on it irrespective of any uct done by it, so also wuo it irrespective of any uct done by him that that splinter of rock fell upon his foot.

"Again, 0 king, men tear up and plough the earth. But is that a result of any act previously done?

"Certainly not, Ilir.

"Just so wjth the falling of that splinter. And the dysentery that attack¬ ed him was in the same way the result of no previous act, it arose from the union of the three humours. And whatsoever bodily disease fell upon him, that had its origin, not in Karma, but in one or other of the six causes referred to." 2U

In other words, while arahants had to undergo the results of residual kurma, it vus not so with the Buddha, who "had burnt out all evil from within

How is the Buddha different from an Arahant...?


It is clear, therefore, that although the Nibbann of the Buddha and of

the arahants i3 the same in Theravada Buddhism, the .Buddha is different from

the arahants in the various ways pointed out above.


1 Religious Traditions [Dept of Religious Studies, University of Sydney], Vol.l, No.l (April 1978), P-39. 2 Ibid .

3 W.C.Woeraratne, "Arahant" in Encyclopaedia of Buddhism II, 1 (Colombo 1966), p .42.

4 Wcerarutne, "Asamkkhaya-Nana", ibid., p.155.

5 Woeraratnc, "Arahant", l., p.'»J.

6 lbid. x p.42. 4

7 T.Ruhulu in Religious Traditions, op.cit., p.4o.

8 J.B.Horner, "Buddhism: The Theravada” in R.C.Zaehner (ed.) The Concise Encyclopaedia of Living Faiths (Boston 19*39), p.?0?.

9 Ibid., p.301.

10 II.Hi riyunnu, Outlines of Indian Philosophy (London 193?), |>.137. For ;• detailed discussion of the concept of the Buddha's omniscience in the Pali Canon see K. N.Juyutilicke, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge (London 196]), pp.376-81, etc.

11 Horner, op.cit., p.202.

12 Ilf. *i.l0: tr. T.W.Rhys Davids in The Questions of King tlilindo (repr.Delhi 1969), pp.113-4 - emphasis added. It is interesting to note that the fire

i metaphor is used in the Puli text ir» the context of the discussion of the post-mortem state of the arahants und not Just of the Buddha (KaJJhima Nikaya, Sutta 72).

13 Wcerarutne, "Arahant", op.cit . „ p.4?.

14 T.Ruhulu, op.cit. ,»pp.38-9- Dr Rahulu goes on to add: "Granted that the

\ Buddha was in fact superior to his disciples, the arahants , in these psy-

] chic attainments, still it would not affect the early Buddhist ideal of

3 # perfect liberation, materialized by the great arahants. The Buddha himself

vus not interested in magical performances, and actually made it an offense

against the disciplinary rules for u monk to display such powers. A person' j ' spiritual quality cannot be Judged by his supernormal attainments alone.

Buddhist Studies Review 1, 1 (1983*4) *

and even an evil person like Devadatta could acquire them. Moggallana, the best authority in such powers, was'murdered by hired assassins, and the Buddha himself had to encounter a number of unfavourable things”

(iJbid., p.39).

15 Lama Anagarika Govinda, The Psychological Attitude of Early Buddhist Philosophy (London 1961)* pp.110-1.

16 T.W.Rhys Davids, op,cit. t pp.261-3*

17 Edward Conze, Buddhism, Its Essence and Development (repr. New York 1959), p.l4.

18 Kenneth W.Morgan (ed.) The Path of the Buddha (New York 1956), p.48.

19 T.W.Rhys Davids, op.cit ., p.26l.

20 Ibid., p.263.

21 Ibid., p.190.

22 Ibid ., p.191*

23 Ibid .

24 Ibid., pp.193-5*

25 Two final observations may be made, one common, the other somewhat un¬ common. One difference between the Buddha and the arahant is so patent that it has not even been mentioned hitherto in the paper, that in a pre¬ vious existence the aspirant to Buddhahood resolves to become a Buddha and thenceforth becomes a Bodhisatta. No such resolution is associated with an arahant. The other difference is that while there can be a female arahant there can be no female Buddha in Theravada Buddhism.


Russel] WoU) *

The literature of Vietnam is'as distinctive as the prevalent indigenous Budd¬ hist trudition which is u remarkably successful and influential amalgam or Ch*an (Zen) and Ch*ing-tu (Jodo), known locally as Thien and Tinh-4>o respectively.

In comparison to the attention lavished on the neighbouring Indian-based and Chinese Buddhist traditions, however, very little has been written on either. Buddhism in Vietnam or its canonical and cxcgotical works. This observation al¬ so applies to‘the otherwise unique achievements of the Kcole fraucaisc d'Extreme -Orient which, based at Hanoi and later Gaigon for half a century, rarely con¬ tributed studies relevant to Buddhism in the region other than describing the popular observances. However, this attitude may have resulted from the fact that a Confucian veneer overlaid Vietnamese society at the time and that u resurg¬ ence or a dynamic and nationalistic Buddhism, accompanied by popular writings in the adopted romanised script, did not begin to surface until the 1920s and 1930s.

Buddhism first penetrated the northernmost region of Uiuo-Chau (Tonkin) from the end of the second century A.C. The most notable Dharmadutas were, in chronological order, as follows;

"Slau-Po (Mau-Bac or Mau-Tu^ from Han China ( 1 G 9 A.C.').

K*ang Seng-Hui (Khu’d ng-Tang-Hoi), a Cogdian who subsequently settled in Nanking, China, in 247.

Kalyunaruci (Cubng-Lubhg-Luu), a Yiieh^Chi (or indo-Gcythian) who translated the Saddharmasamadhisutra etc. into Chinese Trom 255.

Marajivaka (Ma-La-Ky-Vufc), an Indian who went on to Loyang, China, c. 306 .

Vinltaruci (Ty-Ni-Pa-Lub-Chi), an Indian who trained in China before coming to I'liap-Vari temple, lla- Pong province, lie translated into Chinese the Mahuyunavaipulyudhuranlsutra and founded the first Thien (Ch'an) school ir Vietnam in 580.

Wu-Yen-Tung (Vo Ngon-Thong), a Chinese who settled at Kien-So* temple, Bdc- Ninh province, in 820, and founded the second school of Thien.

Ts*ao-Tang (Thao- Pu®hg), a Chinese monk captured during a defensive campaign against Champa (an Indianiscd region which became a vassal state of Annam) in 1069. Appointed National Teacher (Quoc Su* ), he resided in the capital Thang-Long (now Hanoi) and established the unified practice of Thien and

King Tran Nhan-Ton (1258-1308) CTue-Trung Thubhg-Gt, according to Thich Nhat- Hqnh) founded the Truc-Lam (’Bamboo forest*) school which fused Confucian¬ ism and Taoism with a dominant Buddhism_and resulted in a humanistic ami

26 Buddhist Studies Review 1, 1 (19S3-6)

nationalistic religion.

Nguycn-Thieu (d.1712) fled the Manchu invasion of China and settled in Hue (1665) where he founded a school of Lin-Chi (Lam-To or Hinzai Zen) which was, in turn, systematised by Lieu-Qudn (d.17^3).

From the establishment of the nutio n % a Tirst independent dynasties - the Wgo (939-90*7) and 4>inh (968-98O), the bhiksus who comprised the learned dlite composed most of the indigenous prose and poetry* either in Chinese or in the partly modified script of ChCP-Nom ("popular writing"). Such writers included at least one Gangharaja, Chan-LuU (d.1011), whilst Buddhist literary endeavours continued to flourish during the Le (980-1009) and L# (1010-1229) dynasties which spanned the golden age of the Buddhadharma in Vietnam. Society was enrich¬ ed by such activities of the bhiksus who were influential in affairs of state and provided educational facilities in the temples where their spiritual and narrative literature was imparted.

The treasures of Vietnamese literature are largely inaccessible to a vide readership because they have rarely been translated into Western languages* Ex¬ ceptions include the sixteenth century collection of jataka literature, the Truyeri Kj Man Luc, translated by Nguyen Trun-Huan under the title* Vaste Rocu- ' oil des Lcgcndcs merveiIleuses (Paris 1962)* and the national epic poem* Kim- Van-Kieu (or Truyen Kieu, The Tale of Kieu). Although its author, Nguyen-Du (I765-I&X))* was a Confucian scholar* this ever popular work incorporatee v the themes of karma, anitya and duhkha. It hac been lauded as "...a masterpiece which enjoys unrivalled popularity because of its lively musical quality, the

beauty of its verse which is Incomparable, and above all because of its rich treasurehouse of thoughts from noble Buddhist inspiration. It would be no ex¬ aggeration to state that this poem which elaborates a theme which is akin to the life of the country, has of itself achieved much more than thousands of treat¬ ises on morals or philosophy as regards the good fight it led for the triumph of goodness, forgiveness, purity, of thoughts, and loftiness of ideals. Even now a hundred years later and in spite of the attractions of modern culture, it still is for some a sort or encyclopaedia of the Vietnamese language or a sort of literary Bible, and for others a civic and moral code, and finally for the whole world a manual of elementary and practical Buddhism". **

The poem was first transcribed in Quoc-NgCP (the romanised "national Lan¬ guage" deviuod by Catholic missionaries <n the seventeenth century but not of¬ ficially recognised until 1910) in 1875. From the Tir-st modern edition by Ngu¬ yen Duy-NguVig and Vu -Dinh-Long (Hanoi 1928), several versions and studies have appeared as listed in the full bibliography of Hujnh Sanh-Thong's English trans¬ lation (New York 1973; revised edition with Vietnamese text, Yale University Press, New Haven 1983). The only other English translation was made by Le Xuip-

Vietnamese Buddhist Literature

Thuy {Goigun I960), whilst five French versions were made by Abel des Michels (Paris 180*4-5), Hene Crayssac (Hanoi 1926), Nguyen Van-VTnh (Hanoi 19*43), Xuan- Phuc and Xuan-yViet (Puria 196l) u d Nguyen Khuc-Viyn (Hanoi 1965). To celebrate the bi-centenary of the poet's birth, Maurice Durand edited a collection of essays entitled Melanges sur Nguyen Du (EFKO, Paris 1966).

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, French academic circles and the colonial authorities began to take a serious interest in Vietnamese culture.

A Bulletin do la Societe Academique Indo-chinoise was published in Paris and this was followed by the entnbl inlwnrnl in Gnigon of the Societe den etudes indo- chinoioes, as evidenced by the regular appearance of its Bulletin from 1883- 1975* These developments were, however, overshadowed by the foundation in Hanoi of the Ecole franc&ise d 1 Extreme-Orient. Its world renowned quarterly Bulletin was launched in the same year (1901).

Beginning with Histoire ancicnne et moderne dc 1 *Annam, Tong-King et

Cochin-chine Ctiu? throe mat* pr«'viin»rt; of Vi»M,nmnl (Turin IBM) hy Adrien Ijiu-

nuy, a majority of French nutiolaai concmtratrd on Uu* art ami archaeology of

Indochina. However, a substantial number of works appeared on ihe religious of

the region in general and Buddhism in particular. Gustave Dumouticr described,

inter alia, Le Grand-Bouddha de Hanoi . Etude historique, orchcologiquc et epi- yraphiquo sur la pagodc dc Tran-Vu (Hanoi 1888), Los eultes annamites {Hanoi 1907) and "Le clorec et les temples bouddliiqucs au Tonkin" (flevuc Indochinoisc X, Hanoi 1913) and contributed some "Notes sur le Bouddhisme tonkinois" (Pevue d*Ethnographic VII, Paris 1888). These were followed by Edouard J.J.Diguet Les annamites: societe, couttmes, religions (Paris 1906), Charles-Georges Cor- dier Litterature annamite (Hanoi 191*0 and Etudes de litterature annamite (Sai¬ gon 1933), Paul Mus "Les religions de l’Indochine" (in S.Levi Indochine, Paris 1931), A.Coul "Doctrines et c£r€monios rcligieuscs du pays d'Annam" (Bulletin de la Society des etudes indochinoiscs , NS VIII, Saigon 1933), Emile Gnspnrdone } "Bibliographic annamite" Cincluding Buddhism and its literature! (BEFE0 , Hanoi 193*0', Lucien Escalere Le Bouddhisme et eultes d'Annam (Shanghai 1937), Leopoid- Michel Cadiere Croyances et pratiques rcligieuses des Vietnamiens (I - Saigon 19M, repr.1958; XI - Saigon 1955; III - EFE0, Paris 1957), Maurice Dura,.^ "Litterature vietnamienne" (ln R .Quencau Nistoirc des litteraturcs I, Paris 1955) and, with Nguyen Tran-Huan, the definitive Introduction a la litterature vietnamienne (Paris 19^9). The last-named study constitutes a detailed histo¬ rical survey where the Buddhist comj»onent is noticeable iu the chapters on "Litterature folklorique" and "Le Kim Van Kieu et les romans en vers", A unique forty-page biographical dictionary is also featured and it was upon that basis that Dr Ivo Vasiljiev of The Oriental Institute at the Charles University (Pra¬ gue) contributed several entries on Vietnamese writers to the Dictionary of

Buddhist Studies Review I, 1 (1983-4)

Vietnamese Buddhist Literature

Oriental Literatures II (ed. D.Zbavitel, London 197**), including the moat pro¬ minent Buddhist poet in this century, Khai Huhg (l896-19**7). Editions *?hanh-^

Long, a Vietnamese distributor in Brussels, have published two relevant works by Jacques Baruch: Essai sur la litterature du Viet-Nam (1963) and Bibliographic des traductions frangaises des litteratures du Viet-Nam et du Cambodge (1968)•

The foregoing activity served as a stimulus to indigenous scholars and writers. General works from their pens include La Civilisation annamite (Hpnoi 19***‘) by Nguyen Van-Huyen and Le Viet-Nam, histoire et civilisation (ParitT 1955) by Le Thanh-Khoi, whilst Tran Vun-Ciap contributed "Lc Bouddhisme on Annum. DSs origincc at; XIHe sieclc" (BKFEO, Hanoi 1932)* "Les deux sources du Bouddhisme annamite. lies rapports uvee l’lnde et la Chine" (Cahiers de l'EFEO XXXIII,

Hanoi 19**2) and Contribution a l'etude des livres bouddhiques annamites conser¬ ves a l'EFEO (Tokyo I9U3). However, almost every other item relevant to this field of study has appeared in Vietnamese. During the 1920s and *30s Nguyen V&n- Hgoc and his brother, Nguyen Quang-Oanh, promoted the series, Viet-Van Thu^-XS ("Library of Vietnamese literature") and Co-Kim Thu L Xa ("Library of old and new works"). Vv also have on record the following studies: Phan Ke-Binh, Viet-//an Van Khao ("A study of Lino-Vietnamese literature", Hanoi 1918* repr.1930); Viet- | ram Ph5t -Divn Tung Son ("A collection or Vietnamese Buddhist literature", Hoi Viet-Nam Phat-Giuo CVietnamese Buddhist Association! and EFEO, Hanoi 1936);*0So Duy-Ahh, Viet-Nam Van \\oa Su* Cubhg ("History of the evolution or Vietnamese civilisation", Hanoi? 1938), Phan Van-Hum, Phat-Giao Tri<*t-W<?c ("The philosophy or Buddhism", Hanoi? 19*‘l), Ngo Tut-To, Viet-Nam Van-lloc-S\i ("History or Viet¬ namese literature", Hanoi? 19**2), Thich Mat-The, Viet-Nam Phat-Giao Su L Iubfc ("History of Buddhism in Vietnam", Saigon 19**2, 8th ed., Nha-Trang 196U), Dubhg Quang-Ham, viet-Wam Van-Hoc Su L Feu ("Summary of the history of Vietnamese lit- .

eraturc", Hanoi 19UU, repr.1951), Nghiera-Toan, Viet-Nam Van-Hoc-Su' trich yeu (ibid., Saigon 19>»9) and, with Hoang Xuan-H5n, Thi Van Viet-Nam ("Vietnamese literature", Hanoi 1951); Vun-Tan et al.. Set Thao Lich Su’Van-lloc Viet-Nam ("Out¬ line of u history of Vietnamese literature", Hanoi 1957).* ^Lam Vun-Dieu, Van-lfoc Viet-Nam ("Vietnamese literature 1 *, Saigon i960) and Thich Thien-An, Llch-S\f Phat -Ciao Viet-Nam ("History of Buddhism in Vietnam", Saigon 1965)* Gia-Tri Triet - Hoc Ton-Giao trong Truyen Kieu ("Philosophical and religious values in the Tale of Kieu", Saigon 19C6) and Anh Huihg Phat-Giao trong Van-Chubhg Truyen Kieu ("Influence of Buddhism in Vietnamese literature with reference to the Tale of Kieu", ?).

