Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Part 1 of 2

One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas
by Richard Salomon
Library of Congress
November 15, 2018

Dr. Richard Salomon (University of Washington) will discuss the Library's unique buddhist birch-bark manuscript, which describes the parallel lives of fifteen Buddhas of the past, present and future eons.

About this Item


One Buddha, 15 Buddhas, 1,000 Buddhas


Richard Salomon discussed the Library's unique Buddhist birch-bark manuscript from the ancient region of Gandhara in modern-day Afghanistan and Pakistan. This text is one of the oldest Buddhist manuscripts ever discovered, dating from around the beginning of the Common Era. Salomon explained the manuscript's significance in Buddhist literature and history.

Event Date

November 15, 2018


Richard G. Salomon is emeritus professor of Sanskrit and Buddhist studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to being the director of the British Library and University of Washington's early Buddhist Manuscript Project, he is the author of many publications on early Buddhism. His most recent book is "Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhara: An Introduction with Selected Translations."

Running Time

1 hours 15 minutes 3 seconds


[T]hese manuscripts date between the first century BC and the third century AD...they are clearly the oldest manuscripts of any manifestation of Buddhism…

[S]ometimes the front and the back are completely separated and it's not always...obvious where and how they go together…

[T]he title...would've been at the top of the back and that's the part that we don't have…we're missing the beginning and the end of the text…

Gandharan Buddhist sculpture...In the Freer Gallery, there's this very amazing set of four friezes illustrating the four major events of the Buddha's life…

But...these are not mentioned at all in that text because the...biography that I'm going to be talking about is not a conventional biography…

The Gandhari language is...almost always connected with the Kharosthi script...The Kharosthi script is of Western...Semitic origin derived or connected with the Aramaic script…

[T]he "Many Buddhas Sutra" - I would describe it as a combined comparative biographical summary of the lives of 15 Buddhas beginning with Dipankara, who lived many billions of years ago, and ending with Sakyamuni or Siddharta or "our Buddha" as he's sometimes called. And then going on one more to Maitreya...Number 14 is Sakyamuni who actually is Sakyamuni the second, surprisingly…

There are seven points of information which are enumerated for each of the Buddhas. So it starts out with the predictions…made by each of the 15 Buddhas…The lifespan tells you how long each Buddha lasted. So it's not a narrative presentation. It's a summary of information…

[A]nother polytext called Buddhavamsa...lists 25 buddhas…the Mahavastu...has a...long list, 331,140,263 buddhas from the remote inconceivable past down to the present time of Sakyamuni….

I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions...of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone...We have the Pali canon...the partial Sanskrit canon...They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality... and... there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of...India proper is such that organic materials...never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate…

Q. [S]ay something about how...we get manuscripts…

A. Yes, that's a little bit complicated. The problem is that in nearly all cases we don't really know where the manuscripts come from...Almost all of the manuscripts of this type have come up through private collections or antiquities market and that is frankly a murky place...most of them come from eastern Afghanistan, maybe some from northwestern Pakistan...that's all we really know. There are no cases where we have any of these manuscripts and know specifically...where they came from…

I talked about that list in the Mahavastu of 331,140,263 buddhas. What I didn't say is that out of the...331 [million], 300 million were named Sakyamuni. And according to that text, there were...30 million buddhas in a row that...all had the same name… Buddhas are...more or less the same see sets of buddhas like the seven buddhas...and they're all almost exactly the same...and they can be very similar and sometimes they are absolutely identical.


>> Qi Qiu: Okay, so I am literally in the spot. Okay, this is the first experience for us to host such an event here in the Asian Reading Room. So my name is Qi Qiu, Head of Scholarly Services at the Asian Reading Room. So on behalf of the Asian Division, I welcome you to this afternoon's event and to our reading room. I especially appreciate your coming out this afternoon on such a, you know, snowy, rainy day. It's not the best day but we do appreciate your efforts. So for this afternoon's program, after my welcome remarks, Dr. Jonathan Loar, who is our South Asian librarian, he will give an introduction of our South Asian collection and will also introduce our speaker, Dr. Richard Solomon from the University of Washington. So, as you have already seen, this is a beautiful reading room. And if you haven't had a chance to know more about it, here are some highlights of our facilities and services. I know many of you. I see some familiar faces. Some of you are very familiar with our services. So pardon me for the repetition. I will just take a few minutes. So this reading room is home to multilanguage reference materials on Asian studies. It is also where users can access both physical and digital materials in Asian language and get research assistance from our reference specialists. We started collecting Asian language materials as early as the late 19th century. And today, the collections have grown to represent one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian studies in the world, that is more than four million physical items and numerous digital resources. These items are in over 190 languages and include most subject fields covering in the area ranging from the South Asian subcontinent and Southeast Asia to East Asia. So our reading room, the Asian Reading Room opens Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 5:00 p.m. Any users 16 years old or older can come to use the library reading rooms. All you need to do is to bring a photo ID and get a reader registration card, which is also located on the first floor of the Jefferson Building. Of course, it's always a good idea to check out our website and library catalogue before you come to the library so that you can find the materials that you are looking for and make better uses of your time in the library. On our website, you can use a link marked "Ask a Librarian" to ask research questions, to request materials and to make appointments with librarians to use rare items. So "Ask a Librarian" is an important phrase for you to remember. It is actually the tour to find answers to almost all of your inquiries. Also on the website, you can find information on our collections, databases, digital collections, research guides, and blogs. And yes, we do have social medial representations. We have blogs and we have a Facebook page of all of the international collections in our library. So since Florence Tan Moeson Fellowship for this year just opened, I would like to raise your attention to this fellowship that funds researchers to come to our reading room to conduct research. You can check out the application information on our website or on our Facebook page. The deadline for application is the end of January. So we would encourage you to spread words among your colleagues, friends, and students who are interested in coming out to DC and to use our collection materials for their research projects. So with that, I will hand it over to Jonathan Loar for a brief introduction of our Southeast Asian collection. Thank you.


>> Jonathan Loar: Welcome everybody. Welcome to the Asian Reading Room of the Library of Congress. My name is Jonathan Loar and I'm the reference librarian for the South Asian collection, which contains materials for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. So before we get started, I just wanted to give a very, very brief overview of our South Asian collection, which contains approximately 330,000 monographic volumes, more than 1000 journals, and over 68,000 titles on microform in over 100 languages of the South Asian region. So that means we have substantial holdings in Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Pali, Prakrit and many other languages. Most of this acquisition comes from the library's two overseas offices, one in New Delhi established in 1962 and one in Islamabad established in 1965. On the countertops here in the reading room, you'll see some samples from our collections, books about Buddhism in general and about the ancient region of Gandhara, in particular, both in English and also in Asian languages. We invite everyone to come and spend some time here with our collections in the Asian Reading Room. And as Dr. Qiu just said, if you have a question about our collections, we have our "Ask a Librarian" service to answer anything pertaining to your research or general curiosity.


I would also like to remind everyone here today that today's program will be recorded and later released as a webcast. So please turn off or silence your mobile phones and other devices and also place hold your questions until the end. And please be advised that any questions you may ask during the Q&A will be recorded and the act of asking a question constitutes permission for us to record and broadcast later as part of our webcast. For South Asia at the Library of Congress, I believe you could call the subject of today's lecture a top treasure, namely the birch bark scrolls from the ancient Buddhist region of Gandhara. And to get to know this treasure, there is no better resource than the experts on the history, language and culture out of which this manuscript came to be. Dr. Richard Solomon is emeritus professor of Sanskrit and Buddhist studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. In addition to being the director of the British library and University of Washington's early Buddhist Manuscript Project, he is the author of many publications on early Buddhism, many of which are on display here at the Asian Reading Room today. His most recent book, his fourth on Gandhara manuscripts, is titled "Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhara: An Introduction with Selected Translations." Translation number eight in this book is "The Many Buddhas Sutra," which is the scroll here at the Library of Congress. And now for more on this scroll, I'd like to welcome Dr. Richard Solomon.

[ Applause ]

>> Richard Solomon: Can you hear me okay? Is the microphone on? I don't have a good projecting voice. So I want to be sure you all can hear. So first of all, thank you, thanks to John for the very nice introduction. Second, I want to thank you all for being here. When I saw the weather this afternoon, I had the concern that I was going to just be speaking to an empty room this evening but I see that you've all braved the nasty weather to come and I thank you for that and I will try to make it worth the effort. So I'm going to start my presentation with a description of the physical characteristics of the manuscript. Contents and significance will come later. So the manuscript is called, as you see here -- Next slide. The title of the manuscript or, to be accurate, the title which I attribute to the manuscript is "The Many Buddhas Sutra," which is my translation of the conjectural title, original title. It's not actually there on the manuscript, "Bahubuddha-sutra." Please note the asterisk. Scholarly convention means that that's a reconstructed title. I didn't make it up totally. I borrowed it from a related and somewhat similar text which exists in Sanskrit as part of the Mahavastu. So it's a conjectural but pretty likely title. The actual title of the manuscript would have been on some of the part that's incomplete, that's missing. So that's why I have a hypothetical title. And I'll show you the details of that a little later. First, briefly, the big picture. This is one of several hundred manuscripts discovered within the last 20 years from the ancient region of Gandhara. And I'll show a map later if you're not familiar with Gandhara and where it is. I'll get back to that. But we now know of several hundred manuscripts, almost all of them like this one, a birch bark scroll and written in the Gandhari language, which I'll describe a little bit later on, and in the Kharosthi script, which you'll also see some illustrations of. And these manuscripts date between the first century BC and the third century AD. So they are clearly the oldest manuscripts of any manifestation of Buddhism. And they're also the oldest South Asian manuscripts in existence.


So here, you see the scroll as it was delivered to the library. The main piece is at the bottom, rolled up piece of birch bark, and the piece on top is actually would've been an adjoining piece but it had already broken off. You might notice, I don't know if you can see from where you're sitting but the two look quite different and the reason is that they're in a different handwriting. And the reason for that is that when the scroll was unrolled and examined, it turned out that one scribe, I could just call it scribe A, had written the front and then he'd handed it off to another scribe, I'll call scribe B, and the back is in a quite distinctly different writing. So that's what you're seeing here. This is from -- The top upper one is from the recto, that is the front side, and the lower one is from the verso or the back side.


Looking at another angle on this manuscript, this is how it looked before it was unrolled and preserved, looking at it from the end and you can see pretty clearly how the scroll is rolled up and you can see how delicate and fragile this material is. If you've probably seen a piece of birch bark, you can, if nobody's looking, you can pull it off a tree and a beautiful white durable and very flexible and very nice looking material when it's new, when you pull it off the tree. When it's 2000 years old, it's extremely fragile and delicate and you can see all its little bits falling off of it no matter how careful you are. Another extra problem, I've boxed in an example of what we call delamination. So actually, birch bark consists of constituent layers. There're usually three layers that you can't see when it's fresh. You wouldn't notice. But again, when it dries out, those layers sometimes pull apart and sometimes they completely separate. That causes all kinds of problems when you're trying to reconstruct the manuscript because you not only have the manuscripts itself is broken into component parts, as you'll see, but the component parts are sometimes the front and the back are completely separated and it's not always at all obvious where and how they go together. So anyway, this is what came to the library some years ago. And the first problem is what to do with that. It has to be conserved and unrolled and here they are. This is on the left is Holly Krueger of the Library of Congress and at the right is Mark Barnard who was imported from the British Library as a special consultant because he was the most experienced person. He had unrolled two premier groups of similar types of manuscripts discovered again in the fairly recent past. So we have really an A-team conserving this difficult manuscript and here's just a detailed shot of how they do it. In a word, very carefully. Sorry. I'm going to wrong way. So here you see the implements that they use and how they are working together carefully. And this is the result or at least the preliminary result. So this is the recto side unreconstructed. In other words, that's how it actually looks and how it looks in those facsimile images in the back of the room, which you can look at later, as it came apart. Several changes had to be made. Particularly, there were these three pieces, loose pieces at the top, and you saw one of them in the first image and two others came apart.


And the conservators had no way to know exactly where they belonged and the scroll as it was unrolled was placed on a sheet of glass and when they were finished, they put another piece of glass on to seal it and that's a permanent disposition of it. But some of these pieces are not actually in their correct position, particularly those three at the top. So I'll show you. The next image is the reconstructed version and you'll see those pieces are reversed and flipped over like that and that. So this is photoshopped. All the reconstruction is done on screen with Photoshop. The original, as you'll see it back there, remains as it was unrolled. And this is what a typical problem. We have these problems almost always with birch bark scrolls. When they get unrolled, they don't come out all nice and neat and clear.


You'll notice in the reconstructed image the wear pattern and this is again very typical of birch bark scrolls. The best part is the bottom. So you can see clearly the farther up you go, the worse the condition gets and that's not the original top. At the top, there were some more lines missing, apparently probably not too many. So this is actually, believe it or not, one of the best preserved birch bark scrolls. A lot of them were worse than this. But there is something missing at the top and those spaces between the pieces are intentional and planned. So they represent places where the intermediate text was lost. But as I said, this is very typical. The bottom is always the best part. Why? Because when they'd finish the scroll, they would roll it up and they'd roll it up from the bottom. So when it's rolled, the bottom is on the inside and it's protected and the top is on the outside and it's most subject to wear. So it's very rare that we actually get the top of the manuscript. And that causes plenty of problems because, well, that's one of the reasons that I don't really know the name of the title of the text because in Indian books, the title is written usually at the end, not at the beginning. Seems strange to Western way of doing things but that's the typical pattern. So the title, the colophon containing the title would've been at the top of the back and that's the part that we don't have.


