PL EN


2013 | 15: Text History and Society as Depicted in Indian Literature and Art. Part II. ŚRAVYA. Poetry & Prose | 1-21
Article title

The Debate on Asceticism as a Permanent Choice of Life: Some Late Clues from "Mahākāvyas"

Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
The present paper is focused on a couple of apparently contradictory Buddhacarita (Bcar) passages. On the one hand, there is the attribution of the pre-classical pattern of constituting kings in the sacrificial arena, implying a cyclical exchange between asceticism and warrior sovereignty, to Buddha’s father and his ancestors, who possibly ignore the varṇāśrama system. On the other, King Śuddhodana himself wishes that his son would not choose asceticism as a permanent way of life, i.e., that he adheres to the ordered succession of āśramas, in accordance with the brahmanical inclusivistic varṇāśrama system. The interpretation proposed here consists in assuming a specific Aśvaghoṣa intellectual reading of the potential relation between Buddhist and brahmanic dharma, based on a shared past, denoted by the expression sūkṣma dharma. The poetic allusion to this epic expression might have denoted an uncertain common dharma path which was to be overpassed by both parts, respectively by means of the true Buddhist dharma, and through the brahmanical śrauta reform. The two questioned verses are assumed to be a further fragment of the history of the brahmanic-Buddhist debate dating back to the Itihāsa and Mahākāvya age reconstructed by Hiltebeitel over these last ten years.
Contributors
  • University of Cagliari
References
  • Biardeau, M. 2002. Le Mahābhārata: Un récit fondateur du brahmanisme et son interprétation. 2 Vols. Paris: Seuil.
  • Boccali, G. 2010. The King and the Ahiṃsā in Early Kāvya. In: D. Stasik and A. Trynkowska (eds). The City and the Forest in Indian Literature and Art. Warsaw: Elipsa: 185–93.
  • Brockington, J. L. 1984. Righteous Rāma. The Evolution of an Epic. Delhi–Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bronkhorst, J. 1993. The Two Sources of Indian Asceticism (Schweizer Asiatische Studien. Monographien Bd. 13). Bern: P. Lang.
  • Covill, L. (tr.). 2007. Handsome Nanda by Ashvaghosha (Clay Sanskrit Library). New York: New York University Press & JJC Foundation.
  • Cowell, E. B. (ed. and tr.). 1893. The Buddhacarita of Aśvaghoṣa (Anecdota Oxoniensia. Aryan Series vol. 1, Pt. 7). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Fitzgerald, J. 2004. The Mahābhārata. 11. The Book of the Women. 12. The Book of Peace, Part One. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
  • Hara, M. 1997. A Note on Dharmasya Sūkṣmā Gatiḥ. In: E. Franco and K. Preisendanz (eds). Beyond Orientalism: the Work of Wilhelm Halbfass and Its Impact on Indian and Cross-Cultural Studies. Amsterdam: Rodopi.
  • Heesterman, J. C. 1993. The Broken World of Sacrifice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Hiltebeitel, A. 2006. Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita: The First Known Close and Critical Reading of the Brahmanical Sanskrit Epics. In: Journal of Indian Philosophy 34: 229–286.
  • Hiltebeitel, A. (2010a). Dharma (Asian Spiritualities Series, ed. H. Rosemont). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.
  • Hiltebeitel, A. (2010b). Mokṣa and Dharma in the Mokṣadharma (The Brown Conference on Early Indian Philosophy in the Mahābhārata. Brown University, April 9 – April 11, 2010): http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Sanskrit_in_Classics_at_Brown/BrownMBhPhilosophyConference/Participants.shtml (access 15.06.2012)
  • Hiltebeitel, A. 2011. Dharma: Its Early History in Law, Religion, and Narrative. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Johnston 1936: see Bcar.
  • Olivelle, P. 1996. Dharmaskandhāḥ and Brahmasaṃsthaḥ: A Study of Chāndogya Upaniṣad. In: Journal of the American Oriental Society 166, 2: 205–219.
  • Olivelle, P. 2005. Manu’s Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Mānava-Dharmaśāstra. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Olivelle, P. 2009. Life of the Buddha by Ashvaghosha (Clay Sanskrit Library). New York: New York University Press & JJC Foundation.
  • Peterson, I. V. 2003. Design and Rhetoric in a Sanskrit Court Epic. The Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi. New York: Suny.
  • Pollock, Sh. I. 1986. The Rāmāyaṇa of Vālmīki Vol. II.: Ayodhyākāṇḍa. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Pontillo, T. (in press). Droṇa and Bhīṣma as borderline cases of pupils and masters in the brāhmaṇical systematization: some other traces of the Vrātya tradition in the Mahābhārata. Proceedings of the Fifth Dubrovnik International Conference On The Sanskrit Epics And Purāṇ as (DICSEP 5), August 11–16, 2008, Dubrovnik, Croatia. Zagreb: Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
  • Proferes, Th. 2003. Remarks on the Transition from Rgvedic Composition to Srauta Compilation. In: Indo-Iranian Journal. 46 (1): 1–21.
  • Smith, D. 1985. Ratnākara’s Haravijaya. An Introduction to the Sanskrit Court Epic. Delhi: Oxford University Press.
  • Sudyka, L. 2010. The Vijayanagara City as Described in the Madhurāvijaya and Acyutarāyābhyudaya. In: D. Stasik and A. Trynkowska (eds). The City and the Forest in Indian Literature and Art. Warsaw: Elipsa: 98–113.
  • Yardi, M. R. 1986. The Mahābhārata. Its Genesis and Growth. A Statistical Study. Poona: BORI.
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.desklight-2ecc4bbf-54d5-4c00-b2c3-b6a458b6aeaa
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.