The Tripitaka (-Dai-Tang Kinh) was imported from China in the late tenth century and several studies and translations from both this corpus and the Pall > Cancn have been made by Vietnamese bhiksus in recent years. Such work was fact- 7 litated by the establishment of the Institute of Higher Buddhist Studies in

Saigon (196*0 and this was shortly transformed into Van Hanh University. This centre was soon recognised as the most prestigious of its kind and ullowcd for exchange scholarships with external universities, us a result of which some bhiksu students were enabled to pursue higher studies in which the U3e of Eng¬ lish or French led to a wider dissemination of their writings. (For further de¬ tails of Van Hanh see pp.98-109 in International Seminar on Higher education in Buddhism, VfFB Books Series 17, Bangkok 1968.)

The Rector of Van Hanh University (- since 1975 changed to the status of "Institute"), Thich Minh-Chau, had written on the "influence of Buddhism on Vietnamese Literature" {The Hahn Uodhi 66, Calcutta 1958) before enrolling at the Nava Halanda Muhavihfira - a post-graduate institute of Pali and allied studies in Patna. In affiliation with the University of Bihar, he obtained his Ph.D. in 1961 for a study and partial translation of The Chinese Hadhuatna Agaou 1 and the Pali Majjhima uikaga (published Caigon 196**). This was -followed by a comparative study of the W.Uindapanha and Nagasenabhikshusutra (Calcutta 196*0. Thereafter he devoted all his energy to translating the entire Sutta Pi taka in¬ to Vietnamese. By 1975 both the Dlghu and Mn,J!hima Nikuyas wore printed with

the original texts and within the next three years the Bamyuttu and Anguttara

Nikuyas, Dhaiam^wida, Udrinu and UuM.u-Niputu were translated and published in cyclostyle format. The remaining l*iokn of the Khuddaka Nikaya have now been translated and duplicated In Vietnam. In collaboration with hit; students, A.P. Buddhudutta',0 New Pali Course and Higher Pali Course have also been translated.

Thich Huyen-Vi, the spiritual supervisor of TuMMOn I.inh-Goh in Paris (and President of Linh-Soh Buddhist Association in France and England), obtained his doctorate In 1970 from Mugadh University (Bodh-Guya) for A Critical Study of the Lite and Works of Sariputta Thera (published Saigon 1972) - an unique sur¬ vey in need of reprinting. He has also produced a study based on the Abhldhumma- tthasangaha. The Four Abhidhammic Reals (Li nh-SoVt, 1982); Lubt Su' To Do- f>o f>a t - Ha ("History of Muster Uodhldluirma" , Saigon 1961); Tu Si va Hna-Si trvn Hat Phat ("The Buddhist Monk and the Painter hi the Buddha-Lund", Suoi ‘Tu*

Phat-Ly Can-Ban ("The Basis of Buddhist Doctrines", Huohg-Dao 197*0; Cubho Sang Ngubl Xu'a ("The Bright Mirrors or the Predecessv :*s", Hufctoe- -Dao 1975). A fellow bhiksu at Magadh University, Thich Thi on Thanh, has also obtained Ph.D. for "A comparative study of the Pali Plgha-Nikaya and Chinese Dlrghugama" (e.1976), whilst Thai Van-Chai was awarded his doctorate in 1972 for an "Early History of Buddhism in Vietnam".

Thich Thien-Chau, the spiritual director of the Association des ;k>uddhistes Vietnamiens en France and incumbent of Chua Truc-Lum in Puris, has been honour¬ ed with two doctorates from the Sorboimc: for a translation of a Chine 1!-

galavudin troutlsc, "-Lc TrldharmakaSastra" (Ph.D. 1971), and a pioneer survey of "La 1itteraturc dec perconnaXistes (Pudgalavadin) du Bouddhisme ancien" (D. Lltt. .1977). He has also translated the Pali Dl.ammapada into Vietnamese.

Apart from the foregoing, only privately produced secondary translations have ap eared, such as George Grimm's Die Lchre dcs Buddho as Tue-Giac Cua-Phat (Saigon 1964), liaradu Mahathcra's authoritative version of the Dhammapada (from English, Gaigon 1971), his exposition of Theravada Buddhism, The Buddha and His Teachings (translated, Saigon 1970) and his translation of the Abhidhomraa- tthacangahn, A Hanual ot Buddhism (translated, 2 vols, Saigon 1973/5)-

In the course of preparing this essay, the author gratefully acknowledges the advice of Vcn.Thich Huycn-Vi and Bhikkhu Pasad^ka. To the former he owes his knowledge of the intricacies of Vietnamese diacritical marks even if they could not all be reproduced accurately here.


Sukumar Butt Buddhism in Bast Asia. New Delhi 1966, pp.103-11.

Sir Charles Eliot Hinduism and Buddhism III. London 1921, repr.1971, pp.340-4.

D.G.E.iiall A History of South-East Asia. London 1955* 3rd ed.,1968, pp.l<j>5- 205. 415-35 and 644-65-

Nguyen Khnc-Kham Introduction to Vietnamese Culture. Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Saigon N.D., 17-22.

Thien-An Buddhism and Zen in Vietnam. Rutland, Vermont 1975-

Mai Tho-Truycn Le Bouddhisn^au Vietnam /Buddhism in Vietnam /Phat-Giao'Viet- Nam . Pagode Xa-Lol, Saigon 1962. P.64 quoted above **. i


Translated by John M.Cooper

Two sutrac on Dependent Origination (pratltyasamutpada) edited by N.Aiyasvami Sastri are here translated from the Sanskrit for the first time with the kind permission of the publishers The first sutra is from a Sanskrit original, but the second had been rendered by Sastri into Sanskrit from its Tibetan translation.

The first sutra belongs to the Hlnnyunu tradition according to Nan,Ho's Catalogue of the Chinese Trip!taka. It gives an explanation of the factors of the Dependent Origination formula.

The second sutra's connection with this formula lies mainly in the fact that it contains a verse called Pratityasamutp^dagatha. The mention of Nara- yana together with Mahabrahma^und Muhcsvara seems reminiscent of the triad, Braluna, Visnu and Giva, of Hinduism. ,

I am grateful to Dr M.N.Kundu who went over the translation and made a number of useful suggestions.

Salutation to the Triple Gem.

Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was living at SravastI, at the Jeta grove, in the monastery of Anathapindada, with a great community of monks, 1,250 monks. On that occasion the Blessed One addressed them: ’’To you, monks,

I shall teach to you the starting-point of dependent origination and its explan* ation. Therefore, listen well and duly ponder on it. I shall speak (as follows).

" the starting-point of dependent origination? That is to say (i) This being, that becomes; from the arising of this, that arises, (ii) Condition -ed by ignorance are volitional activities, conditioned by volitional activit¬ ies is consciousness, conditioned by consciousness is mentality-materiality,. conditioned uy mentality-materiality are the six senses, conditioned by the s^x sense senses is contact, conditioned by contact is feeling, conditioned by feeling is craving, conditioned by craving is clinging, conditioned by clinging is becoming, conditioned by becoming is birth, conditioned by birth old age and death, grief, lamentation, misery, dejection and perturbation arise - thus is the arising of this whole mass or misery. This is called the starting-point 6f dependent origination.

"What is its explanation? In 'conditioned by ignorance are volitional

Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

Use your endeavour! No heedlessness 1 Practise the Doccrlftt.S^ of good practice! Whoever practises the Doctrine dwells^happilfnji. in this world and the other.



36. Delight in heedfulness. D monks! Be of good conduct, 0 loilllfc nature o£ nibb5na ln the teaching of the Buddha was already

With your thoughts well recollected, watch your minds! 'K subject of discussion in ancient times. More recently it has

37. Begin now! Come out! Harness yourself to the Doctrine of thtlfrttn much debated both in modern Western scholarship and also

Buddha! Rout the army of death £s an elephant lajys waste more traditional Buddhist circles.^ One issue which has recent-

to a hut made of branches!

38. Whoever is free from heedlessness in this Discipline and Doctrine, by rejecting the round of rebirths will reach the end of suffering.

(Translated by Sara Boln Webb from the French of Sylvain L6vi as it appeared in the Journal Asiatiquo , Sept.- Oct. 1912, and published with the kind per¬ mission of the editors.)

I been a focus for discussion is the ontological status of nibbana. it some kina of metaphysical absolute? Or is it better seen the mere cessation of suffering or cVen as a. total ending of usience?

i the niKa yas

definitive answer to this question cannot easily* be found on it basis of the niklnpt material. Some passages would seem to sug- est that nibbana refers^ initially to the destruction of defile- tnts at the attainment of enlightenment but ultimately more part- cularly to the consequent extinction of. the aggregates making p the mind and body complex at the time of death. Other passages .an be used in support of the belief that nibbana is some kind 4 jjf absolute reality. Nevertheless it is evident that most relevant ^contexts In* the Sutta-pitaka are so worded as to avoid any commlt- fsent on this issue. This is clearly Intentional.

i Such a manner of proceeding has many parallels in early Budd- fklst thoupht. The most well-known example is probably the ten

Unanswered questions of HalurikyapJtta, but some other questions

are treated In the same way in the suttas. The accompanying pass¬

ages make It quite clear that the main reason Cor not answering mhese kinds of question is because they 'are not connected with phe spirit, not connected with the letter, not belonging to bogin-

^tlng the holy life, (they) conduce neither to turning away, nor

f *to passionlessness, nor to cessation nor to peace nor to higher ^knowledge nor to full awakening nor to nibbana'. This of course . ‘is illustrated with the parable of the arrow which strongly suggests t'lhat answering such questions would only give rise to endless ‘further questions. The attempt to answer them would take up too

*uch time and distract from the urgent need to follow the path

towards the goal.

\ Some scholars, notably K.N.Jayatilleke, have suggested that this was partly because no meaningful answer was possible. There

Jtj Uuddhist Studies Review l ,2 (1983-4)

may be something in this, but the texts do not seem to

Nibbana and Abhidhamma

ovided that is that the immense strength of these two typos

may besomething in this, but the texts do not seem to go quii* noviaca tnat Ao A --”

so far. More emphasis is laid on the need to avoid one-sided viewS®* viewpoint and their associated craving is recognised. For th rhov arc understood as pervading und distorting In ono

particularly eternalism and annihi la t ion i sm. Acceptance of tvi ways of seeing things would become fertile soil for various klu of craving which would themselves lead to further or more fix*

ddhlst they are understood as pervading und distorting in ono direction or the other all our normal modes of thought. Provided Ijjjo that the path set forth by the Buddha Is seen not so much

Views, thus creating or rather furthering the vicious circle tl[ al an alternative way of salvation comparable to others but more unhealthy mentality. Clearly this would defeat the very purpojf” 4 deliberate attempt to reduce the spiritual life to its bare of the Buddha's teaching. The Buddhist tradition is very emphstJ* ssentlals and t0 tria away ever y thin * redundant. The Buddha there- 1 hat Buddhas only teach what is conducive to the goal. "Mlore teaches only what is necessary without making any attempt

l0 satisfy intellectual curiosity where this would not be pfofit-

n,1U lE Perha ? s worth celling out in a little more detail,! ^ u u emphasl2ed that the Tathagata does not teach things

o y an soul (j,vo) are one and the same thing, then physical are trut but serve n0 use ful purpose or may even create.

cnlall}i annihilation of the individual. If however tbn l*

obstacles for the hearer.

1 rc distinct (and unrelated?), then death does not necessarllj *

entail Individual extinction and personal immortality might U • The account of nibbanh given in the nikirjas is clear and cogent.

Inferred. These views are not necessarily wrong. They are hw- • a,ch can be 6ald in prai8C o£ nibba,,a enc°“* a 8e the seeker.

over partial and misleading! exclusive adherence to them wil}l a ‘?* elall >' u 11 18 ln the form of 8l “ ile or met,phor * Such we load to •trouble. The Buddha's simile of the blind men and frequently., But there must be nothing so concrete as to en-

o lephant (Sn - a 529 ) Illustrates this perfectly. Each blind s«S t#ttta 8 e attachment or dogmatic convictions. Beyond this the Buddha correctly recounted his experience of some part of the elephaot. bid not wlsh t0 B °‘ Thc ni * J! ' as never depart wholly from this posit*

Uniortunately each one wrongly •'generalised his experience ltd ! t#n> Paseages which can be used to support a 'metaphysical' lnter-

i:;i stod on Its unique validity. In the end they ceme to blow! * rat8tlon do not d0 80 una » bi 8uously. Nor Is nibbana ever unequl-

In fact the elephant was much more than partial experience ltf T#call y depleted no total annihilation. What wo find aro hints

oath blind man to supposu, * •*, ' tod suggoat ions, but never enough to undermine the fundamental

until blind man to suppose, •*. ' tod suggostions, but never enough to unueriaiue me iuhuubuuui

Similarly in the BrahmajSlasutta the majority of wrong vie*, * i “* ^ apparent aoblgulty ls not carelessness or inconsistency.

are based upon genuine meditation experience, and knowledge. ta t |{ lg npt that . th , anclent Buddhist lradlt ion was not clear on

chr, has been Incorrectly Interpreted and ‘dogmatically ^ WtviM ..J Rather u „ as q ulte clear that It did

in it, is truth, all else le foolishness'.'Only a mi nor i tv of view : * , . ,, - . . ,

unxy a minority ot view ; wlsh u£} tQ b(J too cIear , Nor is U that 'Nirvana had several

are the products of reasoning. Without a basis in experience thii l . . , ,, 4 Qll „ h _ ririA _

, no r , n . . . V ^aeanlngs, and...was variously interpreted . Such a view docs

too cun only lead ,to obsession. If the existence or non-existenct^L , , . ,

not see the interconnectedness and internal consistency of the of me Tathagata after death is not specified, this is sureli ^ i fftB h ra nv

Buddhist dhamraa. The apparent ambivalence here arises centrally to avoid the two alternatives of eternalism and annihilationU*. • »

if n, ft T _. - . . , by the force of the dialectic of early Buddhism. If that dialectic

it the Tathagata were declared to exist after death, then the , r ..

i$ understood, the ambiguities and silences appear profoundly Budolust goal is some kind of immortality.. Such a view would leaf , f , ,

to ** .nn f 4 C integral to the Buddha s message of salvation.

10 .mine form of craving fo^ renewed existence r the very thltj

tu be abandoned. If on the other hand the Tathagata were gfMtf r Mlbbana ln the Abhldhamma-pJ. taka

to be non-existent after death, then either craving for non-exlst- Whereas the sutta .material on the subject of nibbana is often

ence - yc t another obstacle - would arise or the motivation tt c i te d and has been the source of much controversy, it does not

follow the path would be eroded. , *ppear that abhidhamma material is so well-known. There may then

The Buddha's silence makes very good sense in this light./ be 80Bie value in drawing attention to certain aspects. The abhi-

liuddhis t Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

dhamma position is already clearly formulated in the Dhammasarfgani (Ohs), the first and no doubt oldest work lr. the Abhldhanma-pitakaj The term nibbana is not used in the main body of Dhs which prefer! the expression asahkhata dhaeu. This is usually translated as ‘uncon¬ ditioned element*, i.e. that which is not produced by any cause or condition. Presumably this would mean ‘that which is independent] of relatedness*. i

Nibbana and Abhidhamraa

This interpretation of the term is supported by the Nikkhepa- kanda. In which the Matika couplet - .*». i/i himi..t/nnohkhoi. - icxplainei as equivalent to the previous couplet - sappaccaya/appaccaya, i.e. con* dit ioned/uncondit ioned . 6 The first term in each case is explained; as referring to the five aggregates. So for Dhs the unconditioned! element is different to the five aggregates. From this point of view something sahkhata exists in relation to other things as pact of a complex of mutually dependent phenomena.

The use of the term asahkhata dhaeu probably derives from the Bahudha tukasu t ta 7 , where It ione of a series of explanation* as to how a monk is dhatukusaia. uhatu usually translated by ‘element'J

Jla the AAguttara-nikaya (II 34) the Path is called the highest of conditioned dhammas, but nibbana (plus synonyms) is declared j^to be the highest when • conditioned and unconditioned things are 5uken together.