This is the verso and you can see it's just the same thing turned around and you can see how they do it. They write from the top to the bottom and the flip it over the long way and write from the bottom to the top. So that means we're missing typically, in this case and typically, we're missing the beginning and the end of the text, which are parts that you most want to see when you're trying to analyze it but usually we don't have it. So we look at similar related texts. We extrapolate. We make up a title. We do the best we can. Now I've -- I don't know if it's clear. I've boxed in a portion of the top of the verso, at the top of the back side, and that's going to be shown in detail in the next slide. So I just wanted to give you a little bit of a closer look at part of it relatively well-preserved part of the text. It's not as well preserved as it looked because if you look closely, I don't know if you can see from there, but actually there are many little bits, sections of the bark that have delaminated and they're actually misplaced. So if you look closely, you'll see some of those lines are jagged and interrupted and that's delamination. So this is what I'm going to be doing tomorrow is trying to figure out where those lose bits actually correctly belong. This is -- And just an example of the text, I'll explain a little more later on. But it's talking about when the life in Buddhist cosmic time, the lifetime of the various buddhas, and also it's explaining in a kind of punning way the name of the Buddha. His name is Padmottara because he is pure like a lotus padma. So that's a typical rhetorical device. So that's about the manuscript itself. Now I'd like to give you a little bit of background on the date and chronological and historical context of the manuscript.


So this manuscript has been tested by radiocarbon dating twice in two different labs and the results are here. And the results are a little disturbing because they should be the same, theoretically but they're not and there's been some discussion of that and probably there was some contamination. These things were packed in cotton wool when they were shipped here and that may have contaminated and damaged the accuracy of the test. So there's really no way to know which is the more accurate result, the one in Australia, number one, or the one that was done in University of Arizona, number two. So all in all, we have the big possible span from 206 BC to 1, what does it say, 133 CE. But that's not -- It's not a major problem because it's all in the ballpark and since then, quite a few other manuscripts of similar types have been tested and they all fall in period between first century BC to third century AD. And for specific reasons that I'm not going to take the time to explain now but I'm pretty sure that this manuscript is either first century BC or first century CE. So we have a pretty good idea of where we are historically. And that fits right in pretty well, quite well with what we understand of historical circumstances or historical context of this manuscript. So let's talk for a few minutes about the ancient region of Gandhara in the period in question, end of BC, beginning of CE period. So Gandhara, I've learned from speaking about this many places that some people know where Gandhara is and a lot of people don't. So I'll tell you in case you're in the later category. So this is a detailed map of Western and Northwestern India. And the area -- The rather small area circled in green, I hope you can see that at least where it is, is what we call Gandhara proper. The city, you can't read it on this map, but the modern city that that's surrounding is Peshawar in Northwestern Pakistan. So the valley, called the Peshawar Valley or the area of the Peshawar River, small area, 120 miles from east to west, is the Gandhara and region proper but there's also much bigger surrounding region I call Greater Gandhara, which is the cultural region which in the period in question that I was talking about was under the influence or within the cultural sphere of Gandhara itself. The reason that happens, the reason you get a thing called "Greater Gandhara" is in the period in question, again first century BC to second, third century AD, Gandhara was very much a political and cultural center, major political and cultural center in India and adjoining regions as well. In this period, there were a series of invasions or immigrations or movements, whatever you want to call it, by peoples from the north, from Central Asia, from the west, from Iran and from other places as well who came into this sort of what some historians call the funnel that leads immigrants and movements across Asia into India through particularly the Khyber Pass that's the most famous site in that pattern. So these immigrants came into India, set up a series of kingdoms and eventually The Great Kushan Empire in the period in question and they on one hand imposed their power but they rapidly assimilated into an Indian cultural milieu and the best and easiest way to do that is to become Buddhists because Buddhism is open to all. So what happened is that these barbarian conquerors very quickly became the great patrons of, well, generous, wealthy and generous patrons of Buddhist monasteries and institutions and that led to a great flourishing of Buddhism in Gandhara in the period in question. And this textural material we are dealing with is one manifestation of that flourishing period of Buddhism.


These foreign invaders, as they might be called, are known to us from the manuscripts but also from a very large number of physical remains, including inscriptions recording their donation. So this is just one example, a fairly typical example, from the first century of a reliquary dedicated by a member of the royal family of these Scythians or Saka, Indo-Scythian rulers of Northwestern India with a beautiful inscription around the top. And I don't know if you can see there are a few letters that are in gold. So actually originally the whole inscription was inlaid with gold wire and most of them disappeared but for some reason, two or three of the letters still have their original gold, sort of emblematic of the generosity of their patronage. So in the period that I'm talking about, Gandhara became a major center, in some senses even the major center of Buddhism in the South Asian continent and this had even greater historical consequences because we now know and it's gradually becoming clearer how Buddhism actually left the motherland of India and went into Central Asia through Gandhara. And we are now getting very clear evidence of that that Gandharan travelers went into Central Asia, brought Buddhism. And from there, Buddhism spread to China, to Korea, and Japan. So Gandhara is really a critical node, not just in Indian history, but in the entire history of Buddhism.


The other best know manifestation of Gandharan Buddhism is in its very abundant school of sculpture and other arts. And I find that in general audiences, that's what people are aware of if they have any acquaintance of Gandhara. And Gandharan Buddhist sculpture and again just about the same period, time period that I'm talking about, first to third century AD, you can see specimens of that in most major museums anywhere in the world, including right here in Washington, DC. In the Freer Gallery, there's this very amazing set of four friezes illustrating the four major events of the Buddha's life. So if you're not familiar, I definitely recommend a trip over there. Quite worth it. So I'll just show you these as a local example.


So the first of the great events is, of course, the miraculous birth of Buddha coming out of the right side of his mother.


And this is the enlightenment Buddha in meditation and all around him are the army of Mara or the anti-Buddha attacking him, trying to scare him, trying to distract him. And of course, they can't. You have that sort of called a force field around Buddha and they're all coming at him but there is this blanket area where they can't penetrate. And at the lower left is Mara in dejection because he sees that he's losing the battle.


And then the third is the first sermon in the Deer Park in Sarnath and you can see the two deer at the bottom of the chair and that's the, the bottom of the seat, that's the emblem of this great event.


And then finally the Parinirvana, the final passing away of Buddha. So these are absolutely basic to the biography of the Buddha. But what might seem odd is that the text that I'm here to talk about, which is about the life of the buddhas, these are not mentioned at all in that text because the kind of, the biography that I'm going to be talking about is not a conventional biography, at least in modern terms. It works quite differently and I'll explain that in a few minutes.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Mon Mar 15, 2021 5:54 am

Part 2 of 2


I want to add a little more background information on the nature of Buddhist canons. Buddhist canons are not like the canons of say Islam or Judaism where you have a single, clearly-defined invariable unilingual text or corpus of text. Buddhist canons are multiple. They exist in different forms, in different languages from different parts of the Buddhist world. Basically, the best known and most important Buddhist canons are in Pali Sanskrit, Chinese, and Tibetan. The Sanskrit is an incomplete canon known from fragmentary remains, mostly from Central Asia and from China. Buddhism in a way you can compare more to Christianity in terms of its approach to language and text and canon because like Christianity, Buddhism is a religious tradition that encourages translation, again in contrast to Islam and Judaism where if you read the Quran or you read the Torah, you read it in Arabic or Hebrew, respectively, because that's the essence of it. And if you translate it, it's just some pale imitation. That's not the idea in Buddhism. And the Buddha was said to have explained to his followers in a famous passage, speak, explain the dharma to people in their own language. So right from the beginning, there was the desire, preference for translation. So that's relevant to what I'm discussing here because we now have an increasingly large body, several hundred manuscripts, almost all fragmentary, in the Gandhari language, which I will explain in a moment. So I am willing to go out on a limb and say that there was a complete Gandhari canon in antiquity. It disappeared until recently. Why? Well, simply because Gandhara ceased to be a part of the Buddhist world or Buddhism died out at least 1000 years ago in Gandhara and it was completely forgotten until recently. So I would make the case that we're actually rediscovering an unknown canon of Buddhism and that's the canon that has been translated into Gandhari language. And the Gandhari language was in its day just the local vernacular language of the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. So it's linguistically related fairly closely to Pali and Sanskrit. And so I just have a quickie comparison chart for those of you who are familiar with or interested in this sort of thing. So the same verse in Gandhari, Sanskrit and Pali and I tried to clarify it by, I picked one word, in boldface, which is the word for a man or a human being. So you can see the relationships of manocie [phonetic] in Gandhari, manuoyaci [phonetic] in Sanskrit and manusso [phonetic] in Pali and so forth. You can make what you will of that.


The Gandhari language is always or almost always connected with the Kharosthi script, which looks something like this. Kharosthi script, which is written from right to left, although not in this example, is unlike the Gandhari language, which is of Indian origin. The Kharosthi script is of Western, that is Semitic origin derived or connected with the Aramaic script. So this is the alphabetical order or the character set of Kharosthi script but it's written in Western way, left to right. And that alphabet is called Arapacana at the top. Why Arapacana? Well, that's why just the first five letters. So as we say "alphabet," we call it alphabet just by citing the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha, beta, same principle was common in many other scripts or language groups. So that's the Arapacana alphabet. And this is a chart which shows the, illustrates the relationship between the Aramaic script and the Kharosthi script and I just circled some examples where it's relatively clear the derivation and connection with the Aramaic prototype. It's actually a complicated and controversial and interesting topic but I won't go into it here.


So that's all more or less by way of background. Now I'll come to the main point, context and significance of the Library of Congress scroll. What's it about? Well, I call the "Many Buddhas Sutra." I would describe it as a combined comparative biographical summary of the lives of 15 Buddhas beginning with Dipankara, who lived many billions of years ago, and ending with Sakyamuni or Siddharta or "our Buddha" as he's sometimes called. And then going on one more to Maitreya or Ajita who is the next Buddha. So those 14 Buddhas in the past and one Buddha in the future. So these are the 15 Buddhas involved. Start with Dipankara. Number 14 is Sakyamuni who actually is Sakyamuni the second, surprisingly. And then on to Maitreya in the future. But this biography is not the kind of biography that you saw in those four sculpted images that I showed you before. In fact, those four great events, the four prime events of the Buddha's life are not mentioned at all in this strange kind of biography. So what it is about? Well, I've summarized that in this chart. There are seven points of information which are enumerated for each of the Buddhas. So it starts out with the predictions. I'll explain the significance of that a little bit later. And the predictions made by each of the 15 Buddhas and so forth. So for example number three, I'll show later. The lifespan tells you how long each Buddha lasted. So it's not a narrative presentation. It's a summary of information. And that has its own significance, an importance, which I'll try to clarify as I go through. So the next slide I'm going to show you the specific, the full information, I've picked item five, social class, the varna it's called in Sanskrit, which of the four classes of society each of the Buddhas and I picked that, I showed that one because it's short and I can fit it all in one slide So if we read, Dipankara went forth, that means, you know, became a Buddha approximately from a brahman family, Sarvabhibhu from ksatriya family. Padmottara was a brahman. Atyuccagamin was ksatriya, on and on and on. Maybe not the most exciting reading to the un-initiated. This is the part that I don't show my undergraduate students. You can imagine their eyes glazing over. But it has considerable interest and significance. I'm not going to go into this example here although it implies something about the social views of ancient Buddhism. But I want to show another one. This is another category, category three and the seven points of information, which is the lifespans of the Buddha. And I couldn't fit in all 15 Buddhas, so I just give approximately the last half. And here, you'll see a clear progression. Vipasyin Buddha number eight lived for 80,000 years, Buddha number nine 70,000 years, et cetera, et cetera, down to number 13, who is Kasyapa the immediate predecessor of the historical Buddha Sakyamuni. He lived for 20,000 years. And I -- And this is Sakyamuni. By the way, this whole text is, of course, being recited, told by Sakyamuni. He predicts that he will live only 80 years. So you see it's very, it's a pronounced drastic downward progression in the lifetime of the Buddhas.


And this is a matter of concern because a year in the life of the Buddha or a day or an hour in the life of a Buddha is a very precious thing. So it gives you a sense of the world getting somehow deteriorating. Well, the world is always deteriorating and so it always seems. But when you look at the next item, which is category four, the periods, the historic periods in which the Buddhas lived, you actually get a different message or a different picture. So here, we have -- I was able to fit all 15 on. So this is the historical progression, the sweep of history when these earlier Buddhas lived and when the future Buddhas will live. So Dipankara, which is actually the same as Dipankara, lived in an uncountable eon before the present eon. I'll try to explain briefly Buddhist cosmology. It's a little different than what you might be used to. An uncountable eon is a technical term. It doesn't mean you can't count it. It means it's so huge. So an uncountable eon is, I believe, the best calculation I've been able to find is 10 to the 154th power number of years. So virtually uncountable. The next Buddha, Sarvabhibhu, 10 million eons, the third 100,000 and so forth, 1000, 500. So you see a different kind of progression. You see for instance in number nine and ten, you have two buddhas, Sikhin and Visvabhu, who lived in the same eon and then the 11th through 15th are all in the same eon and that's the eon that we're living in now. And that's called the bhadrakalpa because Bhadra means good, happy, fortunate, because it's the era in which many buddhas are living. So you get -- There's a kind of balance between the decrease in the lifetime of the buddhas, in the lifespan of the buddhas but they're getting more frequent in history.