It Is, however, the verbal form corresponding to the much itore frequent sahkhara . A sahkhara is an activity which enables some¬ thing to come into existence or to maintain its existence - it | fashions »r forma things. So aomething which is saiikhata has been rfashioned or formed by such an activity, especially by volition. |The reference is of course to the second link in the chain of Conditioned Co-origination. The succeeding links refer to that ehich is sahkhata, i.c. fashioned by volitional activity (from this Ur a previous life). Since this amounts to the five aggregates, the whole mind-body complex, it is virtually equivalent to the 'leanings given above.

The Nikkhcpa-kamia (Dhs 1BO-234) gives a surprising amount »f information^ about nibbSna in its explanation of the Mattki. Aefore setting this out, it may be helpful to point out that

seems always to refer to a distinct sphere of experience: visible;/^ t tuo t le „ uhlch comroe nce the Matika embody a definite

object is experientially distinct from auditory object, fro. ori«| toir i The first flve el „ tly concern the process

f sight, from consciousness. of sight, etc.; earth is distinct from water, etc.; pleasant bodily feeling from unpleasant bodily feeling, etc.; sense-desire from aversion, etc.; sense-object* from form or the formless. Likewise the unconditioned and the conditioned are quite distinct as objects of experience. Usually the analysis into dhaeu is intended to facilitate insight into non-self. Presumably the purpose here is to distinguish conceptually the unconditioned element of enlightened experience in order to clarify retrospective understanding of the fruit attainment (phala- sam.iuott i ) .

Asahkhata occurs occasionally on its owh in the nikayas. The most conspicuous occasion is in the Asarikhata-samyutta (S IV 359-68), where it is defined as the destruction of passion, hatred and delusion. In this context it is clearly applied to the Third Noble Truth. In the Ahguttara-nikaya (I 152) the three unconditioned characteristics of the unconditioned are that ’arising is not known, ceasing is riot known, alteration of what is present is not known’. These are opposed to the equivalent characteristic* of the conditioned. In the Culavedallasutta of the MajJhima-nikaya (I 300) the Noble Eightfold Path is declared to be conditioned.


of rebirth and the law of kamma. Then follow two connected with jha/ia, after which are nine triplets concerning the path (magga).

The final six seem to relate especially to nibbana. This is not accidental, The intention is certainly to indicate an ascending order. This is perhaps more clear if set out in full, but in the present context I will confine myself tabulating the informa* tion given concerning the unconditioned element only in the Nikk- i hepa-kanda expansion of the triplets, listed in numerical order.

Asahkhata dhatu and the abhldhamma t riplets

1. It is indeterminate i.e. not classifiable as skilful

or unskilful action. Here in is taken with purely resultant mental activity, with kiriya action particu¬ larly that of the arahat who does what the situation requires and with all matter.

2. is not classified as linked (sampayutta ) with feeling

i.e. not in the intimate connection with feeling which applies to mind. Here it is taken with feeling Itself and with matter.

100 Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

3. is neither resultant nor giving results

, Here it ic taken withkiriyu action and matter.

4. has not been taken possession of and is not susceptible of' being taken possession of

i.e. it is not due to upadana in the past nor cat it be the object of upadana in the present - the refer-' cnee is of course to Dependent Origination.- Here it is taken with the Paths and Fruits.

5. is not tormented and not connected with torment

i.e. not associated with sahkilesa nor able to lead to such association in the future. Here again it is taken with the Paths and Fruits.

6 . is not with vilakka and vicara

i.e. not in the close association with these activities which applies to mind. Here it is taken with matter, the mentality of the higher jhanas and pure sense consciousness.

7. is not classified as associated with joy, happiness or equipoise

i.e. not in the close connection with .one or other of these which applies to the mind of the jhanaa , j paths or fruits. Here it is taken with matter, bobs feeling, painful tactile consciousness land aversion consciousness.

8 . is not to be abandoned either by seeing or by practice

i.e. not eliminated by one of the four paths. Here It is taken with everything which is not unskilful .including matter.

9. is not connected with roots to be abandoned by ■ seeing or by practice

i.e. similar to the preceding triplet

10 . leads neither to accumulation nor dispersal

i.e. does not take part in any kind of kamma activity whether skilful or unskilful not even the dispersive activity of the four paths. Here it is taken with resultant mental activity,kiriya action and matter.

H. is neither under training nor trained

i.e. distinct from supermundane consciousness. Here it is taken with matter and all mentality In the three

Nibbana and Abhidhamma


52. is immeasurable i c. superior buch to the very limited

mind and matter oi the sense spheres and to the less restricted mind of the form and formless levels.

Here it is taken with supramundane consciousness.

H. is not classified as having a small object, one which has become great or one which is immeasurable

i.e. the unconditioned element does not require any k object (.udmnami ) in contrast to mentality which re¬

quires an object in order to come into being. Here it is taken with matter.

54 . is refined i.e. superior both to the inferior

mentality associated with unskilfulness and to the medium .quality qf the remaining aggregates in the three levels. Here 11 Is taken with supramundane consciousness. without fixed destiny i.e. does not involve a definite kamma result. Here it is taken with everything except the four paths and certain kinds of unskilfulness.

16. is not classified as having the path as object, as connected with path roots or as having the path as overlord

i.e, does not have an object. Here it is taken espe¬ cially with matter.

17. is not classified as arisen, not arisen, going to arise

i.e. classification in these terms is inappropriate for the unconditioned element which cannot be viewed in, such terms - it is non-spatial. Here it is classi¬ fied on its own.

18. is not classified as past, future or present i.e. it is non-temporal. Here again it is classified on its own.

19. i*r not classified as, having past, future or present objects i.e. it does not have an object. Here it is taken with matter.

20 . is not classified as within, without or both i.e. it is not. kamma-born. However the Atthakatha- kanda of the Dhs, which gives further comment on the Matika, traditionally attributed to SAriputta, adds

dhamma position is already clearly formulated in the DhammasarfgMil (Ohs), the first and no doubt oldest work in the Abhidhamma-pitakJ The terra nibbana is not used in the main body of Dhs which prefers the expression asahWiata dhatu. This is usually translated as 'uncoa-l ditioned clement*, i.e. that which is not produced by any cause or condition. Presumably this would mean 'that which is independent of relatedness * . *. ,

This interpretation of the term is supported by the Nikkhepa- kanda, in which the Matika couplet - sniikhata/asahkhoi.a - 1 b explained as equivalent to the previous couplet - sappaccat/a/appaccaya, i.e. COI ditioned/unconditioned . 6 The first term in each case is explained^ as referring to the five aggregates. Sc for Dhs the unconditioned element is different to the five aggregates. From this point of view something sahkhata exists' in relation to other things as.part i of a complex of mutually dependent phenomena.

Nibbana and Abhidhamma

In the AAguttara-nikaya (II 34) the Path is called the highest of {conditioned dhammas, but nibbana (plus synonyms) is declared to be the highest when conditioned and unconditioned things are taken together.

It is, however, the verbal form corresponding to the much Itore frequent sahWiara . A s*n*/iara is an activity which enables some- j:thing to come into existence or to maintain its existence - it ^fashions or forms things. So something which is sarkhata has been fashioned or formed by such an activity, especially by volition. Tht reference is of course to the second link, in the chain of Conditioned Co-origination. The succeeding links refer to that shlch is sahkhata, i.e. fashioned by volitional activity (from this a previous life). Since this amounts to the five aggregates, the whole mind-body complex, it is virtually equivalent to the leanings given above. -

The Nlkkhepa-kanda (Dha ISO-234) gives a surprfalng amount of informaticV about nibbana in its explanation of the Matika.

The use of the term asahkhata dhatu probably derives from the Bahudhatukasutta 1 , where it is one of a series of explanations^

as to how a monk is dhatuktsala. Dhatu usually translated bv 'element 4*1" , . _ . . _ ^

7 y ® ^Ihofore setting this out, it may be helpful to point out that

seems always to refer to a distinct sphere of experience: visibl«|| - -

object is experientially distinct from auditory object, from organ]

1 sight, from consciousness. of sight, etc.; earth is distinct

from water, etc.; pleasant bodily feeling from unpleasant bodily

feeling, etc.; sense-desire from aversion, etc.; sense-objeett

from form or the formless. Likewise the unconditioned and tht

conditioned are quite distinct as objects of experience. Usually

the analysis into dhatu is intended to facilitate Insight into non-self. Presumably the purpose here is to distinguish conceptual!)! the unconditioned element of enlightened experience in order to clarify retrospective understanding of the fruit attainment ( phala sam7,uotti ).

Asahkhata occurs occasionally on its own in the nikayas . The mostt| conspicuous occasion is in the Asahkhata-samyutta (S IV 359-68) > If i where it is defined as the destruction of passion, hatred and It delusion. In this context it is clearly applied to the Third NobleTruth. In the Artguttara-nikaya (I 152) the three unconditioned characteristics of the unconditioned are that 'arisi'ag is not. known, ceasing is not known, alteration of what is present ll not known'. These are opposed to the equivalent characteristic! of the conditioned. In the Culavedallasutta of the Majjhima-nlkayi * (I--300) the Noble Eightfold Path is declared to be conditioned, j

the twenty two triplets which commence the Matika embody a definite conceptual 'order. The first five clearly concern the process of rebirth and the law of kamma. Then follow two connected with joins, after which are nine triplets concerning the path (magga).

The final six seem to relate especially to nibbana. This is not accidental. The intention is certainly to indicate an ascending order. This is perhaps more clear if set out in full, but In

tabulating the informa-

the present context I will confine myself t*.

{ tlon’glven concerning the unconditioned element only in the Nlkk- bepa-kanda expansion of the triplets, listed in numerical order.

Aaaftkhat? dhgtu and the abhidhamma triplets

J. It is indeterminate i- e - not classifiable as skilful

or unskilful action. Here it is taken with purely resultant meptal activity, with kliiya action particu¬ larly that of the arahat who does what the situation requires snd with all matters

is not classified as linked (sampayutta) with feeling

I.e. not in the intimate connection with feeling which applies to mind. Here it is taken with feeling itself and with matter.

Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

Nibbana and Abhidhamma

is neither resultant nor giving results

Mere it is taken with/ciriya action and matter.

has not been taken possession of and is not susceptible of being taken possession of

i.e. it is not due to upadana in the past nor cat it be the object of upadana in the present - the refer once is of course to Dependent Origination. Hei it is taken with the Paths and Fruits.

is not tormented and.not connected with torment

i.e. not associated with sahkilesa nor able to lead

to such association in the future, is taken with the Paths and Fruits.


is immeasurable i.e. superior both to the very limited

mind and matter of the sense spheres and to the less restricted mind of the form and formless levels. Here if is taken with supramundane consciousness.

U. is not classified as having o small object, one which has become great or one which is immeasurable

i.e. the unconditioned element does not require any object {aratumjiut ) in contrast to mentality which re¬ quires an object in order to come into being. Here

Here again i

it is taken with matter.

is not with vitakka and vicara j

i.e. not in the close association with these activities which applies to mind. Here it is taken with matter, the mentality of the higher jhanas and pure sense consciousness.

7. is not classified as associated with joy, happiness or equipoiit t i.e. not in the close connection with one or other] of these which applies to the mind 9 f the jhanaa ,1 paths or fruitr. Here it is taken with matteft, sore j feeling, painful tactile consciousness and aversion consciousness. .^

d. is not to be* abandoned either by seeing or \>y practice

I.e. not eliminated by one of the four paths. Here It is taken with everything which is not unskilful including matter.

9. is not. connected with roots to be abandoned by seeing or by practice

i.e. similar to the preceding triplet

in. leads neither to accumulation nor dispersal

i.e. <k>es not take part in any kind of kamma activity whether skilful or unskilful not even the dispersive activity of the four paths. Here it is taken with resultant mental activity, kiziya action and matter.

11. is neither under training nor trained

i.e. distinct from supermundane consciousness. Here it is taken with matter and all mentality in the three

U. if- refined

i .e . superior both to the inferior

mentality asf.oc i ated with unskilfulness and to the medium quality ol the remaining aggregates in the thre6 levels. * Here it is taken with supramundane consciousness. without fixed destiny i.e. does not involve a deiimte kamma result. Here it is taken with everything except the four paths and certain kinds of unskilfulness.

16. is not classified as having the path as object, as connected with path roots or as having the path as overlord

i.e. does not have an object. Here it is taken espe¬ cially with matter.

17. is not classified as arisen, not arisen, going to arise

i.e. classification in these terras is inappropriate for the unconditioned element which cannot be viewed in such terms - it is non-spatial. Here it is classi¬ fied on its own.

18. is not classified as past, future or present

i.e. it is non-temporal. Here again it is classified on its own.

19. is not classified as having past, future or present objects

i.e. it .(Joes not have an object. Here it is taken

’ with matter.

is not classified as within, without or both 

i.e. it is not kamma-born. However the Atthakatha- kanda of the Dhs, which gives further comment—on the Matika, traditionally attributed to Sariputta, adds


Buddhist Studies Review 1 , 2 ( 1983-4 )

Nibbana and Abhidhamma

here that nibbana and Inanimate matter (anindriya* element is unique in that it is not classifiable In terms of bjclclharupa ) are without whereas all other dhamaat, may be within or without or both. Probably it "a!

following Vibh 115 which classifies the Third Trutk|? n ggest some element of underlying idealism of the kind which

demerges later in the VijMnavSda

as without. The difference is perhaps due to an ambl- guity in the terminology. Without can be taken U two ways : a) without * the within of other people; b) without - everything which*'is not within. NibbSna cannot, be 'within* as it is not kamma-born.

21. is not classilied as having an object which is within or with out or both

arising or as past, present or future. Suggestively, however, E[lt may be reckoned as nama rather than rupa. 8 This does seem to la other Abhl Ihamma works i.e. it docs not have an object, with matter.

Here it is takes

22. cannot be pointed out and does not offer resistance

i.e. it is quite different to most matter and by impli¬ cation can only be known by mind. Here it is takes with mentality and some very subtle matter.

In general the Matika couplets do not add much to out understanding of nibbana. One point however is worth noting*. The first three couplets of the Mahantara-duka are merely a differ¬ ent arrangement of the four fundamentals of’the later abhidharama: citta, l ka , riipa and nibbana. Taking this in conjunction with the explanation of the triplets summarized above, we can say that the DhammasaAgani makes very clear that the unconditioned element is quite different to the five aggregates - at least as different from the aggregates as their constituents are from one another.

The unconditioned is not matter, although like matter it is inactive from a kammic point of view and does not depend upon an object as a reference point. It sis not any kind cf mental event or activity nor is it the consciousness which is aware of mind and matter, although it can be compared in certain respects with the mentality of the paths and fruits. The DhammasaAgani often classifies paths, fruits and the unconditioned together as * the unincluded (apariyapanna)' t i.e. not included in the three levels. Later tradition refers to this as the nine supramundane dhammas. The unincluded consciousness, unincluded mental activities and unconditioned element are alike in that they are not able

The description given in the DhammasaAgani is followed very closely In Later canonical abhidhamma texts. The Vibhanga, for Sexample. gives the identical account in its treatment of the { truths, taking the third truth as equivalent to the unconditioned element. 9 The Dhatukatha does likewise. 10 Some of this material can also be found in the Patthana which sometimes deals with albbana as an object condition. The Patisambhida-maggra. which contains much abhidhammic material although not formally in the Abhidhamma-pitaka,' also treats the third truth as unconditioned. Iqually, however, 1* emphasises the unity of the truths: 'In V*our ways the foux truths require one penetration: in the sense fot being thu 3 ,( ta^Aatthena) , in the sense of being not self, in the sense of being truth, in the sense of penetration. In these four ways Jthe four truths are grouped as one. What is grouped as one

unity is penetrated by one knowledge - in this

vay the four truths require one penetration'.