There's another related text which contains these lists of buddhas and their times and their characteristics. It's called the Bhadrakalpikasutra. Some of you might be familiar with it. And Bhadrakalpika means it talks about the bhadrakalpa, kalpa means eon. And it's a list of buddhas but not from the past but looking ahead in the future. So it actually starts with the first Buddha in the bhadrakalpa that is Kakusandha and goes through Sakyamuni, our Buddha, and Maitreya and then 996 more buddhas are still to come within this Bhadra era. So this is very important for Buddhist practice or philosophy or soteriology because the point is to give encouragement and comfort that Buddhas will although we have missed the Buddha, we living now, we're not during the lifetime of the Buddha but there will be buddhas to come and in future years if we pursue the Buddhist path, we might get the blessing of actually some day a million years form now or a billion years from now actually see and be the presence of the Buddha. So there's a balance of the downward trajectory of the world in general but the increasing promise of increasing numbers of buddhas. Let me turn to my next topic which is how many buddhas are there. So at this point, you might be wondering the text that I'm primarily concerned with contains 15 buddhas. I mentioned another one that enumerates 1001 buddhas and there are many other numbers. There's a famous early sutra, the [inaudible] sutra, which has seven buddhas which seems to be the original number. There's another polytext called Buddhavamsa which lists 25 buddhas. And significantly in that case, it lists 25 buddhas but it begins with Dipankara and that's particularly an important moment within the history of the buddhas plural, Dipankara has a special importance which I will explain in a few minutes. Just I'll mention one other number, the Mahavastu which is a Sanskrit biography of the Buddha, also has a list of buddhas. It has a long list, 331,140,263 buddhas from the remote inconceivable past down to the present time of Sakyamuni.


So how many buddhas are there? Well, let me come back to the point about Dipankara. Why is Dipankara special in these lists? Why do -- Why is he stressed in most of them and in at least two important cases, including our manuscript, it begins with him? Well, because he's the Buddha who produced our Buddha Sakyamuni. And by produced, I will try to say he inspired the person who would eventually be reborn as the Buddha. He inspired him to become a Buddha and he actually predicted that that being would become a Buddha. So let me explain. I'll show how that happened.

1. Dipankara
2. Sarvabhibhu
3. Padmottara
4. Atyuccagamin
5. Yasottara
6. Sakyamuni 1
7. Tisya
8. Vipasyin
9. Sikhin
10. Visvabhu
11. Krakucchanda
12. Konakamuni
13. Kasyapa
14. Sakyamuni 2
15. Maitreya

Here, I've just given you the basic list but I've emphasized Dipankara and Sakyamuni because they have this special connection.


And this is the famous scene where it all started. This is where a young man, a very handsome young man named Megha or Sumedha, different names, in extremely remote past, in the time of Dipankara, was walking down the street and he saw the Buddha Dipankara. And he was overcome with power and radiance of the Buddha. And the Buddha was walking along the road and maybe it was like today, the road was wet and muddy and he didn't want the Buddha to get his feet dirty. So he undid his -- He had this beautiful long thick hair and he threw it over the road for the Buddha to walk on, to keep his feet dry. And the Buddha seeing that said, knew that this man Megha was special and had a special destiny and predicted that he would in the future become a Buddha and Megha was inspired to pursue the path. And eventually after millions and millions of lifetimes, he in fact became the Buddha and that's what we see here in this Gandharan sculpture. So the point is where do buddhas come from and how many are there? The answer is buddhas come from other buddhas. A buddha predicts and produces, inspires the attainment of Buddhahood by another person or by other people in the long future.

So how many buddhas are there? I finally come back to the question. Infinite number. Why infinite? Because time is infinite in the Buddhas conception both in the past and the future. There is no beginning. There is no end. And throughout history, buddhas are either present or most of the time in the process of forming at some time. And that's why the Mahavastu can say in all seriousness that there are 331 million et cetera buddhas. There're actually much more than that. There are an infinite number. But these different texts or these different presentations, usually by the Buddha himself, simply address the issue or explain the issue in a limited scope because you can't, well the Buddha can talk about, understand eternity but we can't. So it takes -- These different texts are really slices of history, slices of Buddha history, which is infinite from beginning to end. Some of them talk about the recent past. Some of them talk about a little farther in the past. Some go into the future. Some are concerned mainly with the future. But they're all just pieces of the big picture. I call them slices of history.


Let me turn to my penultimate topic, which is to step back and try to give you some idea of the importance of this text and the position of this text within Buddhist literature more broadly. I think I've already -- Excuse me. I hope I've already made it clear that this text is new. It's text we've never seen before but it's by no means totally unprecedented. We have similar texts or texts of similar theme in other parts of the Buddhist literature and that's why I borrowed the title "Many Buddha Sutra," Bahubuddha-sutra, from another Sanskrit book that has a similar portion. And that's interesting, now I'm speaking in terms of the history of Buddhist literature, what this is showing us. We find similar descriptions of the buddhas in other Buddhist literature. It's Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese. But they're usually incorporated into much bigger text like the Mahavastu or the [inaudible], these enormous multivolume texts. What we have here are we are finding the actual component parts of some of those massive texts. So it's beginning to become clearer that there was a process, for lack of better term I call it the clumping process, in the history of Buddhist literature that individual, what were originally individual texts have tended to get squished together into these sort of encyclopedic long works. There are other texts which are more or less familiar. We have for instance Gandhari versions of texts that were known in essentially a similar form in other languages, usual Pali, Sanskrit, Chinese or combinations thereof. So these are not new texts but they are new versions of previously known texts. So it's less spectacular but to the specialists, it's extremely interesting because you can do all sorts of textual comparisons of the details and relationships. So, you know, to us, it's exciting as if someone discovered the putative Aramaic original form of the Gospels, New Testament Gospels known only in Greek. So that's a big deal for us. And then there's a third class of material in this Gandhari literature which I haven't talked about and I don't have time to introduce but I just wanted to say there are texts which are completely new for which we have no parallel or no approximately similar material in any of the other several Buddhist literatures and these are great eyeopeners. They give us views, new dimensions of Buddhist doctrine and Buddhist literature that we had no idea of in many cases. So what do we have, couple hundred scraps of partial texts which are clearly part of what was originally a much larger literature. I think Gandhari Buddhist literature in its day, there must've been thousands of different texts in existence. So it's very much tip of the iceberg situation but, you know, you can look at the tip and if you look closely enough, you can sort of extrapolate the picture of the whole iceberg. I have a larger vision or fantasy of original Indian Buddhism as an ocean with many icebergs, each representing the local textual traditions or the local canons of the different parts of the Indian world. Those icebergs are mostly gone. They've melted away. We have a few of them. We have the Pali canon. We have the partial Sanskrit canon. But I have the feeling now that there were many local canons. All had a common core. I don't mean to give the idea they're completely different. They had a common core but they had many different texts in and around that basic commonality. Those other Buddhist literatures or canons most of them are gone and I would say there's no hope of finding them mainly for a simple physical reason, the climate of India, of India proper is such that organic materials, manuscripts never last for more than a few hundred years. There are really no really old manuscripts in India proper. You only get the ancient manuscripts from the borderlands of India, in this case Gandhara which has a more moderate climate and more conducive to the survival of organic materials of manuscripts. So extrapolating and I'm going out on a limb a little bit. From the tip of the Gandharan iceberg, I try to see the shape of the whole iceberg and from that I try to guess the shape of all the other icebergs that theoretically existed and never will. But the details of this are gradually become clearer as we, myself and my colleagues and collaborators in this Gandharan enterprise, work through the materials we have and that's why I'm here.


So I just want to conclude with a few words on specifically on what I and my colleagues are doing with these manuscripts. Jonathan mentioned already in his introduction that I have published a translation, really it's a kind of preliminary translation, of this text and it's in my book "Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhara," which is on the table and actually obviously open to the appropriate pages where I translate this whole thing. But that's actually just the beginning. The translation with this sort of material, this sort of work, translation is not the main part. So what I'm working on and why I'm here, other than of course to speak to you, but to do some of the detailed work towards the production of a complete scholarly detailed philological edition, that more for the specialists. So that will eventually take the form of one of those black books that you see on the table there. That's a series called "Gandharan Buddhist Text." So that's the academic presentation of this material. My other book is meant more for the general readership. So one of these years, I don't dare be more specific on that, I do commit myself that there will be a black book in the Gandharan Buddhist text on this manuscript and hopefully tomorrow I'll begin making some progress towards that. But for the meantime, you can feel free to consult my translation and this is the book in question. This one already actually exists. So thank you for your attention. Be glad to answer questions.

[ Applause ]

>> Jonathan Loar: So we'll open it up to questions if anybody has any.


>> Richard Solomon: Please. Yes.

>> I have a question. Could you just say something about how the manuscripts, I mean how we get manuscripts, how [inaudible] manuscripts?

>> Richard Solomon: Yes, that's a little bit complicated. The problem is that in nearly all cases we don't really know where the manuscripts come from and that's why I didn't talk about that. Almost all of the manuscripts of this type have come up through private collections or antiquities market and that is frankly a murky place. The people who have possession of them may or may not know where they actually came from and they may or may not tell you or may or may not tell you the truth. But what we do know fairly certainly is that some, probably most, maybe all of them were originally in clay pots and we actually have not here but in the British Library we actually have one of the clay pots in which they came. And these pots were buried probably under stupas or near stupas in a monastery. So they put the manuscripts in the pots, sealed it up with a kind of, I think probably with beeswax, put a lid on it and sealed it, and they buried it in the stupa. At least some of those came from Hadda, in Afghanistan if you're familiar with that. They all come -- They probably -- All of most of them come from eastern Afghanistan, maybe from some northwestern Pakistan. And so that's -- Unfortunately, that's all we really know. There are no cases where we have any of these manuscripts and know specifically definitely exactly where they came from but we have some general knowledge about the provenance.


It's a problem. Yes, please.

[ Inaudible Audience Question ]

Yes. You may be referring to in Buddhist literature they, in [inaudible], they talk about Taxila, which was the great city of that area, and they call it the university but that's actually kind of an anachronism and that's something that modern scholars, modern translators have used that term but really it was just kind of center of learning but not in a formal sense of a university. But in terms of propagation, well we don't know very much about that but there's one very important point that we do know and that concerns what I mentioned briefly before, the transmission of this material, I mean Buddhist literature in general, into Central Asia and into China. So there's something called the Gandhari hypothesis which I didn't talk about but I will for a minute because it's relevant to your question. This is something that actually goes back to I think the 1930s. It was first noticed that if you look at some types of Chinese Buddhist texts and, of course, Chinese Buddhist texts are, the [inaudible] are all translated from Indian originals. And this was a huge enterprise that went on from the second century BC for, I'm sorry, second century AD for a thousand years. It was this enormous project of translating the Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. It's actually the biggest and most impressive translation project in the history of the world. I'll go out on a limb and say that. Very few people outside Buddha circles know that but it's a major achievement in world civilization I would say. Now concerning that, there was this idea called the Gandhari hypothesis and what happened is that certain text scholars, philologists were looking at the early Chinese translations, second, third, maybe fourth century, and looking at how they rendered the Indian names. And this was a problem because Indian names and Chinese names are extremely different in the structure of the language and the sound system are so different and the writing system, everything is different, so they struggled with representing Buddhist Indian names in Chinese but some of these early scholars noted that there were maybe oddities in the way that the names were presented which made them question what had been assumed, which it was assumed that the Chinese translations were made from Sanskrit but certain of the features of the names actually didn't line up with Sanskrit but they do line up with the corresponding Gandhari pronunciations, like that slide I showed you where you'd see the different sound systems. So the Gandhari hypothesis then was that the Chinese Buddhist texts, not all of them but the early phase, were actually based not on Sanskrit originals but on Gandhari originals. And one of the question marks about that theory was at the time and for decades afterwards there were no Gandhari text. Now to make a long story short, there are and so this new material definitely supports, I would say proves the Gandhari hypothesis. So that's really, coming back to your question, the propagation, the historically important propagation is that these were brought by various people into China and translated. They probably wasn't propagated in India proper because in India proper, the other regions had their own corresponding sets of texts in their own local languages and dialects.


I hope I answered your question. Yes, please.

>> Thank you very much for the wonderful [inaudible] research. Do you know the approximate dimensions of the original scrolls?

>> Richard Solomon: Oh, I didn't mention that. Is the facsimile their actual size?

>> Jonathan Loar: Close.

>> Richard Solomon: Yes. In the back, you can look at it afterwards. About that long. Does that seem right? So the original would've been somewhat longer. The dimensions of these scrolls vary a lot. This is one of the shorter ones. Ah, yes. Thank you. That long. This was probably, as far as I see, it was made from a single piece of birch bark. But, of course, you're limited by the size of -- So there are -- We have some much longer scrolls, some that are several yards long but, of course, they're put together. We call them composite scrolls. They're sheets of bark, you know, typically not longer than this but there might be 10 or 15 or even more put together. I'm having some doubts because there's a, you can't see it from there, but there's a blank strip here and I wonder whether that's actually a juncture and whether this was made, put together from two separate pieces. So that's -- I'm going to be checking that tomorrow. The range, very wide range. There are some -- The smallest ones are about this high. The longest ones are yards and yards long.


Yes, please.

[ Inaudible Audience Question ]

I'm sorry. I'm not hearing.

[ Inaudible Audience Question ]

Oh, yes. That's -- I've wondered about that. I'm not sure I understand it. In the list of 15, there's Sakyamuni the first and of course it doesn't say the first. I just put together those numbers. He was number eight. I don't know. I'm not sure. And then Sakyamuni the second. But there's another point about that which I didn't mention. I talked about that list in the Mahavastu of 331,140,263 buddhas. What I didn't say is that out of the 300 million, out of the 331, 300 million were named Sakyamuni. And according to that text, there was a stretch of 30 million buddhas in a row that were all had the same name. And I have thought about and failed to understand what that, why that is and what that means. But there is -- You know, buddhas are and by impression, they're more or less the same and their images, I don't think I have one here, but you see in Gandhari and other sculptures, you see sets of buddhas like the seven buddhas or sometimes eight buddhas and they're all almost exactly the same. So there seems to be a range of possibilities that buddhas are always similar and they can be very similar and sometimes they are absolutely identical. But I'm still pondering that. It is hard to understand that.


Yes, sir?