The four ways are each expanded. One example may suffice:

'How do the four truths require one penetration? What is Impermanent Is suffering. What is impermanent and suffering is not self. What is Impermanent and suffering and not self is thus. What is impermanent and suffering and not self and thus is truth. Vhat is impermanent and suffering and not self and thus and truth is grouped as one. What is grouped as one is a unity. A unity Is penetrated by one knowledge - in this way the four truths require one penetration.*

This cf course is the characteristic teaching of the Thcravada school that the penetration of the truths in the path moments occurs as a single breakthrough to knowledge (ekaWiisamaya) and not by separate intuitions of each truth in different aspects. We find this affirmed in the Xathavatthu l2 , but the fullest account

occurs in the ?etakopadesa 13 which gives similes to illustrate to associate with upadana or with any kind of torment (kilesa) . they j simultaneous knowledge of the four truths. One of these is the

are all 'immeasurable' and they are all 'refined'. The uncondition-

. simile-of the rising sun: *0r just as the sun when rising accomp-

Nibbana and Abhidhamma

10* Buddhist Studies Review 4,2 MVB3-'*) _

of the unconditioned and in their understanding of the nature

lishes lour tanks at one tine without (an ; ot them being) before knowledge of the four truths the Th.ravadin abhidhamma opts

or aJiv: - m dispels darkness, it makes iight appear, it makes for a £ ar inore unitive view than the Sarvast ivadin.

visible material objects and it overcomes cold, in exactly the ' Uinly due to what Bareau calls la tendance mystique des

same way calm and insight when occurring coupled together perfora pridin'. 16 We may say that the Theravadin abhidhammikas

four tasks at one time in one moment in one consciousness - thej ? * closer relationship to their original foundation of meditative

>r aJiv: - m dispel:; darkness, it makes iight appear, it makes 1- for a far more unitive visible material objects and it overcomes cold, in exactly them' Uinly due to what Bareau ca

break through to knowledge of suffering with a breakthrough by I? experience. comprehending (the aggregates), they break through to knowledge*' jnitary view of the truths has been interpreted in terms

of arising with a breakthrough by abandoning (the def llements), °f ’sudden enlightenment , but it has not often been noticed they break through to knowledge of cessation with a breakthrough V ibat it involves a rather different view of the relationship

by realizing (direct experience of nibbana), they break through 1 to knowledge of path with a breakthrough by developing.* ’<

At first sight this runs counter to the characteristic Thera¬ vadin emphasis on the distinctiveness and uniqueness of nibbana as the only asahkhata dhamma, This is most clear in the Kathavatthu although obviously present elswhere. 1 * Here a series of possiblt ; candidates for additional unconditioned dhammas are presented and rejected. What is interesting is the argument used, E6&entiall|\ the point Is made that this would infringe upon the unity of/ nibbana.The idea of a plurality of nlbbanac is then Ejected because it would involve either a distinction of quality between . them or some kind of boundary or' dividing * l^ine* between then, Andrd Bareau finds some difficulty in understanding this as it involves conceiving nibbana as a place and he rightly finds this surprising. 15 However, the argument is more subtle than he allows. What is being put forward is a reductio ad absurdum. The argument may be expressed as follows: the unconditioned is by definition not in any temporal or spatial relation to anything . Qualitatively it is superior to everything . If then two unconditloneds are \ posited, two refutations are possible. Firstly, either only one of them is superior to everything and the other inferior to that one or both are identical in quality. Obviously if one is superior then only that one is unconditioned. Secondly, for there to be two unconditioneds, there must be some dividing line or distin¬ guishing feature. If there is, then neither would be unconditioned since such a division or dividing line would automatically bring both into the relative realm of the conditioned. Of course if there is no distinguishing feature and they are identical in quality, it is ridiculous to talk of two unconditions.

One thing is clear. Both in their Interpretation of the nature

between nibbana and the world. This is significant. The view of nibbana set forth in the Dhammasarigani appears to be in other respects common to the ancient schools of abhidhamma. The Sar- vastivadin Prakaranapada, for example, has much of the same mater¬ ial. 17 It seems clear \hat although lists of unconditioned dharmas varied among the schools to some extent, they were all agreed that there were unconditioned dharmas and that the uncondit¬ ioned dharraa(s) were not the mere absence of the conditioned.

^ Only the Sautrantikas and allied groups disputed this last point, it seems clear that their position is a later development baaed upon a fresh look at the SCtra literature among groups which [’did not accord the status of authentic word of the Buddha to the abhidharma literature.

The Dhammasaftgani account is perhaps the earliest surviving abhldhammic description of nibbana. It is certainly represent¬ ative of the earlier stages of the abhidhamma phase of Buddhist literature. Of course some of the nikaya passages cited above appear to suggest a very similar position. Very likely some of these V were utilized in the composition of the Dhammasarigani, but- this

  • is not certain. At all events both are the products of a single

direction of development giving rise to the abhidhamma. We may suggest that this represents a slightly more raonist conception of yiibbana as against the silence of most of the suttas. never¬ theless such a position was at least implicit from the beginning.

J.R.Carter has drawn attention to the frequent commentarial identification of the word dhamma as catusaccadhamma (dhamma of the four truth) and r.avavidha loJcuttara dhainma (ninefold supramundane dhamma). 18 Here again a close relationship between nibbana and J ’the five aggregates or between nibbana and supramundane mentality is Implicit. What emerges from this is a different kind of model

106 Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4) ^

to those often given in Western accounts of Buddhism which seea to suggest that one has to somehow leave samsora in order to come to nibbana. Such language is peculiar in relation to a reality which is neither spatial nor temporal. No place or time can be nearer to or further from the unconditioned. - I

It can perhaps be said that the supraraundane' mentality is

Nibbana and Abhidhamma

from the njkayas. It cannot even be shown with certainty that a sin¬ gle view was held. By the time of the early abhidhamma the situation is much clearer. The whole Buddhist tradition is agreed that nibbana is the unconditioned dhamma, neither temporal nor spatial,

| neither mind (in its usual form) nor matter, but certainly not I the mere absence or cessation of other dhammas. The uniformity

sonuhov more like nibbSna than anything els*. Compare, for exapple, 1 #f thl , tradulon ls certainly a strong argument for projecting the simile of Sakka in the Maha-Govinda-suttanta: •Just as the I thl# posltion lnt o the nikayas and even for suggesting that it rep- vatcr of the Ganges flows together and comes together with thel {<sent8 thc true underlying position of the suttas.

water of thc Yamuna, even so’because the path has been well laid down for disciples by the Lord, it is a path which goes to nibbana, both nibbana and path flow together.' 19 Nevertheless nibbina is not somewhere else. It is 'to be known within by the wise*. ^ 'In this fathom-Long sentient body is the world, its arising, its ceasing and the way leading thereto.’ 21

Bareau has shown that the Theravadin abhidhamma retains an earlier usage of the term asahkhata as uniquely referring to nibbana. The other abhidhamma schools are in this respect more developed and multiply thc number of unconditioned dharraas. In¬ evitably this tended to devalue the term. So much so that the Mahayana tends to reject its application to the ultimate truth. Bareau ls surely right to suggest that there is a certain similar¬ ity between the original unconditioned and the emptiness of the Madhyamika. To a certain extent the Mahayana reaction is a return to the original position if not completely so.

In North India where the Sarvastivadln abhidharma eventually established a commanding position, the term dharma came to be Interpreted as a 'reality* and given some kind of ontological status as part of a process of reification of Buddhist terms. Nirvana then tends to become a metaphysical 'other', one among a number of realities. In*the South, at least among the Thera- vadins, dhamma retains* its older meaning of a less reified, more experiential ki.nd.. It is a fact of experience as an aspect of j the saving truthHaught by the Buddha, but not a separately exist- I Ing reality 'somewhere else'.

S?j the four truths are dhamma. Broken up into many separate pieces they are still dhamma. As separate pieces they exist only as parts of a complex net of relations apart from which they cannot occur at all. This is samsara. Nibbana alone does not exist as part of a network. Not being of temporal or spatial nature It cannot be related to that which is temporal or spatial - not even by the relation of negation! Nevertheless it is not somewhere else. Samaara is much more like a house built on cards than a \ solid construction. Only Lgnorancc prevents thc collapse i»C Us

A similar situation occurs with the peculiarly Theravadin 1 even by the relation of negation! Nevertheless it is not somewhere position of a single breakthrough to knowledge. 23 So far as I l else. Samaara is much more like a house built on cards than a know, it has not been pointed out how much nearer this is to \ solid construction. Only Lgnorancc prevents thc collapse ot lls thc position of the early Mahayana thatv to the Vaibhasika viewpoint, f appearance of solidity. With knowledge nibbana is^ as it were

The Theravada does not reify dhammas to anything like the extent found in the Sarvastivadln abhidharma. Nor does it separate xamsara and nibbana as dualistic opposites: knowledge of dukkha i.e. samsara and knowledge of its cessation i.e. nibbana are one knowledgt at the time of the breakthrough to knowing dhamma.

To summarize the kind of evolution suggested here: we may say that the main force of the nikayas is to discount speculation about nibbana. It is the summum bonum . To seek to know more is to manufacture obstacles . Beyond this only a few passages go. No certain account of the ontological status of nibbana can be derived

seen where before only an illusory reality could be seen.

1 1 am indebted to Ven.Ananda Maitreya for a fascinating verbal account of

some controversies on this topic in Ceylon. References in E.Laraotte Itistoicc du bouddhJsme indicn, Louvain 1958, p.43, n.57. A survey of some earlier Western scholarship in G.R.Welbon The Buddhist Nirvana and its Western Interpreters , Chicago 1968 (reviewed by J.W.dc Jong in Journal of Indian Philosophy l, Dord¬ recht 1972, pp.396-403).

For other views see: K.N. Jayat illekc Karl9 Buddhist Theory of Know* -dye.

Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

Nibbanu and Abhidhamma

'Xi2 Kv Chap. 11 9. Ill 3-4 .

33 l‘ai 134-3.

!*•; tl Kv Chap.VI 1*6, XIX 3-3.

"6 Ibid . , p. 253.

I- W Ibid., pp.4 7-6l.

Lon- on 1065, pp.673-6; D.J.Kalupahana Causality: The Central Philosophy of ftrffr Honolulu 1073. o.g. p. 17 3#; buddbist Philosophy: A Historical Analysis,

Honolulu 1076, pp.87lf.; A. D. P. Kalansur iya 'Two Modern Sinhalese views of nitb- ana', Religion IX, 1, London 1979; K.Werner Yoga and Indian Philosophy, Delhi

1977 , pp./7-bl; K.Lamotte The Teaching oC Vimalakirti , London 1076, pp ,LX-LXXK;t : to:*™* r./>.cU., p.3l.

D.S.Kucgg La t hCoric du tathagatagarbha et da gotra , Paris 1969 (for the deve- , loped Mahayana); Jong 'The Absolute in Buddhist Thought', Essays in Phil¬ osophy presented to Dr T.M.P.Mahadevan, Madras 1962 (repr. in Buddhist Studies .

Selected Ilssoys of Jong, Berkeley 1979); Andre Barcau L’Abnolu on phil- (jsophiv bnuddhiyue (Paris 1931) covers some of the same ground as this article in his earlier sections, but my interpretation differs somewhat.

2 The ten unanswered questions are put by Malunkyaputta at M l 426ff., by Uttiyo at A V 193ff. t by Potthapada at D 1 18 7 f f . and by Vacchagotta at

S IV 3951 i . Pour of them are discussed by Saripulta and by an unnamed bhikkhy at S II 222ff. and A IV 68 f£. A much larger list is treated in the same vaj al D III 1 35ff., while a whole section of the Samyutta-nikbya (IV 374-403) is devoted to these questions. Of course, this kind of expansion and variation Is exactly what is to be expected with the mnemonic formulae of an oral tradition The. issue is being looked at from various slightly different angles.

3 Louis de La Vallee Poussin The Wag to Nirvana, Cambridge 1917 (repr.Del hi 1982), j .134.

4 Kdwarc Washburn Hopkins, cited by Wclbon, t., p, 238 . Acadcr.i ic and Sinhalese Buddhist inter-

| it John Ross Carter Mamma. West \ juittuLionn. A study Of J rolujious concept. Tokyo 1970.

19 0 I! 22Z.

30 !> 11 9J; PTC gives twenty-four r.ikmjo rcfctences sv akalika.

21 C 1 62; A 11 48,50.

22 Op.cit. ' *

ly io1ated schools of the Vibhajyovudin group probably adopted the

same po

sit. ion, but it was completely rejected by the Pudgalavadin and SarvautlvSdin groups. The MahSsSmghtkos appear to have adopted a compromise liaicau l-cn noctcr, houdilh .(« Petit vfliicnlc, Saigon 19S5. p.62).

5 Hot only docs Dhs have a canonical commentary appended to it. It is also j quite evident that it is presupposed by the other works of the Abhidhamma-

pitaka (except Puggala-pannatti). Of course, the material which has been in¬ corporated into the Vibhahga may be older than Dhs, but in Us present foris It is younger.

6 Dhs 197-3.

7 N III 63 trom here it has been included in the lists of the Dasuttarasutta (D III 274J.

8 Harcau is wrong to suggest that the Vibhahga contradicts this, since the Vibhahga definition of nama is in the context of paticcasamuppada , which auto¬ matically excludes the unconditioned element.

9 e.g. Vibh 112-5; 404ff .

10 Dhatuk 9 and passim.

U Patis 11 105.


Bhikkhu NAnajlvako

Anatia, the teaching of no permanentself* entity or soul, required for its explanation a theory of 'psychology without soul'. The essential task of abhidhamma literature was to work oat this basic theory. In modern Western science and philosophy the same problem arose in the 19th century with the task of establishing a basic science of physiological psychology. One of its best known American founders, William James, has done most in this field to elicit also the philosophical aspects and implications of this new science and its relevance for the general world-view of our age. Among his philosophical essays the most significant for our analogy was 'Does consciousness exist?' - challenging the classical theological tenet of the soul theory. James welcomed with the greatest enthusiasm the appearance of the basic works of the founder of a metaphysically much broader conceived vitalist philosophjy, his younger French contemporary, Henri Bergson: The* Creative tVoiui ion , based on the function of an dlan vitaJ, inter¬ preted as 'the creative surge of life', as the primeval moving force of the whole process of the universal 'flux' of existence, conceived as the 'stream of life', of 'consciousness', of 'thought': and Matter and Memory, explaining the relation of mind and matter as consisting of the pulsation of an apparently continuous flow of instantaneous flashes of memory (like pictures in a movie show). 'Memory, by its active registration and connecting function of instant-events* was thus discovered as the missing link connect¬ ing the ’hard and static* atomic 'elements' of both mind and matter postulated by the earlier hypothesis of scientific material¬ ism. Now, on the contrary, physics becomes 'simply psychics invert¬ ed and 'cosmology, so to speak, a reversed psychology'. Thus

vitalism meant the end of the 'classical' materialism in Euro¬ pean philosophy and science.

This was underscored and ’elicited most extensively by the third best known vitalist philosopher, A.N.Whitehead. Speaking of actual occasion*, of 'throbbing actualities' understood as 'pulsation of experience’ whose 'drops’ or 'puffs of existence' guided by an internal teleological aim in their 'concrescence* (analogous to the Buddhist sahkhara in karmic formations) Join the 'stream of existence' (bhavanga-soto), - Whitehead has taken over the

Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4) 111

terms under quotation marks from W,James and extended their inter¬ pretation in a 'theory of raomentariness' corresponding to the

Buddhist khanika-vado (of course essentially, without any direct

  • 2

reference to the possibility of such analogies), ^

As a direct offshoot from vitalism there appeared in Europe, after the First World War, an authentic philosophy of dukkham whose representatives considered themselves to be the philosophers of existence, or 'existentialists*.

After the Second World War, when the correctness of these trends in European philosophy and their need for orientation were most obviously felt and confirmed, European philosophy with all its classical and historical precedents was forcibly suppressed by a militant Anglo-American anti-philosophical embargo imposed by the so-called 'logical positivists* and their reduction of philosophy to the exclusiveness of semanticist analyses and 'protocols' of allowable and unallowable word-meanings, a trend criticised tad rejected already by the Buddha under the designation ^ of ' logical, analysts (takkl-vlmamsl) believing only in empty words **

I ^nd 'meanings' arbitrarily attributed by 'the rules invented for a gamfe', as their modern successors formulated it.

Upajiva Ratijatunga applies in his presentation of tht abhidhamma modern criteria and terms implicitly analogous to the vitalist model. He translates, for example, cittam with 'tele-pulses' in phy¬ sical sense-organs in explaining their 'vital factors'. He des¬ cribes 'the occurring of a pulse of the vitality factor' and how it 'generates a momentary mental sub-personality*, 'the ex¬ perience of the life momentum* and the formation of the 'ego l complex’ led in its instantaneous transformations by the stream

basic 'vitalising factor* - jlvitindriyam - is translated as 'the pulsation'. In a 'living being's experience... objects and phenomena exist because they are reached directly'. And that Is the exclusive crlterium of their 'reality'.