[ Inaudible Audience Question ]

Yes. It's hard to give exact numbers. Let me explain the problem. There are groups of manuscripts. There are six or seven major groups. And typically, one of these groups will typically have, take two or three dozen manuscripts but there's one group which comes from a place called Bamiyan, which people have heard of because they were, everybody knows they were giant buddhas and the Taliban blew them up in 1999 or whenever it was. What the public general doesn't know is that they were also thousands and thousands of manuscripts found there. And most of those manuscripts were later manuscripts in Sanskrit but there's an early phase of Gandhari manuscripts similar to what I've been talking about. Now that contains -- That consists of 300 or so fragments and most of them are -- When I say fragments, I mean like this. So it's very hard to say, okay, what is that? Is that 300 manuscripts or are they part and how many manuscripts were they actually parts of and in most cases they're so small that's it's hard to be sure. So there might be 300 fragments but there might've been 50 or 60 manuscripts at a little more than a guess. So that's why the numbers are very fuzzy and that's why I've been a little bit vague. But I would say we have -- Well, I said 200 -- We have partial remnants of at least 200 manuscripts and we have possibly more than that. In terms of complete manuscripts or texts that are complete or more or less complete, you know, say 90%, very few, maybe three or four. This thing, I think I actually calculated, I don't remember. We have maybe 75 to 80% of the original of this and that's much, much better than usual. So it's a little hard to say exactly how much we have but we do have a lot of material, enough to really begin to get a glimpse of the big picture. Yes, please.

[ Inaudible Audience Question ]

The answer is almost all are Buddhist texts, not necessarily sutras but Buddhist texts of any kind clearly Buddhist content. Sorry, I broke your microphone. There are two exceptions in all of these 200 or whatever manuscripts, there are two exceptions but they're really interesting. One of them is a kind of legal document. The other, which was just discovered very recently and is about to be published by my colleague Mark Allen [assumed spelling], you might know who he is. And it's actually just little fragments of what would've been a very interesting text but it's enough to see what's going on. It's actually a record of the monastery's record of donations. And not only that, it lists the names of the donors and the primary donor was [inaudible], who's a well-known figure in Indian history of around 100 AD. So this is really a great thing for us because it clarifies and confirms the historical context within that period that I talked about, that so-called foreign ruler period, and he was previously known but [inaudible] his relationship to Buddhism was not clear and now we have it. He was mentioned several times in this text. So it's not a Buddhist text in the sense that the others are but it's monastic business and it's a real eyeopener. And this is going to be published in a few months. So really change the picture. But that's all we have so far of that type.

>> Jonathan Loar: I think we have time for maybe one more question. Are there any burning questions? Otherwise, we'll be here around the reading room for [inaudible] afterwards but I feel incredibly fortunate to be learning so much about the scroll. Thank you so much, Dr. Solomon.

>> Richard Solomon: My pleasure. Thank you.

[ Applause ]

And thanks again to everybody for braving the rain and wind.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 16, 2021 2:48 am

Bhadrakalpika Sūtra
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/15/21

Garden of One Thousand Buddhas Arlee, Montana

Bhadrakalpikasūtra (Sanskrit; Wylie: bskal pa bzang po’i mdo) is a Mahayana sutra with 24 chapters written in c. 200-250 CE,[1] said to have been taught by Gautama Buddha in Vaishali.[2] It includes the names of the 1002 Buddhas of this "Fortunate Aeon."[3] The title of this text means the Fortunate Aeon Sūtra.

In 2017, United States Representative, Colleen Hanabusa, was sworn in on a copy of the Fortune Aeon.[4]

The thousand buddhas

Photo showing Dunhuang Cave 16 and the manuscripts piled up for Aurel Stein near the entrance to Cave 17, the “library cave” at the Mogao Caves

Temple of One Thousand Buddhas, in la Boulaye, Saône-et-Loire, Burgundy

The list of 1002 (or 1004) names starts with:[5]

• Krakucchanda
• Kanakamuni
• Kashyapa
• Shakyamuni
• Maitreya

... and ends with ...[6]

• Harivaktra
• Chuda and
• Rocha

It is included in the first volume of the sutra section of the Kangyur of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also available in Chinese, Tibetan, Mongolian, and other languages in variants that differ slightly as to the number of Tathāgatas enumerated. For example, the Khotanese version is the proponent of a 1005-Tathāgata system.[7]

Dharmarakṣa, a native of Dunhuang, between third and fourth centuries had translated the Bhadrakalpikasutra into Classical Chinese. Note that "A cave of the Thousand-Buddhas" is the name of the world-renowned grottoes at Dunhuang. Vidyakarasimha and Dpal-dbyans translated the text into Tibetan.[8]

Dunhuang is a county-level city in Northwestern Gansu Province, Western China... Dunhuang was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road and is best known for the nearby Mogao Caves.

Figure of Maitreya Buddha in cave 275 from Northern Liang (397–439), one of the earliest caves. The crossed ankle figure with a three-disk crown shows influence from Kushan art.

The Mogao Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Grottoes or Caves of the Thousand Buddhas, form a system of 500 temples 25 km (16 mi) southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China. The caves may also be known as the Dunhuang Caves; however, this term is also used as a collective term to include other Buddhist cave sites in and around the Dunhuang area, such as the Western Thousand Buddha Caves, Eastern Thousand Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves, and Five Temple Caves. The caves contain some of the finest examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years. The first caves were dug out in AD 366 as places of Buddhist meditation and worship. The Mogao Caves are the best known of the Chinese Buddhist grottoes and, along with Longmen Grottoes and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the three famous ancient Buddhist sculptural sites of China.

An important cache of documents was discovered in 1900 in the so-called "Library Cave", which had been walled-up in the 11th century. The contents of the library were subsequently dispersed around the world, and the largest collections are now found in Beijing, London, Paris and Berlin, and the International Dunhuang Project exists to coordinate and collect scholarly work on the Dunhuang manuscripts and other material. The caves themselves are now a popular tourist destination, with a number open for visiting.

-- Mogao Caves, by Wikipedia

It has also been known at times as Shazhou and, in Uyghur, Dukhan.

Dunhuang is situated in an oasis containing Crescent Lake and Mingsha Shan (鳴沙山, meaning "Singing-Sand Mountain"), named after the sound of the wind whipping off the dunes, the singing sand phenomenon. Dunhuang commands a strategic position at the crossroads of the ancient Southern Silk Route and the main road leading from India via Lhasa to Mongolia and Southern Siberia, and also controls the entrance to the narrow Hexi Corridor, which leads straight to the heart of the north Chinese plains and the ancient capitals of Chang'an (today known as Xi'an) and Luoyang.

-- Dunhuang, by Wikipedia

The original Sanskrit text is now lost.

See also

• Mahayana sutras
• Heart Sutra
• Samantabhadra Meditation Sutra


1. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism, By Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., Princeton University Press, 2013 p. 106
2. The Fortunate Aeon: How the Thousand Buddhas Became Enlightened (Tibetan Translation Series), 4 volume set (Berkeley: Dharma Publishing, 1986).
3. “One Thousand Buddhas from Gandhara: the Bhadrakalpikasutra and its place in Gandhari literature,” Stefan Baums, 44th Annual South Asian Conference of the Pacific Northwest, March 4–6, 2010.
4. ... ss-n699676
5. The Fortunate Aeon: How the Thousand Buddhas Became Enlightened, p. 1733
6. The Fortunate Aeon: How the Thousand Buddhas Became Enlightened, p. 1733
7. BHADRAKALPIKASŪTRA, Ronald E. Emmerick, Encyclopaedia Iranica, December 15, 1989, Vol. IV, Fasc. 2, pp. 190-191 ... anist-text
8. Dr. Shailendra K. Verma, "Emergence and Evolution of the Buddha Image (From its inception to 8th century A.D.)" a doctoral thesis. At

External links

• [Tripiṭaka. Sūtrapiṭaka. Bhadrakalpikasūtra. ... /840923226]
• Tabo skor lam: inner walls On the inner walls of the ambulatory the sequence of the Buddhas of the Bhadrakalpikasūtra continues Tabo Monastery
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 16, 2021 3:13 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/15/21

Type: Canonical text; Vaṃsa
Parent Collection: Khuddaka Nikaya
PTS Abbreviation: Bv
Pāli literature


The Buddhavaṃsa (also known as the Chronicle of Buddhas) is a hagiographical Buddhist text which describes the life of Gautama Buddha and of the twenty-four Buddhas who preceded him and prophesied his attainment of Buddhahood.[1][2] It is the fourteenth book of the Khuddaka Nikāya, which in turn is the fifth and last division of the Sutta Piṭaka.[3] The Sutta Piṭaka is one of three pitakas (main sections) which together constitute the Tripiṭaka, or Pāli Canon of Theravāda Buddhism.[4]

Along with the Apadāna and the Cariyāpiṭaka, the Buddhavaṃsa is considered by most scholars to have been written during the 1st and 2nd century BCE
, and is therefore a late addition to the Pāli Canon.[5][6]


The first chapter tells how Gautama Buddha, to demonstrate his supernormal knowledge, creates a jewelled walkway in the sky.[7] In seeing this display, Sāriputta asks the Buddha:

"Of what kind, great hero, supreme among men, was your resolve? At what time, wise one, was supreme Awakening aspired to by you? ... Of what kind, wise one, leader of the world, were your ten perfections? How were the higher perfections fulfilled, how the ultimate perfections?"[8]

In response, the Buddha relays the remainder of the Buddhavaṃsa.[9]

In the second chapter Gautama tells how in a distant past life as layman named Sumedha, he received a prediction from Dīpankara Buddha that "In the next era you will become a buddha named Gotama.",[10] and told him the ten perfections he would need to practice.

Chapters 3 through 26 are accounts of the twenty-four historical Buddhas who achieved Buddhahood between Dīpankara and Gautama, and the acts of merit that Gautama performed towards them in his previous lives.

Chapter 27 is an account of the life of Gautama Buddha.[1]

Chapter 28 mentions three Buddhas that preceded Dīpankara,[1][11] as well as the future Buddha, Maitreya.[1][12]

Chapter 29 tells of the distribution of Gautama Buddha's relics after his death.[1]


• Morris, R, ed. (1882). "XXVII: List of the Buddhas". The Buddhavamsa (PDF). London: Pali Text Society. pp. 66–7. Archived from the original on 2016-02-28.
• Law, BC, ed. (1938). "The lineage of the Buddhas". The Minor Anthologies of the Pali Canon: Buddhavaṃsa, the lineage of the Buddhas, and Cariyā-Piṭaka or the collection of ways of conduct (1st ed.). London: Milford.
• Takin, MV, ed. (1969). "The lineage of the Buddhas". The Genealogy of the Buddhas (1st ed.). Bombay: Bombay University Publications.
• Horner, IB, ed. (1975). The minor anthologies of the Pali canon. Volume III: Buddhavaṁsa (Chronicle of Buddhas) and Cariyāpiṭaka (Basket of Conduct). London: Pali Text Society. ISBN 0-86013-072-X.
• Vicittasarabivamsa, U (1992). "Chapter IX: The chronicle of twenty-four Buddhas". In Ko Lay, U; Tin Lwin, U (eds.). The great chronicle of Buddhas, Volume One, Part Two (PDF) (1st ed.). Yangon, Myanmar: Ti=Ni Publishing Center. pp. 130–321. Archived from the original on 2016-02-14.

See also

• Cariyapitaka
• Jataka tales
• Pāramitā


1. Buddha Dharma Education Association (2014). "Suttanta Pitaka: Khuddaka Nikāya: 14.Buddhavamsa-History of the Buddhas". Guide to Tipiṭaka. Tullera, NSW, Australia: Buddha Dharma Education Association. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
2. Hinüber (1996), A Handbook of Pāli Literature, p. 43.
3. "Manual of Buddhist Terms and Doctrines (Pali dictionary)". Retrieved 2014-12-21.
4. Lancaster, LR (2005). "Buddhist books and texts: canon and canonization". Encyclopedia of religion (2nd ed.). New York: Macmillan Reference USA. p. 1252. ISBN 978 00-286-5733-2.
5. A textual and Historical Analysis of the Khuddaka Nikaya – Oliver Abeynayake Ph. D. , Colombo, First Edition – 1984, p. 113.
6. Horner (1975), The minor anthologies of the Pali canon, p. x. "It would seem that, however much Bv may be a latecomer to the Pali Canon, or however slight its metrical interest, its merits which may be said to include the clear-cut way in which it organizes its somewhat unusual contents...."
7. Horner (1975), The minor anthologies of the Pali canon, p. 1. Bv I, 5: "Come, I will display the unsurpassed power of a Buddha: in the zenith I will create a Walk adorned with jewels."
8. Horner (1975), The minor anthologies of the Pali canon, p. 8.
9. Horner (1975), The minor anthologies of the Pali canon, p. 9.
10. "Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra". Translations from the Taishō Tripiṭaka. Lapis Lazuli Texts. Retrieved 2014-12-21.
11. Horner (1975), The minor anthologies of the Pali canon, p. 96. Regarding the three Buddhas who came before Dīpankara, Bv XXVII, 1 states: "Immeasurable eons ago there were four guiders away: these Conquerors, Tanhankara, Medhankara, Saranankara and Dīpankara the Self-Awakened One were in one eon."
12. Horner (1975), The minor anthologies of the Pali canon, p. 97. Regarding Metteyya, Bv XXVII, 19: "I [Gautama Buddha] at the present time am the Self-Awakened One, and there will be Metteyya...."


• Horner, IB, ed. (1975). The minor anthologies of the Pali canon. Volume III: Buddhavaṁsa (Chronicle of Buddhas) and Cariyāpiṭaka (Basket of Conduct). London: Pali Text Society. ISBN 0-86013-072-X.
• Hinüber, O (1996). A Handbook of Pāli Literature (1st ed.). Philadelphia: Coronet Books Inc. ISBN 978-8121507783.