The most significant and useful salient point in Ratnatunga’s model is, in my view, the essential restriction of the too wide extension of the range of abhidhamma conceptual numerology, con-

fuslngly unpracticable for our modern means and capacities of scientific computerizing. Remaining within the limits of the programmatic draft explicated in the Preface, it is encouraging

An Atlas of Abhidhamma Diagrams

Huddh i i'.t Studies Kevieu t,2 (1983-4)

to sec at the outset that the thematic range is restricted to ’a very small area of the Abhidhamma philosophy', of 'information gathered over the years' by the author in his specific quest 'that is connected with how a living being gathers information about the physical world around its body and then reacts to the perception'. Thus he 'realized that what was discussed in the philosophy was not the physical world, itself, but the living being's observed and inferred experience of matter and material phenomena in its body and in the physical world around it'.

No less Important than this restriction of the basic subject matter is the author's critical attitude and its cr^erium in j using Pali terms in their technical moaning and their contextual explanation. 'The subject matter of the Abhidhamma philosophy is very involved and the Pali terms used in describing the concepti were intended to be very precise. In consequence any error in Lhe. translation of Pali terms leads to confusion. Instead of translating Pali terms, the process of how the living being observe* o jeets and phenomena in the environment of the body and reacts tu the perception, has been described using a model that could | stimulate much of the living being's behaviour as described in the philosophy. ...The English terras used in this book, are those used for the same concepts in a more comprehensive book now under preparation in which I am covering a somewhat larger area.' b.Katnatunga .cannot conceal his 'hesitation to publish what I know', confessing that he 'tried to put the information together, in much the same way as an archeologist would do in attempting to reconstruct a shattered clay pot from the pieces found at an ancient site’. - 'The Abhidhamma texts appear to have been obscured by errors in memorising and errors in copying and also by mis¬ interpretations largely through failure to grasp the fundamentals that have been set out in this book.'

Toward the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century a revival of abhidhamma studies in the traditional ambience of the Theravada Buddhist world was noticed mainly in Burma from where it spread to neighbouring countries. The best known centres of this renewed trend in Buddhist studies were established by Led! Sayadaw between 1887 and 1923 . At that time (since 1900) also the first English translations of abhidhamma books, prepared in collaboration with Burmese scholars, were published by the Pali Text Society. At tho same time European students of Buddhist

started going Lo Burma for special abhidhamma studies. Most of the early Western bhikkhus were ordained iher- and continued their missionary work as abhidhamma scholars. The best known anong them was the German NyHnatiloka Mahathera, ordained in Surma in 1903. In 1911 he founded his Island Hermitage in Ceylon (Dodanduva) whose head he remained until his death in 1957. His ^

nain contribution to abhidhamma studies was the Cuide through theAWu- thamma~i>iiaka first published in Colombo 1938, and later in the 3uddhi a i Publication Society's editions. His German disciple,

Jiyanaponi.ka Mahathera, published his Abhidhamma Studies first in 1949, in the Island Hermitage Publications. This book was later reprint¬ ed by the Buddhist Publication Society (Kanuy). In the series of the same editions there appeared in English translation some vorks of Ledi Sayadaw (not to be confused with the later meditation teacher, Mahasi Sayadaw) *and others on the 'Abhidhamma Philosophy , including recent editions of Narada's Manual of Abhidhamma, containing the English translation of the Abhidhamraattha-saAgaha. Short V summary presentations of 'Abhidhamma Philosophy' in diagrams ' were often preferred also by authors with intentions more popular and superficial than U.Ratnatunga's work. To him we should be grateful now if he continues with less 'hesitation to publish what he knows' in turn, adequated to our 20th century capacities and habits of understanding the anthropological and historical backgrounds of such investigation.

In the meantime there arises a question of critical importance for the reader: To whom and how will the present schematic atlas^ be useful and helpful for the actual study of abhidhamma? Certainly L not to the unprepared beginner, the assutava puthujjhano . Its value 3 will be much increased by the following more comprehensive book.

Yet there are already in the Buddhist world many students who have tried to study such intricate summaries as the Abhidhammattha- sahgaha, or even to learn by heart at least parts of it in pari- venas. Speaking of my own experiences with a few translations

  • of this historically latest layer of dry bones survived archeo-

logically, or rather palaeontologically, 1 found out after many

years and attempts to approach it that there was the need of such a pedagogical talent as the Vajirarama Narada Mahathera,

i '- a disciple of the late Pelene VajiraftSna (who stirred up the ! interest of U.Ratnatunga in the abhidhamma philosophy in 1930),

  • to help me correct at least a few terms heaped up in single statements

An Atlas of Abhidhamma Diagrams

1 U|»a vn Kam.ii.unKa Hind and Hat t. hm/i.i/./Wi/ ,nmi/.-ir.«; utahesino) . . .' .

This idea of a 'great self' is amplified at A l 240. Here

the Buddha explains that the same small (evil) deed may take

one sort of person to hell to experience its fruition (vipa*j), while another sort of person will experience its fruition in

the present life, and not beyond. The first sort of person Is described as follows:

'A certain person is of undeveloped body, undeveloped virtue, undeveloped mind, undeveloped wisdom, he is limited, he has an insignificant self, he dwells insignificantly and miserable (ab/ia- vitakayo hoti abhavitasJlo abhavita-citto abbavitapaflfio paritto appatume appu- dukkha-vibarl)'.

118 Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4) / K

The second sort is described thus: « 

A certain person is of developed body, developed virtue, developed®!

Developing a Self without Boundaries xl<

(a) virtue, wisdom, the Path and the faculties (indriyas) are weil y 'developed (bhavita-)'.

mtnd, developed wisdom, he is not limited, he has a great self, || |b) 'body' (*; ya ) i s 'developed' and 'steadfast (thito)'.

he dwells immeasurable (aparitto mahatta appamana-vibarl)



ar. ion is



l ma 1

ke a

cup of

wa tei






si i

11 dr,

» a small evil


L ho

n he

tnu st

he some









he i

s probably a


ha s

t ran;



  • gr

cat * ,


is no metap


Id ha

i ve be

e a ' i n s i




deve ic

>pcd his

  • bod


e i r u

t hes«:

i four qu

i a 1 i. t


transforms a

per j

strateo by saying that a grain of salt undrinkable,^ but not the grea ; t mass the person who has a ’great self' can on, which brings some kammic fruition, rfho is not yet an Arahant. 6 As he is iocs not experience a kammic fruition

1(c) citta is ’developed’, 'steadfast', 'well-released (suvimuttam) *

£ and wituout ill-will,

S;(d) he is 'unlimited, great, deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom, k „tth much treasure, arisen (like the) ocean (aparitto mahanto gam- V bhjro iippameyyo Jim jKi/m-rataho aagar 'il/»flnn<>) ' (cf.M l 486-7), ? (e) in the face of the six sense-objects, he has equanimity and | is not confused; he sees only what is seen, hears only what

in heard . etc., and has no desire-and-attachment for such

hell, he is probably at least a St ream-enter er, however, one -!is heard, etc., and has no desire-and-a t tachment for such

rfho has transcended bad rebirths. As for the 'self' which is sense-objects,

'great*, this is no metaphysical self but the very 'self* which [(f) the six senses'are 'controlled (dantam)’ and 'guard'ed (rakkhitam) ,

jould have been ’insignificant* when the person in question had s (g) he is 1 se If-controlled (at tadanto) and with a well-controlled self (a it.m3 Sudan Lena) .

9. The above explanation of why someone - a Buddha or Arahant _ ig 'one .of developed self' certainly shows that such a per son has developed all the good aspects of their personality, but

to being great' can clearly be seen to be such practices

as the development of lovingkindness (metta) and mindfulness (sati). 1$ it also makes clear that such a person has two groups of qualities

The relevance of the first of these can be seen from A V 299 where an ariyan disciple whose citta, through met ta, ie grown great (mubayyota) and immeasurable (appamana), knows that: 'Formerly this

"that might fce seen as in opposition to*each other:

> (a) he is self-controlled and has a citta that is not shaken by the

input of the senses
he is self-contained,.

citta of mine was limited (parittam), but now my citta is immeasurable, I <*>> he has a cltta which has no limit or measure: he has no boundar- wel.l developed (appamanam subbavitara)* . The wording of this shows its I' les *

relevance to the A 1 249 passage. As for the relevance of sati, thli can be seen from M I 270, which says that one who feels no attract- j ion or repugnance for any of the six sense-objects, and who has mindfulness of the body dwells ’with a mind that is immeasurable (jppamanocccaso )•, in contrast to someone with the opposite qualities who dwells ’with a mind that is limited ( parittacetaso )' (p.266).

' One of developed self (bha vi tatto) '

8. As the path towards Arahantship is building up a 'great self', and a personality that has 'become self-like', then it is no wonder that the Arahant is called 'one of developed self (bbavit- atto)', a title which differentiates him from a 'learner (sekho)'

(It.79-80, cf.It.57 and 69). A long explanation of this ter* is found at Nd II 218-9, commenting on its application to the Buddha at Sn 1049. Summing up the various strands of this explanat¬ ion, one can say that for one who is'bhavitatto* :

How can someone be self-contained, and yet have no boundarler? Before answering this, we will outline further aspects of (a) and (b), so as to provide a good background for an answer.

Th e Arahant as self-contained and 'dwelling alonej,

10. The Arahant's self-contained nature is shown in many ways.

For example, at A I 124 he is described as 'one with a mind like diamond <vajirupamacitto)' : his citta can 'cut* anything and is Itself uncuttable - it cannot be affected by anything. Thus, at S II 274, Sariputta says that he does not know anything from whose alteration he would be caused sorrow or dukkha , and at Thag 715-7 the ArAhant Adhimutta shows complete equanimity when his life is threatened: the Arahant is not dismayed by anything. Again, the Arahant is 'unsoiled* by anything. At S HI 140 it is said that a Tathigata. like a lotus which 'stands unsoiled by the water (that! anupalittam udaJccria)' dwells unsoiled by the world

Developing a

12 i

Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

Self without Boundaries

ut.n t; ) ' . 8 Similarly, at Thag 1180, Mahamoggaliana

says of himself, 'he Is not soiled (nopa/ipoati) by conditioned lhln{i < wiKhurux) 9 a s a lotus is not soiled by water*. Elsewhere, the image o! the lotus or leaf being unsoiled by water is used to illustrate various qualities: ’Thus the sage (muni), speaking of P 2 JCe, without greed, is unsoiled by sense-desire and the world lr.. t .-v >:j l :>kc arrjpal i tto) * (Sn 845); 'lament and envy do not soil him (ta.rr; T t, u : iucvam t n.chdr<tn .. . n« Zippati)* (Sn 811); 'Thus the muni is net s«;iJed (tnjpol jppjti) by what is seen, heard or sensed* (Sn 812,

•{, Sn '78); 'so you are not soiled (lippaii) by merit or evil or both' fan 547).

Similarly, there is reference to monks 'unsoiled by any materia? tiling a/mpay/tiS)* (M I 319), and to Arahants 'having put

evils outside, unsoiled (bahitva papani anupalitto)' (S 1 141). Such passages show that an Arahant is 'unsoiled' by the world or sahkh- in the sense that he does not react to them with greed, lament¬ ation Qt.c . , he has no attachment for them and is unaffected

by them.

11. One can see, in fact, that the Arahant is, in a sense, cut oft from the world of the six sense-objects. Thus, at v M 111 274-5, the Buddha outlines a simile: a butcher who cuts off the hide from a dead cow and then drapes it back^over the carcase would be wrong, to say that, ’This hide is conjoined with the cuw as before'. Here, the carcase stands for the six internal ayuLa/M:. (the senses), the hide stands for the six external ones (the sense-objects) and the tendons and ligaments which are cut

stand for 'delight and attachment (nandiratjaas*) ' . As attachment is only fully got rid of by an Arahant, the simile surely is meant to apply to him. He is thus portrayed as being such that his senses are in no way tied or bound to their objects. He passes through the world without sticking to it. He is thus one who

'dwells alone ( ckovihazi ci> *, even if he is in the miJst of a crowd, for he has destroyed 'delight* and 'attachment* with respect to the six desirable sense-objects (S IV 36-7), Similarly, at

S II 283-4, the Buddha tells a monk living alone that to perfect dwelling alone {cka-vi/iaro) * he should abandon the past, renounce the future and give up ’desire and attachment ( chandarago ) ' for what Is presently (his) personality (paccuppanncsu ca actabhavapatilabhosu )' , He then gives a verse:

Who overcomes all. knows all (.abbibl.iw.u- sabbavidum), very wise. Unsol 1 cd by any dhammn ( soW^.mi dlwmmosi. anupalittam) .

Who, letting go of all. Is freed In the destruction of craving (sabbamjaham tanhakkhayc vimuttam) ,

That is the man of whom 1 say "he dwells alone (ekavibiriti)’" .

| The Arahant thus dwells totally 'alone' as he has let go of everjr- , thing , is not 'soiled' by anything. By ending attachment, he has i .'abandoned' the kbandhas (S Ill 27) and the 'home' which these con- ! stitute (S 111 9-10).

12. This 'aloneness' seems to apply not only to the Arahant, but also to Nibbana. '"Seclusion ( viveko) ' is a synonym for viriyj and i.i/odl.a ( S IV 305-8) and as these are themselves synonyms for Nibbana (e.g. It 88) Nibb’ana can be seen as such a 'seclusion'. .Thus Nd 1^26-7, commenting on this word at Sn 772. says that it can be of three kinds*.

I (a) of body (kaya-): physical seclusion in the form of forest- ( dwelling,

} (b) of mind (citto-): this refers to the c-itta of one in any of the eight jlumas , or in any of the tour ariyan persona - such cittas are ’secluded* from various unskilled states,

(c) from substrate (upadhi-): this refers to Nibbana, which is ’se¬ clusion' from 'substrate' in the form of defilements, khandhas

and kainma formations.

There is, indeed, considerable evidence (which cannot be dealt with here l0 ) , that Nibbana is a Wflnana (consciousness) which has transcended all objects and thus become objectless and uncon¬ ditioned. As such, it is ’secluded’ from all conditioning objects, \ and is totally ’alone* .

The Arahant's boundaryless citta

13. Vie now move to examining further aspects under point (b), at Para,9, that of the Arahant’s citta lacking boundaries.

The Arahant is in ,several places described in such a way as to suggest that he has broken down all barriers between 'himself' and ‘others*. At M 1 139 (and A III 84) he is said to have:

(a) 'lifted the barrier (ukkhittapaliyho) ’ , rid of avijja (ignorance),

| (b) 'filled the moat (sanJcinnaparikho) ' , i . e again-becoming and

/ faring on on birth (jatisamsaro) is got rid of',

Buddhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

hevclopJng a Self without Boundaries!

(c) 'pulled up the pillar (abuihesiAo)', i.e. got rid of craving,

(d) 'withdrawn the bolt (niragyalo)' , t. e . 'the five lower fetters binding him to the lower (shore) are got rid of',

(e) become 'a pure one, the flag laid low, the burden dropped, without fetters (ariyo pannaddhajo pannabharo visamyutto)' , i.e. he has got rid of the 'I am conceit (asminmano)' .

The Arahant can thus be seen as no fonger waving the if lag of 'I am* and so no longer has boundaries, as he no longer identi¬ fies with any particular group of phenomena such as his 'own* Ichancfhas. There is no longer ignorance to act as a barrier. Thus the Buddha refers to himself as having broken the 'egg-shell of ignorance ( avijjandakosam )' (A IV 176, cf.M I 357). In A similar, but more striking way, the Avadana-tfataka says of the Arahant: 'he lost all attachment to the three worlds; geld and a clod of earth were the same to him; the sky and the palm of his hand were the same to his mind;...; he had torn the egg-shell (of ignorance) by his knowledge...; he obtained the knowledges, the abhijfias... 1 . 11 Again, A II 166 compares the 'break-up (-pafchedo)' of ignorance to the 'breach of a dyke {alippabhedo)* which will occur in 'a village ‘ pond that has stood for countless years (anekavassayaniJta) 1 when all the inlets are opened, the outlets blocked and it rains down stead¬ ily. Thus ignorance Is like a 'barrier' to be lifted, an 'egg¬

shell' to be broken and the 'dyke* of an ancient pond, to be burst* The Arahant is one who has destroyed such an enclosing boundary*

14. The lack of boundaries to the Arahant's mind is perhaps well illustrated at M I 206-7 (cf.M III 156). Here, the Buddha

approaches the monks Anuruddha, Nandlya and Kirabila, greeting

them simply as 'Anuruddhas;*. He then asks them:

'And how is it that you, Anuruddhas, are living all together on

friendly terms and harmonious, as milk and water blend, regarding one another with the eye of affection?'