External links

The chronicle of twenty-four Buddhas, by Mingun Sayadaw, edited and translated by Professor U Ko Lay and U Tin Lwin, Yangon, Myanmar. Includes only chapters 1, 22, 23, and 24.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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Accessed: 3/18/21

A human skull and measurement device from 1902.

Craniometry is measurement of the cranium (the main part of the skull), usually the human cranium. It is a subset of cephalometry, measurement of the head, which in humans is a subset of anthropometry, measurement of the human body. It is distinct from phrenology, the pseudoscience that tried to link personality and character to head shape, and physiognomy, which tried the same for facial features. However, these fields have all claimed the ability to predict traits or intelligence.

It was once intensively practised in anthropology, in particular in physical anthropology in the 19th and the first part of the 20th century. Theories attempting to scientifically justify the segregation of society based on race became popular at this time, one of their prominent figures being Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936), who divided humanity into various, hierarchized, different "races", spanning from the "Aryan white race, dolichocephalic" (from the Ancient Greek kephalê, head, and dolikhos, long and thin), to the "brachycephalic" (short and broad-headed) race. On the other hand, craniometry was also used as evidence against the existence of a "Nordic race" and also by Franz Boas who used the cephalic index to show the influence of environmental factors. Charles Darwin used craniometry and the study of skeletons to demonstrate his theory of evolution first expressed in On the Origin of Species (1859).

More direct measurements involve examinations of brains from corpses, or more recently, imaging techniques such as MRI, which can be used on living persons. Such measurements are used in research on neuroscience and intelligence.

The cephalic index

Main article: Cephalic index

Swedish professor of anatomy Anders Retzius (1796–1860) first used the cephalic index in physical anthropology to classify ancient human remains found in Europe. He classified brains into three main categories, "dolichocephalic" (from the Ancient Greek kephalê, head, and dolikhos, long and thin), "brachycephalic" (short and broad) and "mesocephalic" (intermediate length and width).

These terms were then used by Georges Vacher de Lapouge (1854–1936), one of the pioneers of scientific theories in this area and a theoretician of eugenics, who in L'Aryen et son rôle social (1899 – "The Aryan and his social role") divided humanity into various, hierarchized, different "races", spanning from the "Aryan white race, dolichocephalic", to the "brachycephalic" "mediocre and inert" race, best represented by the "Jew [sic]."

Between these, Vacher de Lapouge identified the "Homo europaeus (Teutonic, Protestant, etc.), the "Homo alpinus" (Auvergnat, Turkish, etc.), and finally the "Homo mediterraneus" (Napolitano, Andalus, etc.). "Homo africanus" (Congo, Florida) was even excluded from the discussion. Vacher de Lapouge became one of the leading inspirations of Nazi anti-semitism and Nazi ideology.[1] His classification was mirrored in William Z. Ripley in The Races of Europe (1899).

Craniometry and anthropology

Pithecometra: In the frontispiece from his 1863 Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature, Thomas Huxley compared skeletons of apes to humans.
Photographically reduced from Diagrams of the natural size (except that of the Gibbon, which was twice as large as nature), drawn by Mr. Waterhouse Hawkins from specimens in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons.

Further information: Anthropology and Physical anthropology

In 1784, Louis-Jean-Marie Daubenton, who wrote many comparative anatomy memoirs for the Académie française, published the Mémoire sur les différences de la situation du grand trou occipital dans l’homme et dans les animaux (which translates as Memoir on the Different Positions of the Occipital Foramen in Man and Animals).

Six years later, Pieter Camper (1722–1789), distinguished both as an artist and as an anatomist, published some lectures containing an account of his craniometrical methods. These laid the foundation of all subsequent work.

Pieter Camper invented the "facial angle", a measure meant to determine intelligence among various species. According to this technique, a "facial angle" was formed by drawing two lines: one horizontally from the nostril to the ear; and the other perpendicularly from the advancing part of the upper jawbone to the most prominent part of the forehead.

Camper claimed that antique statues presented an angle of 90°, Europeans of 80°, Black people of 70° and the orangutan of 58°, thus displaying a hierarchic view of mankind, based on a decadent conception of history. This scientific research was continued by Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844) and Paul Broca (1824–1880).

In 1856, workers found in a limestone quarry the skull of a Neanderthal man, thinking it to be the remains of a bear. They gave the material to amateur naturalist Johann Karl Fuhlrott, who turned the fossils over to anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen. The discovery was jointly announced in 1857, giving rise to paleoanthropology.

Measurements were first made to compare the skulls of men with those of other animals. This wide comparison constituted the first subdivision of craniometric studies. The artist-anatomist Camper's developed a theory to measure the facial angle, for which he is chiefly known in later anthropological literature.

Camper's work followed 18th-century scientific theories. His measurements of facial angle were used to liken the skulls of non-Europeans to those of apes.

Selection of Primate skulls.

"Craniometry" also played a role in the foundation of the United States and the ideologies or racism that would become ingrained in the American psyche. As John Jeffries articulates in The Collision of Culture the Anglo-Saxon hegemony present in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth century helped establish "The American School of Craniometry" which helped establish the American and Western concept of race. As Jeffries points out the rigid establishment of race in eighteenth-century American society came from a new school of sciences which sought to distance Anglo-Saxons from the African American population. The distancing of the African population in American society through craniometry helped greatly in the efforts to scientifically prove they were inferior. The ideologies set forth by this new "American School" of thought were then used to justify maintaining an enslaved population to sustain the increasing number of slave plantations in the American South during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.[2]

In the 19th century the names of notable contributors to the literature of craniometry quickly increased in number. While it is impossible to analyse each contribution, or even record a complete list of the names of the authors, notable researchers who used craniometric methods to compare humans to other animals included Paul Broca (1824–1880), founder of the Anthropological Society in 1859 in France; and T. H. Huxley (1825–1895) of England.

By comparing skeletons of apes to man, Huxley backed up Charles Darwin's theory of evolution and developed the "Pithecometra principle", which stated that man and ape were descended from a common ancestor.

Ernst Haeckel (1834–1919) became famous for his now outdated "recapitulation theory", according to which each individual mirrored the evolution of the whole species during his life. Although outdated, his work contributed then to the examination of human life.

These researches on skulls and skeletons helped liberate 19th-century European science from its ethnocentric biases.[3] In particular, Eugène Dubois' (1858–1940) discovery in 1891 in Indonesia of the "Java Man", the first specimen of Homo erectus to be discovered, demonstrated mankind's deep ancestry outside Europe.

Cranial capacity, races and 19th–20th-century scientific ideas

Samuel George Morton (1799–1851), one of the inspirers of physical anthropology, collected hundreds of human skulls from all over the world and started trying to find a way to classify them according to some logical criterion. Influenced by the common theories of his time, he claimed that he could judge the intellectual capacity of a race by the cranial capacity (the measure of the volume of the interior of the skull).

After inspecting three mummies from ancient Egyptian catacombs, Morton concluded that Caucasians and other races were already distinct three thousand years ago. Since the Bible indicated that Noah's Ark had washed up on Mount Ararat, only a thousand years ago before this, Morton claimed that Noah's sons could not possibly account for every race on Earth. According to Morton's theory of polygenism, races have been separate since the start.[4]

Morton claimed that he could judge the intellectual capacity of a race by the skull size. A large skull meant a large brain and high intellectual capacity, and a small skull indicated a small brain and decreased intellectual capacity. Morton collected hundreds of human skulls from all over the world. By studying these skulls he claimed that each race had a separate origin. Morton had many skulls from ancient Egypt, and concluded that the ancient Egyptians were not African, but were White. His two major monographs were the Crania Americana (1839), An Inquiry into the Distinctive Characteristics of the Aboriginal Race of America and Crania Aegyptiaca (1844).

Based on craniometry data, Morton claimed in Crania Americana that the Caucasians had the biggest brains, averaging 87 cubic inches, Indians were in the middle with an average of 82 cubic inches and Negroes had the smallest brains with an average of 78 cubic inches.[4]

Stephen Jay Gould (1941–2002), an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and historian of science, studied these craniometric works in The Mismeasure of Man (1981) and claimed Samuel Morton had fudged data and "overpacked" the skulls with filler in order to justify his preconceived notions on racial differences. A subsequent study by the anthropologist John Michael found Morton's original data to be more accurate than Gould describes, concluding that "[c]ontrary to Gould's interpretation... Morton's research was conducted with integrity."[5]

In 2011, physical anthropologists at the University of Pennsylvania, which owns Morton's collection, published a study that concluded that almost every detail of Gould's analysis was wrong and that "Morton did not manipulate his data to support his preconceptions, contra Gould." They identified and remeasured half of the skulls used in Morton's reports, finding that in only 2% of cases did Morton's measurements differ significantly from their own and that these errors either were random or gave a larger than accurate volume to African skulls, the reverse of the bias that Gould imputed to Morton.[6]

Morton's followers, particularly Josiah C. Nott and George Gliddon in their monumental tribute to Morton's work, Types of Mankind (1854), carried Morton's ideas further and backed up his findings which supported the notion of polygenism.

Charles Darwin opposed Nott and Glidon in his 1871 The Descent of Man, arguing for a monogenism of the species. Darwin conceived the common origin of all humans (the single-origin hypothesis) as essential for evolutionary theory.

Furthermore, Josiah Nott was the translator of Arthur de Gobineau's An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races (1853–1855), which is one of the founding works of the group of studies that segregates society based on "race", in contrast to Boulainvilliers' (1658–1722) theory of races. Henri de Boulainvilliers opposed the Français (French people), alleged descendants of the Nordic Franks, and members of the aristocracy, to the Third Estate, considered to be indigenous Gallo-Roman people who were subordinated by the Franks by right of conquest.[clarification needed] Gobineau, meanwhile, made three main divisions between races, based not on colour but on climatic conditions and geographic location, and which privileged the "Aryan" race.

In 1873, Paul Broca (1824–1880) found the same pattern described by Samuel Morton's Crania Americana by weighing brains at autopsy. Other historical studies alleging a Black-White difference in brain size include Bean (1906), Mall, (1909), Pearl, (1934) and Vint (1934).

William Z. Ripley's map of the "cephalic index" in Europe, from The Races of Europe (1899).

Furthermore, Georges Vacher de Lapouge's racial classification ("Teutonic", "Alpine" and "Mediterranean") was re-used by William Z. Ripley (1867–1941) in The Races of Europe (1899), who even made a map of Europe according to the alleged cephalic index of its inhabitants.

In Germany, Rudolf Virchow launched a study of craniometry, which gave surprising results according to contemporary theories on the "Aryan race", leading Virchow to denounce the "Nordic mysticism" in the 1885 Anthropology Congress in Karlsruhe.

Josef Kollmann, a collaborator of Virchow, stated in the same congress that the people of Europe, be them German, Italian, English or French, belonged to a "mixture of various races," furthermore declaring that the "results of craniology" led to "struggle against any theory concerning the superiority of this or that European race" on others.[7]

Virchow later rejected measure of skulls as legitimate means of taxinomy. Paul Kretschmer quoted an 1892 discussion with him concerning these criticisms, also citing Aurel von Törok's 1895 work, who basically proclaimed the failure of craniometry.[7]

Craniometry, phrenology and physiognomy

Further information: Phrenology, Physiognomy, and Anthropological criminology

Craniometry was also used in phrenology, which purported to determine character, personality traits, and criminality on the basis of the shape of the head and thus of the skull. At the turn of the 19th century, Franz Joseph Gall (1758–1822) developed "cranioscopy" (Ancient Greek kranion: skull, scopos: vision), a method to determine the personality and development of mental and moral faculties on the basis of the external shape of the skull.

Cranioscopy was later renamed to phrenology (phrenos: mind, logos: study) by his student Johann Spurzheim (1776–1832), who wrote extensively on the "Drs. Gall and Spurzheim's physiognomical System." Physiognomy claimed a correlation between physical features (especially facial features) and character traits.

It was made famous by Cesare Lombroso (1835–1909), the founder of anthropological criminology, who claimed to be able to scientifically identify links between the nature of a crime and the personality or physical appearance of the offender. The originator of the concept of a "born criminal" and arguing in favor of biological determinism, Lombroso tried to recognize criminals by measurements of their bodies.

He concluded that skull and facial features were clues to genetic criminality, and that these features could be measured with craniometers and calipers with the results developed into quantitative research. A few of the 14 identified traits of a criminal included large jaws, forward projection of jaw, low sloping forehead; high cheekbones, flattened or upturned nose; handle-shaped ears; hawk-like noses or fleshy lips; hard shifty eyes; scanty beard or baldness; insensitivity to pain; long arms, and so on.

Criticisms and revival of past cranial theories in the 20th century

An 1839 drawing by Samuel George Morton of "a Negro head… a Caucasian skull… a Mongol head."
The first of these figures represents a Negro head, elongated, and narrow in front, with expanded zygomatic arches, projecting cheek bones, and protruded upper jaw. The second is a Caucasian skull, in which those parts are nearly concealed in the more symmetrical outline of the whole head, and especially by the full development of the frontal region. The third figure is taken from a Mongol head, in which the orbits and cheek bones are exposed, as in the Negro, and the zygomae arched and expanded; but the forehead is much broader, the face more retracted, and the whole cranium larger. Having been at much pains to give the norma verticalis of the skulls figured in this work, the reader will have ample opportunity to compare for himself. He will see that the American head approaches nearest to the Mongol, yet is not so long, is narrower in front, with a more prominent face and much more contracted zygomae.

After being a main influence of US white nationalists, William Ripley's The Races of Europe (1899) was eventually rewritten in 1939, just before World War II, by Harvard physical anthropologist Carleton S. Coon.

J. Philippe Rushton, psychologist and author of the controversial work Race, Evolution and Behavior (1995), reanalyzed Gould's retabulation in 1989, and argued that Samuel Morton, in his 1839 book Crania Americana, had shown a pattern of decreasing brain size proceeding from East Asians, Europeans, and Africans.

In his 1995 book Race, Evolution, and Behavior, Rushton alleged an average endocranial volume of 1,364 cm3 for East Asians, 1,347 for white caucasians and 1,268 for black Africans. Other similar claims were previously made by Ho et al. (1980), who measured 1,261 brains at autopsy, and Beals et al. (1984), who measured approximately 20,000 skulls, finding the same East Asian → European → African pattern. However, in the same article Beals explicitly warns against using the findings as indicative of racial traits, "If one merely lists such means by geographical region or race, causes of similarity by genogroup and ecotype are hopelessly confounded".[8] Rushton's findings have also been criticized for questionable methodology. Such as lumping in African-Americans with equatorial Africans, as people from hot climates generally have slightly smaller crania.[9] Rushton also compared equatorial Africans from the poorest and least educated areas of Africa against Asians from the wealthiest and most educated areas of Asia and areas with colder climates which generally induce larger cranium sizes in evolution.[9] According to Zack Cernovsky, from one of Rushton's own study emerges that the average cranial capacity for North American blacks is similar to the average for Caucasians from comparable climatic zones.[9][10] Per Cernovsky, people from different climates tend to have minor differences in brain size, which do not necessarily imply differences in intelligence. Though women tend to have smaller brains than men they also have more neural complexity and loading in certain areas of the brain than men.[11][12]

Modern use

More direct measurements involve examinations of brains from corpses, or more recently, imaging techniques such as MRI, which can be used on living persons. Such measurements are used research on neuroscience and intelligence.

Brain volume data and other craniometric data are used in mainstream science to compare modern-day animal species, and to analyze the evolution of the human species in archaeology.

Measurements of the skull based on specific anatomical reference points are used in both forensic facial reconstruction and portrait sculpture.

See also

• Anthropometry
• Cranial vault
• Craniofacial anthropometry
• Forensic anthropology
• Neuroscience and intelligence
• Samuel George Morton
• Theodor Kocher, inventor of the craniometer[13]
• Typology (anthropology)


1. See Pierre-André Taguieff, La couleur et le sang – Doctrines racistes à la française ("Colour and Blood – doctrines à la française"), Paris, Mille et une nuits, 2002, 203 pages, and La Force du préjugé – Essai sur le racisme et ses doubles, Tel Gallimard, La Découverte, 1987, 644 pages
2. Wallace, Michele (1992). Black Popular Culture. Seattle: Bay Press. pp. 156–157. ISBN 978-1-56584-459-9.
3. "Cultural Biases Reflected in the Hominid Fossil Record" (history), by Joshua Barbach and Craig Byron, 2005, webpage: ArchaeologyInfo-003.
4. David Hurst Thomas, Skull Wars Kennewick Man, Archaeology, And The Battle For Native American Identity, 2001, pp. 38 – 41
5. Michael, J. S. (1988). "A New Look at Morton's Craniological Research". Current Anthropology. 29 (2): 349–354. doi:10.1086/203646.
6. Lewis, Jason E.; DeGusta, D.; Meyer, M.R.; Monge, J.M.; Mann, A.E.; et al. (2011). "The Mismeasure of Science: Stephen Jay Gould versus Samuel George Morton on Skulls and Bias". PLOS Biol. 9 (6): e1001071. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001071. PMC 3110184. PMID 21666803.
7. Andrea Orsucci, "Ariani, indogermani, stirpi mediterranee: aspetti del dibattito sulle razze europee (1870–1914)Archived 18 December 2012 at, Cromohs, 1998 (in Italian)
8. Beals, Kenneth L.; et al. (1984). "Brain Size, Cranial Morphology, Climate, and Time Machines". Current Anthropology. 25 (3): 306. doi:10.1086/203138. JSTOR 2742800.
9. Cernovsky, Z. Z. (1997)A critical look at intelligence research, In Fox, D. & Prilleltensky, I. (Eds.) Critical Psychology, London: Sage, ps 121–133.
10. Rushton, J. P. (1990). "Race, Brain Size, and Intelligence: A Rejoinder to Cain and Vanderwolf". Personality and Individual Differences. 11 (8): 785–794. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(90)90186-u.
11. Insider – The Female Brain, By Ivory E. Welcome, MBA Candidate December 2009
12. Cosgrove, KP; Mazure, CM; Staley, JK (October 2007). "Evolving knowledge of sex differences in brain structure, function, and chemistry". Biol. Psychiatry. 62 (8): 847–55. doi:10.1016/j.biopsych.2007.03.001. PMC 2711771. PMID 17544382.
13. Schültke, Elisabeth (May 2009). "Theodor Kocher's craniometer". Neurosurgery. United States. 64 (5): 1001–4, discussion 1004–5. doi:10.1227/01.NEU.0000344003.72056.7F. PMID 19404160.


• This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Duckworth, Wynfrid Laurence Henry (1911). "Craniometry". In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica. 7 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 372–374.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

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by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/15/21

The Mahāvastu (Sanskrit for "Great Event" or "Great Story") is a text of the Lokottaravāda school of Early Buddhism.[1]

The Lokottaravāda (Sanskrit, लोकोत्तरवाद; traditional Chinese: 說出世部; ; pinyin: Shuō Chūshì Bù) was one of the early Buddhist schools according to Mahayana doxological sources compiled by Bhāviveka, Vinitadeva and others, and was a subgroup which emerged from the Mahāsāṃghika.

The Lokottaravāda held there were innumerable pure lands of buddhas and bodhisattvas.

The name Lokottaravāda means those who follow the supramundane (Skt. lokottara), or transcendent, teachings. Despite bearing this name, all sub-sects of the Mahāsāṃghikas seem to have accepted forms of supramundane or transcendent teachings...

According to the Samayabhedoparacanacakra, these four groups held that the Buddha is able to know all dharmas in a single moment of the mind.

"In their view, the Buddha is equipped with the following supernatural qualities: transcendence (lokottara), lack of defilements, all of his utterances preaching his teaching, expounding all his teachings in a single utterance, all of his sayings being true, his physical body being limitless, his power (prabhāva) being limitless, the length of his life being limitless, never tiring of enlightening sentient beings and awakening pure faith in them, having no sleep or dreams, no pause in answering a question, and always in meditation (samādhi)."

The Buddha is viewed as transcendent (Skt. lokottara) and his life and physical manifestation are mere appearance. The Lokottaravāda school upheld the Mahāsāṃghika view of the supramundane nature of the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and the imperfection and fallibility of arhats.

-- Lokottaravāda, by Wikipedia

It describes itself as being a historical preface to the Buddhist monastic codes (vinaya).[2] Over half of the text is composed of Jātaka and Avadāna tales, accounts of the earlier lives of the Buddha and other bodhisattvas.[3]

The Mahāvastu contains prose and verse written in mixed Sanskrit, Pali and Prakrit.[4] It is believed to have been compiled between the 2nd century BCE and 4th century CE.[3][5][6]

Pali Canon parallels

The Mahāvastu's Jātaka tales are similar to those of the Pali Canon although significant differences exist in terms of the tales' details. Other parts of the Mahāvastu have more direct parallels in the Pali Canon including from the Digha Nikaya (DN 19, Mahāgovinda Sutta), the Majjhima Nikaya (MN 26, Ariyapariyesana Sutta; and, MN 36, Mahasaccaka Sutta), the Khuddakapātha, the Dhammapada (ch. 8, Sahassa Vagga; and, ch. 25, Bhikkhu Vagga), the Sutta Nipata (Sn 1.3, Khaggavisāṇa Sutta; Sn 3.1, Pabbajjā Sutta; and, Sn 3.2, Padhāna Sutta), the Vimanavatthu and the Buddhavaṃsa.[7]

Mahayana themes

The Mahāvastu is considered a primary source for the notion of a transcendent (lokottara) Buddha, common to all Mahāsāṃghika schools. According to the Mahāvastu, over the course of many lives, the once-human-born Buddha developed supramundane abilities including: a painless birth conceived without intercourse; no need for sleep, food, medicine or bathing although engaging in such "in conformity with the world"; omniscience; and, the ability to "suppress karma."[8]

In Buddhism the idea of superman completely replaces the idea of the Deity; because Buddha is not God, he is only a superman.

-- A New Model of the Universe, by Pyotr Ouspenskii

English translations

• Jones, J.J. (trans.) (1949–56). The Mahāvastu (3 vols.) in Sacred Books of the Buddhists. London: Luzac & Co. vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3


1. Keown 2013, p. 117.
2. Tournier 2012, pp. 89–90.
3. Jump up to:a b The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica 1998.
4. Jones (1949), pp. x–xi.
5. "Mahāvastu" (2008).
6. Jones (1949), p. xi, writes: ""... the Mahāvastu is not the composition of a single author written in a well-defined period of time. Rather, it is a compilation which may have been begun in the second century B.C., but which was not completed until the third or fourth century A.D."
7. Regarding the Dhammapada parallels, see Ānandajoti (2007), "Introduction," where Ānandajoti writes:
Of the incomplete parallels, two chapters from yet another Dharmapada have been preserved in the Mahāvastu, one of the earliest of the Sanskritised Prakrit texts; one of the chapters is named as the Sahasravarga, and appears to be the whole of the chapter; the other is a selection that comes from an unnamed Bhikṣuvarga.
From "Ancient Buddhist Texts". See also; ch. 8, "Sahassavagga", and ch. 25, "Bhikkhuvagga"
8. Williams 2007, pp. 18–19.


• Jones, J.J. (trans.) (1949–56). The Mahāvastu (3 vols.) in Sacred Books of the Buddhists. London: Luzac & Co. volume1 volume 2 volume 3
• Keown, Damien (2013), The Encyclopedia of Buddhism, Routledge, ISBN 9781136985881
• The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (1998), Mahāvastu, Encyclopædia Britannica
• Ānandajoti Bhikkhu (2007). A Comparative Edition of the Dhammapada. U. of Peradeniya. Retrieved 25 Nov 2008 from "Ancient Buddhist Texts"
• J.K. Nariman (1923), Literary History of Sanskrit Buddhism, Bombay: Indian Book Depot; pp. 11–18
• Tournier, Vincent (2012), "The Mahāvastu and the Vinayapiṭaka of the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādins" (PDF), Annual Report of The International Research Institute for Advanced Buddhology at Soka University (ARIRIAB) (15)
• Williams, Paul (2007), Mahāyāna Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations, London: Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-02537-9

External links

• J. J. Jones (1949). The Mahavastu (English translation), including footnotes and glossary
• A Note on the Mahāvastu by Dr. A. B. Keith, D.C.L., D.Litt.
• A Summary of the Mahāvastu by B.C. Law
• Gangodawila, Chandima. "An Annotated Translation Into English Of Ratnamālāvadāna With A Critical Introduction". Retrieved 21 February 2021.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Tue Mar 16, 2021 4:28 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/14/21

For the title for the divider of Vedas, see Vyasa (title). For the crater on Mercury, see Vyasa (crater). For the Brahmin community often pronounced as Vyas, see Bias Brahmin. For other uses, see Vyasa (disambiguation).

A painting of Vyasa sitting on a throne.
Born: Krishna Dvaipayana
Religion: Hinduism
Spouse: Vatikā[a]
Children: Shuka (son); Dhritarashtra, Pandu and Vidura (Niyoga sons)
Parents: Parashara (father); Satyavati (mother)
Notable work(s): Mahabharata; Bhagavata Gita
Known for Compilation of the four Vedas; Mahabharata
Religious career
Disciples: Shuka, Paila, Jaimini, Vaishampayana, Sumantu
Honours Festival of Guru Purnima, is dedicated to him, and also known as the Vyasa Purnima

Krishna Dvaipāyana, also known as Vyasa (/ˈvjɑːsə/; Sanskrit: व्यासः, romanized: Vyāsa, lit. 'Compiler') and Veda Vyāsa (वेदव्यासः, Veda-vyāsaḥ, "the one who classified the Vedas"), is a rishi (sage). He is best known as the traditional author of the Mahabharata, one of the two most important epics of India. He is also credited as the traditional compiler of the Vedas, as well as the writer of other important works including the Puranas.

As per the Mahabharata, Vyasa is the son of rishi Parashara and a fisherwoman named Kali (Satyavati), who later marries king Shantanu of Kuru. Throughout the epic, Vyasa appears occasionally helping the Kuru kingdom. His spiritual career includes compiling many texts and spreading the knowledge through his disciples.

The festival of Guru Purnima is dedicated to him. It is also known as Vyasa Purnima, the day believed to be both of his birth and when he divided the Vedas.[3][4] Vyasa is considered one of the seven Chiranjivis (long-lived, or immortals), who are still in existence according to Hindu tradition.

Spiritual life and disciples

Vyasa is believed to be an expansion of the God Vishnu, who came in Dvapara Yuga to make all the Vedic knowledge from oral tradition available in written form. According to the Mahabharata, he was the son of Satyavati, daughter of a fisherman chief and the wandering sage Parashara, who is credited with being the author of the first Purana, Vishnu Purana.[5] He was born on an island in the river Yamuna and was named Krishna Dvaipayana because of his dark complexion and birthplace.[6] It is believed that the name "Veda Vyasa" (lit "compiler of the Vedas") is a title rather than an actual name. Dvaipayana was given the title as he mastered the one combined Vedic scripture and divided it into four parts — Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.[7][8]

Vyasa had a son named name Shuka, who was his spiritual successor and heir.[ b] As per Skanda Purana, Vyasa married Vatikā, alias Pinjalā, who was the daughter of a sage named Jābāli. It is described that Vyasa's union with her produced his heir, who repeated everything that he heard, thus receiving the name Shuka (lit. Parrot).[1][2][9] Other texts including the Devi Bhagavata Purana also narrate the birth of Shuka but with drastic differences. Vyasa was desiring an heir, when an apsara (celestial damsel) named Ghritachi flew in front of him in form of a beautiful parrot, causing him sexual arousal. He discharges his semen, which fell on some sticks and a son developed. This time, he was named Shuka because of the role of the celestial parrot.[7] Shuka appears occasionally in the story as a spiritual guide to the young Kuru princes.