Anuruddha then replies that this is because he has developed motto, with respect to acts of body, speech and mind, for his com¬ panions and thus had gone on to become such that:

'!» Lord, having surrendered my own mind (saka/n cittam niXJchipitva), am living only according to the mind of these venerable ones (ayasmantanam cittassa vasena vattami). Lord, we have diverse bodies (nana...Jcaya) but assuredly only one mind (ekafi ca.. .cittan-ti ) ' .

Anuruddha then explains that they help each other with various

chores and, at p.210, that he knows that his companions have attain¬ ed all eight jhanas and nirodha-samapatti and destroyed the cankers (I-savas) as he has read their minds. In this passage, one thus finds three Arahants being regarded as having one citta and being all called 'Anuruddha', even though this ^is the actual name of only one of them. This merging of cittas is motivated by mcttS, a quality which when fully developed means that a person no longer has the barriers that make him prefer his own happiness over that of others 12 , and, one must assume, such merging is enabled by the three monks being Arahants, whose cittas are no longer enclosed in an 'egg-shell' of ignorance and who no longer wave the flag of *1 am'.

15. The reason why the Arahant's citta has no boundaries, why he 'dwells with a citta made to be without boundaries (vimariyadi- katena colas* viharati)' is explained in a number of places. It is be¬ cause he is 'escaped from, unfettered by, released from (nissato visamyutto vippamutto)* the Wiandhas, being like a lotus standing above the water, urfsoiled by it (A V 152), because he feels no attraction or repugnance for the objects of the six senses and so Is 'independ¬ ent Twnissito)' , 'released, unfettered 1 (M III 30), and because he has fully understood the satisfaction of, misery of and 'leaving behind (nissaranam)' (i.e. Nibbana, from Ud BO-l) of the khandhas . so as to be 'escaped, unfettered, released' (S III 31).

The Arahant 1 s anatta , bounda ry less , self-cont ained ' sej Jfj.

16. The above, then, enables us to resolve the apparent tension outlined at Para.9. It is because an Arahant is so self- contained, having abandoned everything, being 'unsolled' oy anything, without attachment or repugnance for sense-objects, Independent, 'dwelling alone', and having experienced Nibbana, 'seclusion', that his citta has no boundaries, citta, being completely 'alone* has no barriers or boundaries. When a person lets go of everything, auch that *his' identity shrinks to zero, then citta expands to in¬ finity. -Whatever one grasps at and identifies with as 'l am* limits one. As can be seen at Sn 1103 and S I 12, it allows Mara to 'fol¬ low* a person and devas and men to 'search' him out. The Arahant, however, does not invest anything with selfhood and so cannot be 'found' anywhere. Though he is completely 'alone', he 'is* no-one, he is a 'man of nothing (akincano)'. He has broken through the binding-energy of I-eentred existence. Thus Sn 501 says of

Bucdhist Studies Review 1,2 (1983-4)

Developing 3 Self without Boundaries

the ’Brahmin’, i.e. Arahant:

“-’ho fare in the world with self as an island (attadlpa ),

Entirely released, men of nothing (akiflcanS sabbadhi vippam ucta),./

17. The Arahant dwells with 'self 1 (citta ) as an island, but he knows that 'himself', ’others' and the world are all, equally, anatta, and that there is no real 'I am' anywhere: he has nothing on the island, so to speak. Thus Adhimutta was not afraid when his life was threatened as there was no 'I' there to feel threaten¬ ed and afraid, only dukkha dhammae (Thag 715-7). Again, the Arahant's senses are 'cut off' from their objects (Para.11) Aot because he invests identity in his sentient body and shuns all else, but because he sees both , the inner and the outer, as equally anatta.

He is undisturbed by the world not because he Is protected from it by a barrier, but because he realizes that no such barrier exists, separating a ’self', an from 'others'. All is equally

anatta, $ 0 there are no grounds for 1-grasplng to arise and give his citta limiting boundaries. Paradoxically, by realizing that all > he had taken as acta and 'I' is really anatta and insusceptible to control (S III 66-7), the Arahant is no longer controlled' 4 *by such things - they have no hold over him - and he is more able to control them - he has mastery over his mental processes^ As Edward Conze says, one awarq of things as anatta will see that 'possessions pos¬ sess you, see their coercive power and that "1 am theirs" is as true as "they are mine’". 13 Nyanaponlka expresses a similar thought when he says, ’Detachment gives, with regard to its objects, mastery as well as freedom. 14

like citta, unperturbed and ’unsoiled' by anything (Para.10), with his senses not tied to their objects, one who has perfected ’dwell¬ ing alone' by letting go of everything (Para. 11) such as the *hand- has, with no attachment or repugnance, independent (Para.15). He haJ experienced Nibbina. the ultimate 'seclusion’ (Para.12), the ’leaving behind’ of the conditioned world (Para.15). It is because of these self-contained qualities that the Arahant is one who has made his citta to be without boundaries (Para. 16) and has broken the ’egg-shell', hurst the ancient *pond‘, of ignorance (Para*V3) and is such that his citta can merge with that of other Arahants (Para. 14). He is an independent 'man of nothing' who does not identify with anything as but who surveys everything, internal

and external, as anatta, such that he (a) is completely 'alone' with* ‘self as an island:* he does not identify with anything, does not ‘lean’ on anything, is not influenced by anything, as nothing can excite attachment, repugnance or fear in him and (b) he has a boundaryless citta, not limited by attachment or I-dentif ication, and immeasurable with such qualities as lovingkindness (Paras 16-17). He has, then, a developed, boundless 'self', this being, paradoxically, because he is completely devoid of any tendency to the conceit of *1 am', having realized that no metaphysical self can be found - thaL the thought of '1 am’ can only arise with respect to factors (the Mundhas) which cannot possibly give it genuine validity. As seen at Sn 19, he is one whose hut , i,e. citta, is open and whose 'fire', i.e. attachment, hatred and delusion, which are centred on the '1 am' conceit, is out. ,

18. Summarising the findings of this article, we can thus say the following. The ariyan eightfold Path, when properly integrated into someone's personality, is regarded as 'become self-like' (Para.5) ano those on the Path are such as to live with ’self' - citta - as an 'island', by means of the Foundations of Mindfulness (Paras 3-4). By such factors as mindfulness and lovingkindness (Para. 7) the Path can be seen as developing the good qualities and strength of a person's personality such that Stream-enterers etc. are referred to as 'those with great selves' (Para.6). At the culmination of the Path stands the Arahant, 'one of developed self', who has carried the process of personal develop¬ ment and self-reliance to its perfection (Para%8), He is thus very self-contained and self-controlled (Para.9), with a 'diamond-


1 This article is substantially the same as Chapter 13 of the author s Ph.D. dissertation, ’The Concept of the Person in Pali Buddhist Literature (University of Lancaster 1981).

2 This is the formula for the four Foundations of Mindfulness, c.g. at M I

3 'Dhamma' is here used in the sense of ’teaching' (and its practice), rather -than in the sense of 'Nibbana'. It is only in this former sense that there

can be an ’other Dhamma’: from the Buddhist point of view, the 'Dhamma* In the sense of ’Nibbana' is unique, but there can be different 'Dhammas' in the sense of ’teachings'. Thus, at H 1 168, in persuading the Buddha to teach, Btahma says, 'There has appeared In Magadha before you an unclean Dhamma...', i.e. a perverse teaching. Again, at A I 218, a layman praises Xnanda's modesty

Buddhist Studies Revlev 1,2 (1983-4)

In teaching by saying, 'here there is no trumpeting of his own Dhamroa (sadhammu- Xicamsana), no depreciating of another*s Dhasuaa {paradhammSpas&danS) but Just teaching Dhamma (dhammadesana) in its proper sphere'.

4 This can be seen from various parallel passages on atta and on citta . For example, Dhp 160 says, 'For with a well-controlled self (attana* va sudanterto),

one gains a protector hard to gain*, while Dhp 35 says, ’a controlled (dantaai) citta is conducive to happiness*. Again, A II 32 talks of ’perfect applicatioa of self ( atta-sairjnS-panidhi ) as one of the four things which lead to prosperity, while Dhp 43 secs *a perfectly applied isamma-panihitam) • citta as doing tor one what no relative can do. That citta is not an atta in a metaphysical sense (i.c. it is anattS) can be seen from the fact that S V 184 sees it as dependent 'on n&ma-rQpa , raind-and-body. A metaphysical atta , on the other hand, would be an independent, unconditioned entity.

5 Aturoo is the archaic word for atta. Thus Nd 1 69 says atuma vuccati atta.

6 Although MA II 361 secs him as an Arahant, being without attachment, hatred and delusion, which are 'productive of the measurable', as seen at M I 298.

M I 298, however, does not limit 'immeasurable* states to that of the Arahant'» 'unshakcable cetovimutti* but says only that thjs Is the ’chief’ of these. Others it mentions arc the four Brahraaviharas, and the Corny, MA II 354 . adds the four maggas and the four phalas to the list.

7 or ’body’ here, may refer to the nSma-kaya, i.e. to the components of ndma, or to nSma-rOpa as a whole. A 'developed Jc3ya * must be a person's

body of mental states or their 'sentient body' when developed by Buddhist practice.

8 Cf. A II 30-9.

9 Cf Ps II 220 on five kinds of viveka , the last, again, being Nibbana. Simi¬ larly, Nd II 251 explains the v ivekadhatmam of Sn 1065 as Nibbana.

10 See Chapters 10 and 11 of author's dissertation (see Note 1).

11 As quoted and translated by Har Dayal in his The Bodhisattva Doctrine in Buddhist Sanskrit Literature (London 1932; repr.Delhi 1978), p.15-16. On

the abhifllias as overcoming various barriers, sec A III 27-8.

12 See Vism 307-8 and Sn 368 and 705.

13 Buddhist Thought in India (London .1962), p.37.

14 The Heart of Buddhist Meditation (London 1969), p.68.

A V A N T - P K O P O 5 (1)


Par le ^ramana (3) Che Tao Ngan ( \

Dynaslie des Tsm )

Traduil du Chinois par THfcH HUYEN-Vl

U exisie qualre recueils d’Agama (4). La definition de I'appellation "Agoma" a exposde dans le dcuxifcmc recueil, le MadhyomSgoma cl il nous paratl inutile dc la rappeler ici.

Prdcisons seulemenl la definition du lerme "Ekotlara". Littdralement il signifie WW augments do un". Que veul dire "augments de un"? "Dix" repr4sente I'inumdration complete des sujels trails, complite^dans leur nombre et dans leur classification par categories, cl la dizainc augments* dc I'uniti symbolise la progression susceptible de s'dlendre vers I'infiri. Ainsi cheque rfegle 4dicl4e par I'enseignement progresse cheque jour, lend ant vers la perfection. Pour cette raison, le prdsent Recueil des Rfegles de lo Doctrine el des Rites'servira pour toujours comme des mesures et des modules en or el en jade pour le salut des Sires vivanls.

A I'exUSncur du continent indien, les qualre Recueils d'Agamo ont 6tS accueillis avee respect par tes habitants des agglomerations citodines einsi que par les religieux retires dans les bois et les monlagnes.

'.e vSnSrable Sramaija Dharmanandin (5), originate de Taksaflla (6), Stall entrS asset tard on religion. II o consacrd le reslo de so vie 4 dludicr Ids Agoma ct il cn possddait parfaitemenl la lettre et I’espril. Parloul 4 I’Slranger ses conferences Staicnt suivies avec enlhousiosme.

En I'on 20 de l*4re KicnYuan ( ) des Te'm (.4-), il arriva 4 la capitate Tch’ang

I Ngan et lous les habitants, aussi bien les nalits du pays que les rdsidenls (Strangers Ic

\ lou&renl pour ses explications des texles des Agama. Le gouverneur mililaire Tchao

> Wen Ye ( M jC.-^ ) le pria de rendre la connaissance des Agama accessible au people.

A I'enlrrprisc gigantesque de transcription (en langue chinoise) participaient le vSndrable Buddhasmrti comme traducteur et le Sramana Dharmanandin comme correcteur. Clle commenga d4s la retraile d'dtd de l'annde Kia Chen ( f Jp ) pour se terminer 4 la flo du printemps de I'annde suivanle. Le recueil[d'EkoUaragama]a M nfparti en quarante-et -un fascicules formant de'ux tomes. Le premier tome comptant vingl-six fascicules est complet par rapport aux texles originaux. Le deuxidme tome de quinze fascicules est incomplet : il y manque les gatha (courts podmes rdsumant le contenu de cheque

_sutra) (7).

Moi, Dharmanandin, j'ai participd 4 la correction avec d'autres religieux. Les vdndrablcs Seng Uo ( ft > et Seng Meou ( ft ft. > ont pu reconstituer et le* partie. Trailokyavijayamatujalopayika: Anandagarbha's SrUrailokyamandalopayika arya- laUvasanigrahatantroddhftd (dpal khams gsum mam par rgyal ba'i dkyil *khor gyi cho gaphags pa dc kho na nid bsdus pa 7 rgyud las btus pa ), Tibetan translation, Peking edition, vol.74 (no. 3342), pp. 32c8-52b8.

Vajrasekharatantra : Vajra.sikharatantra (sic), Tibetan Translation, Peking edition, vol.5 (no. 113), pp.lal-56d7.

Vajrasekharatantra , Tibetan Translation, Taipei edition, vol. 17 (no. 480), pp.223d 1 -261 a5.

Yainada 1981 lsshi Yamada (cd,), Sarva-Tathagala-Tattva-Samgraha-Ndma-Muhd - ydna-SCitra , A crit. cd. based on a Sanskrit manuscript & Chinese & Tibetan transl. (Sata-Pitaka Series 262), New Delhi 1981.


Explanations of dukkka

The present contribution presents some philological observation:, and a historical assumption concerning the First Noble Truth.

It is well-known to most buddhologists and many Buddhists that the explanations of the First Noble Truth in the First Sermon as found in the Mahavagga of the Vinayapitaka and in some other places conclude with a remark on the five upadanakkhandha, literally: 'branches of appro¬ priation*. This remark is commonly understood as a summary.

Practically unknown is the fact that in Hermann OLDENBERG’s edition of the Mahavagga' (= Via 1) this concluding remark contains the parti¬ cle pi, like most of the preceding explanations of dukklta. The preceding explanations are: jdti pi dukkha, jara pi dukkha, vyadhi pi dukkhS, maranam pi dukkham, appiyehi sampayogo dukkha, piychi vippayogo dukkho, yam'p ’ iccham na labhati lam 2 pi dukkham (Vin I 10.26). Wherever pi here appears it obviously has the function of coordinating examples of events or processes that cause pain (not: are pain 3 ): birth is causing pain, as well as decay, etc. 4

1. The Vinaya Pilukam. Vol. 1, The Mahuvuggu. Lonilon-Edinburgli 1879.

2. OLDENBERG’s edition seems to reflect inconsistency of the manuscripts in some¬ times considering combinations of -m with the particle pi as a real sandhi and writing -m pi.

3. dukkha - is an adjective here; it follows the gender of the preceding (pro)noun. Not so in the MOlasarvastivada version in The Gilgit Manuscript of the Satigha• bhedavastu, cd. by R. Gnoli andT. Vcnkatacharya, Part 1, Roma 1977, 137: jSlir dukkham, jara duhkluuiu vyadliir duhkluup, maranani duhkhain, priyaviprayogo duhkliam, apriyasamprayogo duhkhain. yad apTcchan paryesamdno na labhatc tad api duhkhain, saAksepatah panca upadanaskandha duhkhain. Here only yad aptcchan paryesamdno na labhate tad api dultkhain contains api.

4. In translating the noun dukkha as ‘pain’ (and correspondingly the adjective as

‘causing pain’ or ‘painful’) I follow K. R. NORMAN “The Four Noble Truths”, in: tndogical and Huddhist Studies (Festschrift J.W. dc Jong) cd. A.L. Hcrcus ct. al. Canberra 1982: 377-391, n.3 “without implying that this is necessarily the best translation”. ..