Besides his heir, Vyasa had four other disciples — Paila, Jaimini, Vaishampayana and Sumantu.[8] Each one of them was given the responsibility to spread one of the four Vedas. Paila was the made the incharge of Rigveda, Jaimini of the Samaveda, Vaishampayana of the Yajurveda and Sumantu of Atharvaveda.[10]

Vyasa is believed to have lived on the banks of Ganga in modern-day Uttarakhand. The site was also the ritual home of the sage Vashishta, along with the Pandavas, the five brothers of the Mahabharata.[11]

In the Mahabharata


During her youth, Satyavati was a fisherwoman who used to drive a boat. One day, she helped Parashara to cross the river Yamuna. He was enchanted by her beauty and wanted an heir from her. Initially, Satyavati did not agree, telling that if others would see them, then her purity would be questioned. Parashara created a secret place in bushes of a nearby island and a blanket of thick fog. She conceived and immediately gave birth to a son. Parashara named him Krishna Dvaipayana, referring to his dark complexion and birthplace.[12] Dvaipayana became an adult and promised his mother that he would come to her when needed. Parashara restored Satyavati's virginity, gifted her an enchanting smell and left with his son. Satyavati kept this incident a secret, not telling even King Shantanu whom she was married to later.[7]

Niyoga and birth of Vichitravirya's sons

Vyasa with his mother (Satyavati)

Shantanu and Satyavati had two sons, named Chitrāngada and Vichitravirya. Both of them died early without leaving an heir, but Vichitravirya had two wives — Ambika and Ambalika. A widowed Satyavati initially asked her stepson, Bhishma, to marry both the queens, but he refused, citing his vow of celibacy. Satyavati revealed her secret past and requested him to bring her firstborn to impregnate the widows under a tradition called Niyoga.[13] By this time, Vyasa had compiled the Vedas.

Sage Vyasa was unkempt because of months of meditation in the forest. Hence upon seeing him, Ambika who was rather scared shut her eyes, resulting in their child, Dhritarashtra, being born blind. The other queen, Ambalika, turned pale upon meeting Vyasa, which resulted in their child, Pandu, being born pale. Alarmed, Satyavati requested that Vyasa meet Ambika again and grant her another son. Ambika instead sent her maid to meet Vyasa. The duty-bound maid was calm and composed; she had a healthy child who was later named Vidura.

Connection with the Pandavas and Kauravas

Gandhari serving Vyasa

When the children of 'Vichitravirya' grew up. Bhishma got them married to different women. Dhritarashtra was married to Gandhari, princess of Gandhara. Pandu married Kunti and Madri. Pandu left the kingdom, leaving Dhritarashtra as the acting king. Gandhari, during her adolescence, received a boon to have a hundred children but her pregnancy was taking a long period of time. After two years of pregnancy, Gandhari aborted her developing fetus, giving birth to a hard mass that looked like an iron ball. Vyasa came to the kingdom and using his knowledge, he asked to divide the mass into one hundred and one-pieces and put them into pots for incubation. After a year, 101 babies were born. Meanwhile, Kunti was blessed with two sons and later three more children were born upon Pandu's requests.

While everybody was rejoiced by the news of the birth of the Pandavas and Kauravas, misery took place in the forest. Pandu, who was cursed, died because of his attempt to make love with Madri. Kunti and the Pandavas returned to Hastinapur. Vyasa, feeling sorrow for his mother's fate, asked her to leave the kingdom and come with him to live a peaceful life. Satyavati, along with her two daughters-in-law, went to the forest.

The title "Vyasa"

Main article: Vyasa (title)

Hindus traditionally hold that Vyasa categorized the primordial single Veda into three canonical collections and that the fourth one, known as Atharvaveda, was recognized as Veda only very much later. Hence he was called Veda Vyasa, or "Splitter of the Vedas," the splitting being a feat that allowed people to understand the divine knowledge of the Veda. The word Vyasa means split, differentiate or describe.

The Vishnu Purana elaborates on the role of Vyasa in Hindu chronology.[14] The Hindu view of the universe is that of a cyclic phenomenon that comes into existence and dissolves repeatedly. Each kalpa cycle is presided over by a number of Manus, one for each manvantara, and each manvantara has a number of Yuga Cycles, each with four yuga ages of declining virtues. The Dvapara Yuga is the third yuga. The Vishnu Purana (Book 3, Ch 3) says:

In every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the good of mankind, divides the Veda, which is properly but one, into many portions. Observing the limited perseverance, energy and application of mortals, he makes the Veda fourfold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-Vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the present Manvantara and the branches which they have taught, you shall have an account. Twenty-eight times have the Vedas been arranged by the great Rishis in the Vaivasvata Manvantara... and consequently, eight and twenty Vyasa's have passed away; by whom, in the respective periods, the Veda has been divided into four. The first... distribution was made by Svayambhu (Brahma) himself; in the second, the arranger of the Veda (Vyasa) was Prajapati... (and so on up to twenty-eight).[15]

According to the Vishnu Purana, Guru Drona's son Aswatthama will become the next sage (Vyasa) and will divide the Veda in 29th Maha Yuga of 7th Manvantara.[16]


The Mahabharata

Main article: Mahabharata

Ganesha writing the Mahabharat

Vyasa narrating the Mahabharata to Ganesha, his scribe, Angkor Wat.

Vyasa is traditionally known as the chronicler of this epic and also features as an important character in Mahābhārata, Vyasa asks Ganesha to assist him in writing the text. Ganesha imposes a precondition that he would do so only if Vyasa would narrate the story without a pause. Vyasa set a counter-condition that Ganesha understands the verses first before transcribing them. Thus Vyasa narrated the entire Mahābhārata and all the Upanishads and the 18 Puranas, while Lord Ganesha wrote.

Vyasa's Jaya (literally, "victory"), the core of the Mahabharata, is a dialogue between Dhritarashtra (the Kuru king and the father of the Kauravas, who opposed the Pāndavas in the Kurukshetra War) and Sanjaya, his adviser and charioteer. Sanjaya narrates the particulars of the Kurukshetra War, fought in eighteen days, chronologically. Dhritarashtra at times asks questions and expresses doubts, sometimes lamenting, fearing the destruction the war would bring on his family, friends and kin.

Large and elaborate lists are given, describing hundreds of kingdoms, tribes, provinces, cities, towns, villages, rivers, mountains, forests, etc. of the (ancient) Indian subcontinent (Bhārata Varsha). Additionally, he gives descriptions of the military formations adopted by each side on each day, the death of individual heroes and the details of the war-races. Eighteen chapters of Vyasa's Jaya constitute the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred text in Hinduism. The Jaya deals with diverse subjects, such as geography, history, warfare, religion and morality.

The final version of Vyasa's work is the Mahābhārata. It is structured as a narration by Ugrasrava Sauti, a professional storyteller, to an assembly of rishis who, in the forest of Naimisha, had just attended the 12-year sacrifice known as Saunaka, also known as Kulapati.

Other texts attributed

Narada meets Vyasa


Main article: Puranas

Vyasa is also credited with the writing of the eighteen major Purāṇas, which are works of Indian literature that cover an encyclopedic range of topics covering various scriptures. His son Shuka narrates the Bhagavata Purana to Arjuna's grandson Parikshit.

Yoga Bhashya

The Yoga Bhashya, a commentary on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, is attributed to Vyasa.[17]

Brahma Sutras

Main article: Brahma Sutras

The Brahma Sutras are attributed to Badarayana — which makes him the proponent of the crest-jewel school of Hindu philosophy, i.e., Vedanta. Vaishnava Acharyas acknowledge that Badarayana is indeed Vyasa and he is known as Badarayana as he had his ashram in Badari kshetram. Others believe the name to be because the island on which Vyasa was born is said to have been covered with badara (Indian jujube/Ber/Ziziphus mauritiana) trees.[18] Some modern historians,[who?] though, suggest that these were two different personalities.

There may have been more than one Vyasa, or the name Vyasa may have been used at times to give credibility to a number of ancient texts.[19] Much ancient Indian literature was a result of long oral tradition with wide cultural significance rather than the result of a single author. However, Vyasa is credited with documenting, compiling, categorizing and writing commentaries on much of this literature.

In Sikhism

In Brahm Avtar, one of the compositions in Dasam Granth, the Second Scripture of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh mentions Rishi Vyas as an avatar of Brahma.[20] He is considered the fifth incarnation of Brahma. Guru Gobind Singh wrote a brief account of Rishi Vyas's compositions about great kings— Manu, Prithu, Bharath, Jujat, Ben, Mandata, Dilip, Raghu Raj and Aj[20][21]— and attributed to him the store of Vedic learning.[22]


Vyasa is widely revered in Hindu traditions. A grand temple in honour of Sri Veda Vyasa has been built in Orai, Uttar Pradesh. The temple is known as Shri Bal Vyas Mandir. Shrimad Sudhindra Teerth Swamiji, the erstwhile spiritual guru of Sri Kashi Math Samsthan, Varanasi, had the vision to construct this temple in 1998. The temple is managed by the Chitrapur Sarasawath Brahmin (CSB) community who belongs to the said Sri Kashi Math Samsthan. This beautiful temple has now also become a popular tourist destination.

See also

• Hinduism portal
• Poetry portal
• Purana
• Parashara
• Guru Gita
• Gnana Saraswati Temple, Basar
• Vedic mythology


1. Dalal, Roshen (6 January 2019). The 108 Upanishads: An Introduction. Penguin Random House India Private Limited. ISBN 978-93-5305-377-2.
2. Pattanaik, Devdutt (1 September 2000). The Goddess in India: The Five Faces of the Eternal Feminine. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-59477-537-6.
3. Awakening Indians to India. Chinmaya Mission. 2008. p. 167. ISBN 978-81-7597-434-0.
4. What Is Hinduism?: Modern Adventures Into a Profound Global Faith. Himalayan Academy Publications. 2007. p. 230. ISBN 978-1-934145-00-5.
5. "Rishi Ved Vyas – Trikal Darshi Rajender Bhargav". Retrieved 14 September 2019.
6. Essays on the Mahābhārata, Arvind Sharma, Motilal Banarsidass Publisher, p. 205
7. Mani, Vettam (1975). Puranic Encyclopaedia: A Comprehensive Dictionary With Special Reference to the Epic and Puranic Literature. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 885 (Vyāsa). ISBN 0-8426-0822-2.
8. Sullivan, Bruce M. (1999). Seer of the Fifth Veda: Kr̥ṣṇa Dvaipāyana Vyāsa in the Mahābhārata. Motilal Banarsidass Publ. ISBN 978-81-208-1676-3.
9. Skanda Purāṇa, Nāgara Khanda, ch. 147
10. Shastri, J. L.; Tagare, Ganesh Vasudeo (1 January 2004). Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology Volume 7: The Bhagavata-Purana Part 1. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-3874-1.
11. Strauss, Sarah (2002). "The Master's Narrative: Swami Sivananda and the Transnational Production of Yoga". Journal of Folklore Research. Indiana University Press. 23 (2/3): 221. JSTOR 3814692.
12. Monier-Williams, Sir Monier (1875). Indian Wisdom, Or, Examples of the Religious, Philosophical, and Ethical Doctrines of the Hindūs: With a Brief History of the Chief Departments of Sanskṛit Literature, and Some Account of the Past and Present Condition of India, Moral and Intellectual. Wm. H. Allen & Company.
13. Bhawalkar, Vanamala (2002). Eminent women in the Mahābhārata. Sharada.
14. Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Puranas, Volume 1 (2001), page 1408
15. "Vishnu Purana". Retrieved 15 March 2014.
16. Vishnu Purana -Drauni or Asvathama as Next Vyasa Retrieved 2015-03-22
17. Ian Whicher. The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A Reconsideration of Classical Yoga. SUNY Press. p. 320.
18. Gopal, Madan (1990). K.S. Gautam (ed.). India through the ages. Publication Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India. p. 74.
19. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Edwin F. Bryant 2009 page xl
20. Dasam Granth, Dr. SS Kapoor
21. Line 8, Brahma Avtar, Dasam Granth
22. Line 107, Vyas Avtar, Dasam Granth


1. Though the Mahabharata doesn't record Vyasa's wife, other text including the Skanda Purana refer sage Jabali's daughter Vatikā or Pinjalā as his wife[1][2]
2. Later, Vyasa became the surrogate father of Kuru princes — Pandu and Dhritrashtra


• The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, translated by Kisari Mohan Ganguli, published between 1883 and 1896
• The Arthashastra, translated by Shamasastry, 1915
• The Vishnu-Purana, translated by H. H. Wilson, 1840
• The Bhagavata-Purana, translated by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, 1988 copyright Bhaktivedanta Book Trust
• The Jataka or Stories of the Buddha's Former Births, edited by E. B. Cowell, 1895

External links

• Quotations related to Vyasa at Wikiquote
• Media related to Vyasa at Wikimedia Commons
• Works written by or about Vyasa at Wikisource
• The Mahābhārata – Ganguli translation, full text at
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:39 am

Parijaat tree, Kintoor
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/16/21

For the species of flowering tree, see Parijat.