Journal of the International Association of lltuUlhisi Studies Volume 21 • Number 2 • IV9X

At Vin I 10.29, the concluding remark runs as follows: samkhittena pane' upddunakkhandhd pi* dukkhd. No note on this pi is found in OLDENBERG’s generally trustworthy apparatus criticus. So we may infer that the manuscripts consulted by OLDENBERG all contained this pi.

In the Dhammakdya CD-ROM [1.0, 1996], which, with some errors, represents the PTS editions, this pi is also found in other places where the concluding remark on dukkha appears, namely, DN II 305.5; 307. 17-20; SN V 421.23; Pads I 37.28; II 147.26; Vibh 99.10; 101.15. 20. However in the Nalanda-Devanagan-Pali-Series (=NDP) [1958, etc.] it is missing in all these places (including Vin I 10.29), while it is found in AN 1 177.2, where it is lacking in the Dhammakdya CD-ROM. In MN I 48.34 and 185.6 it is found neither in the PTS edition [ed. V. Trenckner, 1888] nor in NDP 6 . But TRENCKNER remarks on p.532 with regard to 48.34: “-kkhandha pi M and all the Burmese authorities known to me, also Vin. l.c. [=Vin I 10.29].” The CD-ROMs BudsirlV of Mahidol University [1994] and Chattha SartgUyana from Dhammagiri [1.1, 1997] consistently omit pi in these places.

We can therefore state: 1) TRENCKNER, whose edition of MN I nor¬ mally cxcells the average PTS editions, has chosen a reading against all Burmese manuscripts; 2) NDP and the CD-ROMs mentioned above, all v depending on the Sixth Council, do not accept this pp\ 3) other editions show there was a manuscript tradition of employing pi in thfe concluding remark in the Mahdvagga as well as in Sutta and Abhidhamma texts.

How should we deal with these observations from a historical point of view? That TRENCKNER has made his choice against nearly all his witnesses is easily explained. On the third page of the Preface of his MN l edition lie says: “Buddhaghosa’s commentary has been of very great service. Whenever his readings, from his comments upon them, are unmistakable, they must, in my opinion, be adopted in spite of other authorities. His MSS. were at least fifteen centuries older than ours, and in a first edition we certairly cannot aim at anything higher than repro¬ ducing hi; text as far as possible (here he adds a footnote: ‘Even if his readings may seem questionable, as [...]’)”.

5. OLDENBERG writes: updddiwkkltandhdpi

6. Note that at MN I 48.34 in TRENCKNER’s edition the passage appiyehi sampa- yogo dukkho, piyelii vippayogo dukkha of Vin 1 10.29 is replaced by sokapari- devadukkhadomanassupdydsd pi, while in NDP it is preceded by this long compound, and pi also appears after sampayago and vippayogo.

7. The pi at NDP AN I 177.2 seems to have escaped attention.

What does the commentary to MN I 48.34 say? It refers to the discus¬ sion of the four noble truths in [[[chapter]] XVI] of the Visuddhimagga.

There (§ 57-60 ed. H.C. Warren and Dh. Kosambi, Cambridge Mass!,

1950) we read sahkhittena paheupaddnakkhandha dukkhd, without pi. f The Sixth Council (perhaps influenced by. TRENCKNER’s view) may have had a similar motive for leaving out pi at all places where the con- C eluding remark on dukkha appears, but I have no information about this and can therefore only deal with TRECKNER’s statement.

In the main, I am in favour of considering the oldest commentaries as .... very likely preserving old readings. But such a reading, especially when the commentator himself lives centuries after the composition of a text, cannot be preferred to another, if he employs ideas that cannot be found in the old texts, whereas the other reading can be defended by referring to their 0011101118411118 is precisely the case in Buddhaghosa’s explanation of the reading without pi. £

At Visuddhimagga XVI § 57-60 we get the impression that Buddha- ghosa (or a predecessor) had a text without pi before him (readings are not discussed) and made the best of it by explaining sahkhittena as indi- •caling a summary of the preceding statements 8 aid declaring that the remark on the live 'branches’ of appropriation implies all other state¬ ments about pain, because actual pain does not occur without them. 9

But to my knowledge, there is no single place in the Pali Vinaya- and Suttapitaka where the often occurring statement that the five updddna- kkhandha are dukkha is understood in this way, while there are many places where their being dukkha is understood as derived from their impermanence, which implies that in this context dukkha does not mean ‘causing actual pain’, but ‘eventually disappointing’ or ‘unsatisfactory’. Moreover, there is, as far as 1 know, at best one place in the Vinaya - and Suttapitaka where sahkhittena seems to summarize what precedes: at the ? end of MN no. 38 (1 270.37); and this place is doubtful, because it could be an inadequate copy of what happens in MN no. 37, where sahkhittena

8. l ie depends on a text that included sokaparidevadukkhadomassupdydsd and appiyehi sampayago dukkho piyelii vippayogo dukkho. not on the Mahdvagga passage.

9. The essence of the commentary is given in these verses:

Jdlippabhulikam dukkham yam vultam idha tadind avutiam yah ca lam sabbam vino ete. na vijjali Yasmd, tasma updddnakkhandhdsailkhepato ime dukkha ti vuttd dukkltanladesakena Mahesind.

wars at the start and at the end of the sutta. In all other cases I have

cked, about 300, saAkliittena announces an item that afterwards is, or

>uld be, explained.

jiven this state of things it seems unlikely that pi in the last remark on delta is an error of uncontrolled repetition of the pi in the preceding itences, now fortunately removed by TRENCKNER and the Sixth uncil. It is much more probable that Buddhaghosa (or a predecessor) l a text where pi in the last remark had, accidentally or with some jntion, been lost, and that he made the best of it, a nice interpretation t succeeds fairly well in maintaining an unequivocal meaning of kkha, but is not important for the historian of early buddhism. For s historical purpose we have to accept the reading with pi, and to derstand the last remark as another example of the usage of the adjec- e dukkha, .though in a slightly different meaning, which points to an dition. Sankhittena means nothing than: this is a short remark that has be explained to the neophyte who does not know what the five >adanakkhandhas are and/or .vhy they are are called dukkha, though ey do not always actually cause pain. The translation then is: “Also the

ve branches of appropriation, briefly said ( sankhittena ), are causing

^et us, finally, return to OLDENBERG. In his famous Buddha, sein hen, seine Lehrc, seine Gemeinde 10 we find a translation of the con- iding remark on dukkha that also seems to depend on the Visuddlii- igga, not on the Muhdvagga, the source OLDENBERG mentions in this nnection: “kurz die funferlei Objektc des Ergreifens sind Leiden 11 ”, rhaps he was inspired by TRENCKNER. But then one would expect a >te referring to the reading established by himself in his edition of Vin I found no such note. Instead a note is attached to ‘Objektc des rgreifens’ that gives German translations of the names of these five jjects as they occur elsewhere, and moreover rejects, without any •guing, an assumption by KOEPPEN 12 said to be given without any

10. The (ourih edition (Stuitgart-Bcrlin 1903) was the earliest available to me; see p. 146 and 293.1 also checked the edition supervised by H. von GLASENAIM* (Stuttgart [1959?]) and saw that in this question nothing had changed; sec p. 137 and 224 and note p. 426.

11. dukkha is of course not ‘Leiden’, but 'Icidvoll’, if one depends on the Pali sources, as OLDENBERG says he docs.

12. Carl Friedrich KOEPPEN, Die Religion des Buddlia und ihre Entstehung. I, Berlin 1853.


arguing, namely that the concluding remark on dukkha might be “ein metaphy sischer Zusatz ” 1 \

Exit KOEPPEN, at least in this question, on the basis of an ex cathedra judgement. A questionable tradition of translating this remark in books that pretend to deal with the Buddha’s teaching has been established here and is still flourishing. To arrive at his judgement against KOEPPEN, OLDENBERG had to forget (or to ignore) his own edition of the Malta - vagga. He showed moreover, that he had not the slightest inkling of the problem that vedand y the second of these ‘Objekte des Ergreifens’, is often explained as consisting of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feeling and that pleasant and neutral feeling cannot be characterized as ‘Leiden’ and only in a slightly different sense as ‘Icidvoll’. 14

H. “Koppcn (1, S.222, Annul) findet in dicscn Ictztcn Worlcn cincn *mela- physischcn Zusatz* zum urspriinglichcn Text der vicr Wahrhcitcn, ohne alien Grund. So viel metaphysischc Terminologic, wie in dicscn VVortcn liegt, hat der Buddhlsmus von jehcr bcscssen.”

14, Already V.GLASENAPP, in his ‘Nachvvort* to OLDENBEKG’s Buddha [1959: 1 474] hinted at this problem, by pointing to the Rahogatasutta (SN no.36.11), though his approach is quite unhislorical. There, replying to a question, the Buddha admits (SN IV 216.20) he has taught both: there arc three kinds of feelings, pleasant, unpleasant and neutral, and: whatever one feels belongs to the unpleasant {yam kind vedayitam tam dukkhasmim). But “the [second] statement has been made by me having in mind that satlkhdrd as such arc impermanent (tnayd sarlkhdrdnam yeva aniccatam sandhaya bhdsitam )*\ Sec Lambert SCHMITHAUSEN, “Zur buddhistischen Lehrc von der drcifachcn Lcidhaftigkcif, ZDMG (Supplement 111.2) 1977: 918-931. J


The Advent of Theravada Buddhism to Mainland South-east Asia

In the present paper I examine evidence for the school-affiliation of the early Buddhism of mainland South-east Asia, in the first millenium of the Common Era. 1 Is the evidence sufficient to establish that this school was the TheravSda, and, if so, when and from where did it arrive in the region?

For the Theravada of Ceylon—or more precisely, for the MahSvihSra school of the Theravada—wo have the history as presented in the two famous-chronicles, the Dlpavan.isa and Mahavamsa . Information may also be gleaned from references to historical events embedded in the commentaries of Euddhaghosa and others, from inscriptions in Old Sin- hala and Sanskrit, from archaeological and iconographical evidence, and froniChinese sources—in some cases first hand, such as that supplied by the redoutable pilgrim Fa-hien. Altogether, we have at least in broad out¬ line a continuous history of Theravada in Ceylon from its inception up to the present day.

Outside of Ceylon, the history of Theravada is obscure. For mainlan d India we have almost no information at all. There are some—but not many—references to Theravadin doctrines in the works of other schools, 2 but the historical information—such as that provided by inscriptions or by the Chinese pilgrims Hsiian-tsang and I-ching—is at best sketchy.

For the South-east Asia of the early period we do not have any histori¬ cal records comparable to those of Ceylon: no indigenous chronicles.

This is a revised version of a paper given at the ficole franfaise d’Extrfimc- Orient, Phnom Penh, 6 July 1996. The title was inspired by Luce 1974.

1. That is, I do not discuss the Buddhism of peninsular and insular South-east Asia, or that of CampI (the coastal regions of present-day central and southern Vietnam). In none of these areas is there any early evidence for TheravSda Buddhism.

2. See Skilling 1987,1993a and b, and 1994 for some examples from Tibetan sources.

whether in Pali, Sanskrit, or in vernaculars survive. The few extant his¬ torical inscriptions dcrnot give us any continuous history, and Chinese reports tell us little about the type of Buddhism practised on the mainland.

Pali Inscriptions from Burma and Siam

The main evidence lor the school-affiliation of early Buddhism in South¬ east Asia comes from Pali inscriptions. These are known from two main areas: the Pyu kingdom of Srik$etra in the vicinity of Prome in the lower Irrawaddy valley of Burma, and the Mon kingdom of Dvaravatl in the Chao Phraya basin of Siam. 3 The inscriptions from Burma are engraved on gold plates (fashioned in imitation of palm-leaf manuscripts), a silver reliquary {stupa), terracotta tablets, and stone slabs. The inscriptions from Siam are engraved on stone dhammacakkas , octagonal pillars, stone slabs, and clay tablets and reliquaries. The script used in both cases is similar, and may be described as a variety of the South Indian Pallava script. 4 The Srlksetra inscriptions are dated to the 5th to 7th centuries CE, the Siamese inscriptions to the 6th to 8th centuries: that is, they are broadly contemporary. 5

(1) Inscriptions from the region of £rik$ctra: 6

—the ye dhammd hetuppabhavd vers s {VinayaMahdvagga, 140.28-29) ; v —the iti pi so bhagavd formula (cf. Dhajagga-sutta , SN1219.31-33);

—the svdkkhato bhagavata dhammo formula (cf. Dhajagga-sutta , SN I 220 . 1 - 2 );' *

3. In this paper I set aside the historical questions (of, for example, clironoiogy and geographical extent) attached to the names of these two kingdoms, and (with not a little reluctance) use the names as a conventional shorthand.

4. The script of the Pyu inscriptions has in the past been variously described as Kadamba, Telcgu-Canara, or Grantha: for a welcome reappraisal see Stargardt 1995,204.

5. For the dating of the former see Stargardt 1995, for the latter e. g. Bauer 1991 and Skilling forthcoming (a). It should be stressed that the inscriptions do not bear any dates, and that those assigned to them are tentative and approxi¬ mate. A comprehensive comparative palacographical analysis of the $rik$etra with the Dvaravafi corpus remains a desideratum.

6. For details see Ray 1939,41-52; Luce 1974, 125-27; and Stargardt 1995. Most of the texts are brought together in U Tha Myat 1963. Note that several of the passages arc known from more than one inscription.


—the formula of dependent arising ( paticcasamuppada : cf. Vinaya Mahdvagga , 1 1.10—2.1); 7

stanzas sung by Sakka, Lord of the Gods, in praise of the Buddha enter¬ ing Rajagaha ( Vinaya Mahdvagga , 138.15-23,29-30);

—the maggdn atthaixgiko settho verse ( Dhammapada 273);

—verses from three popular paritta-s: the MangalaRatana -, and Mora- sutta-s\% ,

—the four confidences ( vesdrajja ) of a Buddha (MN I 71.32; AN II 8, penult);

—the 37 factors conducive to awakening ( bodhipakkhiya-dhammdY ;

—a list of miscellaneous numerically grouped items, in ascending order; —a list of the 14 Buddha nana-s (cf. Patisambhiddmagga 1 133.19-30); —a fragment of a commentary on paticcasamuppada (cf. Vibhanga 144- 45);

—the opening of the matika : kusald [dhammd aku]sald dhammd abydka[td\ dhammd (cf. Dhammasangani 1.4);

—a fragment giving two of the 24 conditions: [adhi\patipaccayo arum- tarapaccayo ;

7. In addition to the paticcasamuppada inscribed on gold plates from $rik$etra, the Vinaya Mahdvagga version is known from a stone slab from' Kunzeik, Shwegyin township, Pegu: see Aung Thaw 1978, 111. As far as I know this handsome and well-preserved inscription has not been published, but fortunately most of it can be descried from the photograph at Aung Thaw p. 110. It opens (the readings here are preliminary) with the.introductory (l) t(e)na samayena buddho bhaga(vd) uruveldyam viharati na(j)j(d) (nerahja- rdya? unclear) [2] tire (or tire ?) bodhirukkhamule pathamdbhisatnbuddho atha kho bhagava . . ., followed by the full paticcasamuppada formula, both anu- loma (lines 5-9) and patiloma (lines 9-14). The latter opens with the phrase avijjaya tv eva asesavirdganirodhd , characteristic of the Theravadin (Pali) version only, and not known in versions of other schools, such as the (Mula)Sarvastivadins or Lokottaravadins, or from the Prakrit inscriptions from Devnlmori and Ratnagiri, all of which open with equivalents of avijjd-nirodhd . The patilomg. is followed by the yada have pdtubhavanti dhammd verse (lines 15-18), known also from inscriptions from Siam. The last two lines continue with the prose text of the Mahdvagga—atha kho (bhaga)va tfattiyd) maj(jh) imam (yd)mam paticca — suggesting that the slab is part of a longer inscription. For the Devnlmori and Ratnagiri inscriptions see von Hinuber 1985; for a suggestion that the former might be Vatslputriya or Sammariya, see Skilling forthcoming (c).

8. For these see Skilling forthcoming (b).

—a list of seven of the eight vipassand fidna-s (cf. Visuddhimagga XXI.1).

(2) Inscriptions from the Chao Phraya basin: 9 —the ye dhamma hetuppabhava verse;

—the formula of dependent arising ( paticca-samuppada );

—an enumeration of the four truths of the noble ( ariya-sacca ), the twelve links of dependent arising ( paticcasamuppada ), and the 37 factors conducive to awakening ( bodhipakkhiya-dhamma ), inscribed together on a rectangular stone bar from Nakhon Pathom; 10 —extracts from the prose Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta, the “first ser¬ mon" spoken by the Buddha in the Deer Park at Sarnath, found on stone dhammacakkas ; 11

—the three yada have pSlubhavanti dhamma verses ( Vinaya Mahdvagga, 12.3-26);

—the anekajaiisamsQran) verses ( Dliammapada 153—54);

—the dukkham dukkhasamuppadam verse ( Dhammapada 191); 12 —the abhiiiheyyam abhihhatam verse ( Suttanipata 558);

—fragments of the 16 senses ( attha ) of the four truths (cf. Paiisambhidamagga 19.31-20.6), 13

— nabddhakam yato dukkham ..., non-canonical verses on the four truths (cited at Visuddhimagga XVI.25);

— sacca-kicca-kata-hdnam .... a non-canonical verse on the twelve aspects ( dvadasakara ) of the four truths (cited in the Pathama- sambodhi and Sdratthasamuccaya );

—three verses from the Telakatdha-gdthd . 14

The evidence of the inscriptions may be examined from two aspects: lan¬ guage and contents. The language of both the §rlk$etra and Dvaravat! palatographs is Pali. Is the use of Pali sufficient to establish the presence of the Theravada? Or could another Buddhist school have also transmitted

9. Most of the inscriptions may be found in Supaphan na Bangchang 2529 (1986), 15-40. As in the case of the Srik$etra inscriptions, several of the parages are known from more than one inscription.

10. See Skilling 1992.

11. See Skilling forthcoming (a) for references.

12. See Skilling 1991 and 1992.

13. Sec Skilling forthcoming (a) for this and the two following passages.

14. See references below. The inscription is from Prachin Buri, and thus out¬ side of the Chao Phraya valley proper.


its sacred writ in PSli, and have been responsible for the inscriptions? From an early date, Buddhist tradition recognized dialect as one of the key distinguishing features of the different schools ( uikaya ). In the sec¬ ond half of the first millenium of the Common Era, tradition spoke of four main schools, each transmitting its canon in a different Indie dialect* (MOla)SarvastivSdins, who used Sanskrit; MahSsSnighikas, who used an intermediate language; Simmatlyas, who used Apabhramsa; and Sthaviras (that is, Theras), who used PaisScI. is The tradition is confirmed by the distinctive and consistent linguistic features of available texts of the schools. On this evidence I conclude that it is unlikely that another school would have used PSli, and that the use of that language in the inscriptions is a strong indication of TheravSdin activity in the region.

What about the contents of the inscriptions? It is true that the canonical extracts—such as the various formulas, the Dhammacakkappavaltana - sutta, and the verses—belong to the common heritage of'Buddhism: but our epigraphs give them in their TheravSdin recensions, and they agree very closely indeed with the received transmission that we know today. >4 The “extracts" from the Abhidhammc and Pafisambhidamagga are rather more indicative. As fai^as is known, the seven books of the TheravSdin Abhidhdmma Pitaka are unique to that school, and employ a unique sys¬ tem and technical vocabulary. The $rlk$etra inscriptions preserve frag- ments with counterparts in the Matika, the Vibhanga, and the list of 24 conditions (paccaya ), all of which may be described as specifically TheravSdin. Inscriptions from both Srik$etra and Siam employ technical categories knowu from the Pa.tisambhiddmagga (whether or not they are actual extracts is not clear), an ancient commentary transmitted in the Khuddaka-nikdya of the PSli Canon, and unique to the TheravSdin school.

The non-canonical inscriptions provide further convincing evidence for a TheravSdin presence. The Sriksetra list of seven vipassana nd/ia-s has a parallel in the Visuddhimagga, and an inscribed octagonal pillar from U Tapao gives a set of verses on the four truths that are cited in that work and in other works of the school. 17 The Visuddhimagga is, of course, one of the most representative and most authoritative texts of the MahSvihSra

15. See Skilling forthcoming (c) for references. The Theravadins traditionally describe the language of their texts as Magadhi, “the language of Magadha": see von Hinflber 1994.

16. There are a very few orthographic variants, for which see c. g. Skilling 1992,84—with reference to the work of von Hiniibcr—and forthcoming (a).

17. See Skilling forthcoming (a) for references. 98 J1ABS20.1

Thcravada. An inscription found in association with a giant pair of Bud - dhapada at Amphoc Si Maha Phot in Prachin Buri province gives three Pali stanzas in homage to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Sanjgha. The stan¬ zas, in the vasaniaiilaka metre, are from the Telakataha-gathd , a work of unknown authorship believed to have been composed in Ceylon. Accord¬ ing to the opening Khmer portion, the epigraph was set up by one Buddhasiri in CE 761. 18 The sacca-kicca-kata-ncmam verse is known only from late Theravadin texts: it is noteworthy that the Siamese inscrip¬ tions (the verse occurs several times) are much earlier than the known texts that give the verse. 19

From the point of view of both language and contents, I conclude that the Pali inscriptions of Burma and Siam give firm evidence for a Theravadin presence in the Irrawaddy and Chao Phraya basins, from about the 5th century CE onwards. 20 From the extent and richness of the evidence it seems that the Thcravada was the predominant school, and that it enjoyed the patronage of ruling and economic elites. 21 But 1 do not mean to suggest that religious society was monolithic: other schools may well have been present, or have come and gone, and there is ample evi¬ dence for the practice of Mahayana and Brahmanism in the region. 22

18. See Charuk nai prathet thai 2529,1: 179-86 and Rohanadeera 1988. The*' Telakataha-gatha was edited by Edmund R. Goonaratne (1884).

19. See Skilling forthcoming (a) for references. . ^ „ ,

20. We must wait for a comprehensive study of Indie loan-words in early Mon inscriptions from Siam before we can determine the degree to which they use Sanskrit or Pali. An example of the former is the word punya , ubiquitous in the epigraphs. A possible example of the latter is the term updjhay , derived more probably from Pali upajjhaya (also upajjha and upajjha) than Sanskrit upddhydya , in an inscription from Lopburi: see Cocdfcs 1961, 8, II (1). Another form, from two ca. 9th century “votive tablets” is pajhSy : Charuk nai prathet thai 2529, II: 85-89, 90-94 (note that the word occurs side-by-side with acaryya).

21. Stargardt (p. 200) remarks of the relic chamber of the “Khin Ba mound,” the source of a 20-leaf golden Pali text: “although many other relic chambers were discovered at Sri K$etra, this was the only one to survive intact, and its contents exceeded—in number, quality of workmanship, and concentration of precious metals and stones—even the relic chamber of the Bhatjiprolu stGpa in Andhra

22. The practice of MahSySna is compatible with any of the Yinaya schools, including the Thcravada, and brahmans played (and continue to play) an active role in South-east AsianBuddhistsocieties, both court and common. The schools or religious groups should be regarded as interactive and complemen-


1 The Question of Origins

The Theravadin samgha of Ceylon was divided into two main rival branches, the Mahiiviharavasins and Abhayagirivasins. After more than a thousand years of contention for legitimacy and patronage, the former won out, and absorbed the monks and monasteries of the latter. Most regrettably for our purposes, the literature of the Abhayagiri, which included a chronicle of the school, was allowed (or perhaps encouraged) to disappear, with the result that no undisputed Pali text of the school sur¬ vives. 23 The Theravada that we know today is the Mahivihara tradition," as settled by the time of the prolific commentator Buddhaghosa in the 5th century. The later Pali literature of the sub-commentaries (JikSs) and J manuals, although subject to further development and a variety of influ¬ ences, also belongs'to the Mahaviharavasin lineage.

Both schools maintained contacts with India: with KSncipuram, Andhradesa, and Magadha. Is there any evidence for the presence of either school in early South-east Asia? The canonical inscriptionsincluding the Abhidhamma “extracts”—could belong to either the Abhayagirivasins or the Mahaviharavasins, since both are believed to have transmitted a similar canon in Pali, and both held broadly similar tenets and used a similar technical vocabulary. 24 It seems that the Abhayagiri also transmitted the Patisambhidamagga, or at least a similar text, since passages cited i.i the Vimuttimagga (for which see below) have parallels in that work. The nabadhakani yato dukkhanj, verses, known at present only from Mahavihara texts such as the Visuddhimagga, are given in citation, and are not original to the works in question: that is, *hey originate from an earlier text that may have been accepted by both schools.

The Vimuttimagga , a treatise associated with the Abhayagiri, was Well- known outside of Ceylon (whether it was composed in that country or in India remains under debate). A comprehensive manual of practice and

tary rather than mutually exclusive. For Avalokitesvara in South-east Asia see Chutiwongs 1984 (especially ch. 3 on Burma and ch. 4 on Central Thailand) and Chutiwongs and Leidy 1994; for brahmanism in the region see Dawee 1982. ..

23. See Skilling 1993a.

24. The canons of the two schools were not identical (and is it not historically and humanly improbable, rather impossible, that two canons transmitted for centuries from an early date—the Abhayagiri was founded in the 1st century BCE—at separate monastic centres should be so?): see the important refer¬ ences in von Hiniiber 1995, 36-38.

theory, composed by Upatissa (Skt. Upatisya) perhaps by the 2nd century CE, it was translated into Chinese in SIS. Interestingly, the translator,

known from Chinese sources, and located by the savants in the deltaic regions of Cambodia). 25 The manuscript of the Vimuttimagga , along with the other texts translated by *Samghabhara, was brought to China in 503 by another monk of Funan, ♦Mandrasena. 26 Since none of the other texts brought from Funan are Theravadin, and some belong to the MahSyana, 27 the fact that the Vimuttimagga was among them attests only to the avail¬ ability of that text in Funan: it cannot be interpreted as evidence for a (non-Mahavihara) Theravadin presence. 28 Since *Samghabhara did some of his translation work in the “Funancse Pavilion," 2 * and enjoyed the patronage of the Emperor, it seems that Funanese Buddhism was accorded some esteem.

(For insular South-east Asia, we have one clear piece of evidence: the inscription from Ratu Baka in central Java, dated CE 792, which refers to an “Abhayagiri -vihara built for the Sinhalese samgha.” On the mainland, but outside of our period, there is mention of an Abhayagiri in the con¬ cluding Khmer portion of a Vajrayanist Sanskrit palsograph, dated CE 1066, from the vicinity of Nakhon Ratchasima [Korat] in Central Siam. 30 The precise location of this Abhayagiri is unknown, and it is by no means certain that the toponym should be related to the Abhayagiri school: the inscription names only an “Abhaya Mountain" [ giri : without the word vihara], where images of “Buddhalokesvara” and others were installed and later renovated.)

25. For the school-affiliation (and name of the translated and date of transla¬ tion, about which there has been some confusion) see Skilling 1994.

26. Li-tai san-pao chi, T. no. 2034, 49.98c.6-7; Kai-yiian shih-chiao lu, T. no. 2154,55.537c. 18—19. The Annals of the Liang Dynasty confirm that Funan was one of the countries that sent tribute in 503.1 am grateful to Bhikjuni Virtita Tseng for checking the Chinese sources.

27. The works are listed in Nanjio 1975, II §§ 101, 102; Bagchi 1927,414- 18; Repertoire du canon bouddhtque sino-japonais, Fascicule annexe du HdbSgirin (1978) 267 (s. v. “Mandarasen"), 281 (s. v. “Sogyabara”).

28. The Vimuttimagga was also known in North India: the chapter on the dhutanga -s was translated into Tibetan under the title Dhutagunanirdesa afound CE 800, and long sections were cited by DaSabalasrlmitra, a North Indian scholar, probably in the 12th century, in a work preserved only in Tibetan translation: see Skilling 1987,1993b, and 1994 for references.

29. Bagchi 1927,416.

30. See Chirapat 1990,12 (text line 32), 13 (tr.).

„ , i SKILLING 101

I All told, there is no conclusive local evidence that the early Theravida of South-east Asia was affiliated with either the MahSvihiira or the Abhayagiri. We may also note the absence of references to South-east Asia of the period in the chronicles of Ceylon, 31 and reflect that in the great period of reform (hat swept the region in the 14th and 15th ra»ntinfr s the new ordination lineage was distinguished by the name Sihala-sdsana. Might this not suggest that the old tradition did not associate itself with Ceylon?

It is therefore probably futile to try to trace the Theravada of the period' to either of the Ceylon schools. It is likely that Buddhism arrived in the area at an early date—perhaps even from the time of Sona and Uttara’s

mission to SuvawabhOmi during the reign of King Asoka, as traditionally held. Whether this Buddhism belonged to the TheravSdin lineage from the start, or whether that lineage asserted itself later, cannot be said (and what did the term TheravSdin mean in the pre-Buddhaghosa period, and outside of Ceylon?)—but there is no doubt that it evolved independently of the Ceylon schools..Over the centuries it would have undergone mul¬ tiple influences, as monks (and perhaps nuns) from different regions of India criss-crossed the region, and as local monks travelled throughout the region and to different parts of India. 32 There is evidence for connections with Andhraclcsa and the South, for example in the layout of early Pyu stupas and viharas, such as those from Beikthano. 33 There is also evi-

31. See here Ray 1939,52. Sirisena (1978,58) remarks that “Sri Lanka’s close religious contacts with Burma started only from the eleventh century." His work offers a wealth of information—from chronicles, inscriptions—on the relations between Ceylon and South-east Asia but, as the title indicates, all from the later period.

32. If anything is clear from the time of our earliest records—the Tripifaka itself (e. g. the Punnovada-sutta , MN 145)—up to. the present, it is that monks travelled, even in the face of adversity or danger. The subject is addressed by Vasubandhu, who in his Vy&khy&yukti gives in verse seven reasons why the Buddha travelled (note the technical term, known from the canon, carikdni carati) and fifteen reasons why auditors ( sravaka) did so (Peking edition of the Tibetan Tripitaka, vol. 113, cat. no. 5562, sems tsam si, 44b6 foil.). The verses are available in Sanskrit citation in Haribhadra 1960,271.30 and 274.19.

33. See e. g. Stargardt 1995, 200, 205. It is intriguing that the dukkham dukkhasamuppadam verse, inscribed at least twice in Siam, is also known (but in a lightly Sanskritic form) from an inscription from Andhra: see Skilling 1991 and 1992 for details. The use of the Pallava script cannot in itself be cited as evidence, since that script was employed from an early date throughout insu-

J ki kuO 4.W. J

i dcnce for contacts with North India: the influence of Gupta idioms on

! Dvaravati Buddha images, and the practice of enshrining the ye dhamma

verse or the paticcasamuppada formula in stupas, which was widespread j throughout the North, but rare in the South 34 and Ceylon. 35 The

Telakataha verses suggest contacts with the latter country, as does, per- | haps, a short and enigmatic Old Mon inscription from the Narai or Khao

Wong cave in Saraburi, dated to circa 12th century BE (CE 550-650),

! which refers to an Anuradhapura. 36 Whether the reference is to the

ancient capital of Ceylon or to a local site cannot be said, although the | latter seems more likely: the important point is that the toponym is oth-

j- erwise known only from Ceylon. 37

| lar, peninsular, and mainland South-east Asia, for secular and religious (both

Brahmanical and Buddhistic) records.

34. For some Southern examples in the Pallava script see Rea 1990, 149-80 and pis. 51-64 (and also Mitra 1980, 218-20). The inscriptions that I am able to decipher from the Stygian reproduction of the plates give the ye dharmS verse in Sanskrit. Rea describes die site as “one of the most remarkable groups

of Buddhist remains in the Presidency” (then in Madras, the site is now in District Visakhapatnam of Andhra Pradesh). Further south, at Gummadidurru j (District Krishna) were found “127 clay tablets of the size of an eight-anna

piece and bearing the Buddhist creed in Nagari characters of the late tnediasval , period" (.Archaeological Survey of India, Annual Report, 1926-27-, Rpr. Delhi: ja 1990, 155-56: see also Mitra 1980, 212).

i : 35. That the practice was not unknown to the late Ceylon Ther‘av3d4 miay be

seen from the SSratthadipanI (a text some centuries younger than our examples from the field), which defines a dhamma-cetiya as u [a cetiya ] built after depositing a book inscribed with conditioned a