Parijat tree at Kintoor, Barabanki

Parijat tree at Kintoor, Barabanki

Parijat tree at Kintoor, Barabanki

The Parijaat tree is a sacred baobab tree in the village of Kintoor, near Barabanki, Uttar Pradesh, India, about which there are several legends.[1][2]

It is a protected tree situated in Barabanki district of Uttar Pradesh, India. By the order of local district magistrate, any kind of damage to the tree is strictly prohibited. The tree is known as baobab in modern science which is originated in Sub-sahara Africa and hence its presence in the fertile land of India makes it rare. Also the age of the tree is still not determined, which makes it quite possible that the tree may have been planted by someone who used to travel between India and Africa. The tree needs international attention of scientists to find out more about it. The tree is also known as 'the tree from paradise' due to its mythological significance.

Ancient facts

Kintur, about 38 kilometres (24 mi) east of the district headquarters, Barabanki, was named after Kunti, mother of the Pandavas. There are a number ancient temples and their remains around this place. Near a temple established by Kunti, is a special tree called Parijaat which is said to grow from Kunti's ashes.[3] The radiocarbon date in 2019 of the oldest samples was 793±37 BP for the baobab of Kintoor. The corresponding calibrated age is 775±25 calendar years.[4]

There are a number of legends about this tree which have popular acceptance. One being that Arjun brought this tree from heavens and Kunti used to offer and crown Lord Shiva with its flowers. Another saying being, that Lord Krishna brought this tree for his beloved queen Satyabhama or Rukmini.[5] Historically, though these saying may have some bearing or not, but it is true that this tree is from a very ancient background.[6]

According to the Harivansh Puraan the Parijaat Tree is a Kalpavriksha, or wish bearing tree, which, apart from this tree, is only found in heaven.[2] Newly-weds visit the tree for blessings, and every Tuesday a fair is held where local people worship the tree. In Sikhism's Sukhmani Sahib the tree is mentioned "PaarJaat Eh Har Ko Naam The name of Lord is the mythological tree"[7]


• Trees portal
2. Wickens, Gerald E.; Pat Lowe (2008). The Baobabs: Pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. Springer Science+Business Media. p. 61. ISBN 978-1-4020-6430-2.
3. Kameshwar, G. (2006). Bend in the Sarayu: a soota chronicle. Rupa & Co. p. 159. ISBN 978-81-291-0942-2.
4. Patrut A, Garg A, Woodborne S, Patrut RT, Rakosy L, Ratiu IA, et al. (2020). "Radiocarbon dating of two old African baobabs from India". PLOS One. 15 (1): e0227352. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0227352.
5. "Experts to save ancient Parijat tree". The Times of India. 26 October 2010. Retrieved 26 October 2010.
6. Uttar Pradesh District Gazetteers: Bara Banki. Government of Uttar Pradesh. 1993. p. 21. OCLC 7625267.
7. "Tree From Paradise". Indiatimes. Archived from the original on 6 March 2005. Retrieved 27 November 2009.

External links

• Parijata tree in Vedic scriptures
• Parijat Tree in Hindi, Parijat Tree History and Parijat Tree Benefits. (Parijat Tree Significance)
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:49 am

Kondanna Buddha
by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/16/21

Kauṇḍinya Buddha
Sanskrit: Kauṇḍinya
Pāli: Koṇḍañña
Burmese: ကောဏ္ဍညဘုရား
Chinese: 智调佛 (Pinyin: Zhìdiào Fó); 憍陳如佛 (Pinyin: Jiāochénrú Fó)
Korean: 교진여불 (RR: Gyojinyeo Bul)
Sinhala: කොණ්ඩඤ්ඤ බුදුන් වහන්සේ
Thai: พระโกณฑัญญพุทธเจ้า Phra Konthanya Phutthachao
Vietnamese: Kiều Trần Như Phật

Preceded by: Dīpankara Buddha
Succeeded by: Maṃgala Buddha

Kaundinya or Koṇḍañña was born in Rammavati. His father was King Sunanda and his mother Sujata. He belonged to the Kondannagotta, and was twenty eight cubits tall [18" x 28 = 42 feet]. For ten thousand years he lived as a layman in Ruci, Suruci and Subha. His wife was Rudidevi and his son Vijitasena.

He left home and performed austerities for ten months until he was given milk rice by Yasodhara, daughter of the merchant Saundana. He was given grass for his seat by Ajivaka Sundana. His Tree of Enlightenment was a Salakalyani tree, and his first sermon was to ten choirs of monks in the Devavana near Amaravati. He had three assemblies of his disciples, the first led by Subhadda, then by Vijitasena, and finally Udena.

He died aged one hundred thousand years at Canarama, where a Stupa seven leagues tall [1.5 miles x 7 = 10.5 miles = 55,440 feet] was constructed over his relics. In the Buddhavamsa commentary it is said that Koṇḍañña Buddha's relics were not dispersed but kept in a single mass.[1]

His chief disciples were Bhadda and Subhadda among the monks and Tissa and Upatissa among the nuns, with Anurudda his attendant. His chief patrons were Sona and Upasona among the laymen and Nanda and Sirima among the laywomen. He was King Vijitavi and of Candavati.[2]


1. John S. Strong (2007). Relics of the Buddha. p. 45. ISBN 978-0691117645.
2. G.P. Malalasekera (15 August 2004). Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, Volume 1. p. 683. ISBN 0691117640.
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Re: Freda Bedi Cont'd (#3)

Postby admin » Wed Mar 17, 2021 5:01 am

by Wikipedia
Accessed: 3/16/21

Anathapindika covers Jetavana with coins (Bharhut, Brahmi text: jetavana ananthapindiko deti kotisanthatena keta
Title: Chief Male Patron
Other names: Sudatta
Religion: Buddhism
Nationality: Kosala
Spouse: Puññalakkhanā
Children: Kāla, Mahā-Subhaddā, Cūla-Subhaddā and Sumanā
Other names: Sudatta
Profession: Merchant, banker
Senior posting
Teacher: Gautama Buddha
Profession: Merchant, banker

Anathapindika (Pali: Anāthapiṇḍika; Sanskrit: Anāthapiṇḍada);[1] born Sudatta, was a wealthy merchant and banker, believed to have been the wealthiest merchant in Savatthi in the time of Gautama Buddha. He is considered to have been the chief male patron of the Buddha. Anathapindika founded the Jetavana Monastery in Savatthi, considered one of the two most important temples in the time of the historic Buddha, the other being Migāramātupāsāda.

Anathapindika was born into a wealthy merchant family in Savatthi with the birth name Sudatta, and was a relative of Subhūti, one of the Buddha's principal disciples. He received the nickname Anathapindika, literally "one who gives alms (piṇḍa) to the unprotected (anātha)", due to his reputation of loving to give to those in need. Anathapindika met the Buddha while on a business trip in Rājagaha after being told about him by his brother-in-law. He reached sotapanna, a stage of enlightenment, after listening to the Buddha preach. Following the encounter, Anathapindika became a devoted lay follower and purchased land to build the Jetavana Monastery from the prince of Kosala by covering the park grounds with coins. After building Jetavana Monastery, Anathapindika continued to generously support the Buddha and his monastic community throughout his life and became known as the Buddha's greatest patron and benefactor along with his female counterpart, Visakha.

As chief patron, Anathapindika fed large numbers of the Buddha's monks daily and regularly maintained and supplied Jetavana Monastery, as well as served as one of the Buddha's primary aides in dealing with the general public. He is known as the male lay disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in generosity. Anathapindika is frequently referred to as Anathapindika-setthi (setthi meaning "wealthy person" or "millionaire"),[2] and is sometimes referred to as Mahā Anāthapindika to distinguish him from Cūla Anāthapindika, another disciple of the Buddha.[3]


In Buddhist belief, when a fully enlightened Buddha appears in the world, he always has a set of chief disciples that fulfill different roles. On top of the pair of chief Arahant disciples such as Gautama Buddha's chief male disciples Sariputta and Moggallana, and his chief female disciples Khema and Uppalavanna, all Buddhas have a set of chief patrons as well. Gautama Buddha's chief male patron was Anathapindika, with his chief female patron being Visakha.[4]

According to the Pali Canon, in the time of Padumuttara Buddha, a householder was inspired when Padumattara Buddha spoke of his own lay disciple who was foremost in generosity. The householder then resolved in that lifetime to become the disciple foremost in generosity of a future Buddha himself, and did many good deeds in hopes of becoming one. His wish was fulfilled in this lifetime when he was reborn as Anathapindika and became the chief patron of Gautama Buddha.[3]


Early Life and Family

Anathapindika was born with the given name Sudatta and was the son of a wealthy merchant named Sumana. He was a relative of Subhūti, who would later become the disciple of the Buddha who was foremost in being worthy of gifts (dakkhiṇeyyānaṃ).[5][3][note 1] When Sudatta grew up, he married a woman named Puññalakkhanā, the sister of a wealthy merchant in Rājagaha. Sudatta was known for his generosity even before his conversion to Buddhism, and was known to the public by the nickname "Anathapindika", or "one who gives alms to the unprotected", due to his love for giving. Anathapindika had one son, Kāla, and three daughters, Mahā-Subhaddā, Cūla-Subhaddā and Sumanā. His daughter-in-law was Sujātā, the youngest sister of his female counterpart, Visakha.[3][8]

Meeting the Buddha

Buddhist texts describe Anathapindika's first encounter with the Buddha as being in Rājagaha. While on business, Anathapindika went to visit his brother-in-law, who was already a follower of the Buddha. When he arrived at his brother-in-law's house, he noticed that the household was preparing for an elaborate feast, and mistook it as preparation for a wedding or a visit from the king.[8] When Anathapindika asked about the preparations, his brother-in-law explained that they were preparing for a visit from the Buddha (the Enlightened One) and his monks. Upon hearing this, Anathapindika became overjoyed, exclaiming "You mean that a fully enlightened being had arisen in the world?", and immediately resolved to go meet him.[9]

The following day Anathapindika arose early to meet the Buddha, but realized it was still dark. He still continued however, after a friendly yakka whispered in his ear and urged him to continue. Anathapindika eventually reached a figure which called him "Sudatta" and asked him to come forward. Surprised to hear his birth name, which was not known to the public, he concluded it could only be the Buddha, and went forward. The Buddha then had a discussion with him and expounded the Four Noble Truths, afterwards Anathapindika achieved the state of sotapanna, a stage of enlightenment.[10][8][9]

Anathapindika's great act of charity

Building Jetavana Monastery

Following Anathapindika's first encounter with the Buddha, he requested to offer him a meal, which the Buddha accepted, and then asked to build a temple for him and his monks in his hometown of Savatthi, to which the Buddha agreed.[8]

Shortly after, Anathapindika went back to Savatthi to search for a place to build the monastery. Looking for a place that was both accessible to followers and peacefully secluded, he came across a park belonging to Prince Jeta, the son of King Pasenadi of Kosala. Anathapindika offered to buy the park from the prince but the prince refused, after Anathapindika persisted, the prince said he will sell him the park if he covers it with coins, thinking nobody would accept such a price. To the prince's surprise, Anathapindika agreed.[11][9][12]

When Prince Jeta stated that he was not being serious and still would not sell the park, Anathapindika and the prince went to arbitrators who concluded that Prince Jeta had to sell the park at the agreed price.[13][12][11][note 2] The coins Anathapindika brought covered all of the park except for one spot at the entrance. Anathapindika sent the order for more pieces to be brought, but having been inspired by the merchant's resolve and wanting to share in the merit of the offering, Prince Jeta donated the remaining land and offered to build a wall and gate for the monastery as well as provide trees for timber.[17][12] Afterwards, Anathapindika spent several million more pieces building the temple and its furnishings. According to German Pali scholar Hellmuth Heckler, the merchant ended up spending about three-fifths of his total fortune purchasing the land and building the temple that would come to be known as Jetavana (literally "Jeta's Wood" or "Jeta's Grove").[8][9] The temple is often referred to in Buddhist scriptures as "Anathapindika's Monastery in Jeta's Wood" to give recognition to both benefactors.[8][9]

Chief Patron

The Buddha designated Anathapindika as his chief patron, along with Visakha. He is considered to be the male Buddhist lay disciple who was foremost generosity. Buddhist texts relate that throughout his life, Anathapindika regularly sent food, medicine and supplies to Jetavana monastery, as well as received monks at his house for alms daily.[note 3] The temple was also regularly maintained by Anathapindika's servants.[8] When Anathapindika was away from home, he would assign his oldest daughter to give alms in his place.[19]

Whenever the Buddha was in Savatthi, Anathapindika would visit him twice a day. After first meeting the Buddha, Anathapindika committed to following the teachings and strictly observing the five precepts, as well as encouraged his family, friends, employees, and everybody around him to do the same.[8] According to Buddhist commentaries, Anathapindika never asked the Buddha a question, out of fear of troubling him. Instead the Buddha would preach to him on his own accord.[20] Anathapindika was also well versed in the Dhamma, and an excellent debater. Buddhist scriptures describe a time when he visited a temple of another religious tradition and a debate ensues, with Anathapindika skillfully defeating the followers of the other religious tradition.[8][3]

Anathapindika and Visakha were not only the greatest donors to Gautama Buddha but also his primary aides when dealing with the general public. The Buddha frequently turned to one of the two chief patrons whenever there needed to be something arranged with the lay community.[8]

Encounter with the Earth Spirit

Scene of some remains at Jetavana Monastery.

According to texts, at one time Anathapindika lost a significant amount of his fortune in a flash flood which washed away large amounts of his gold, and was reduced to poverty due to his love of giving as well as due to lending out large amounts to his friends. Despite this, Anathapindika continued his patronage and support of Buddhism, although more modestly. It is said he later returned to his wealthy status, however, due to the help of a redemptive deva, or spirit.[9][8]

Based on accounts from the Buddhist scriptures, there was a deva living in Anathapindika's house at the time. According to the laws of his realm, the deva had to leave his abode whenever the Buddha or a monk was in the house, as a form of respect. Annoyed by this, the deva appeared before Anathapindika and suggested he preserve his remaining treasure and stop his patronage of Buddhism since he was no longer wealthy. Appalled by this suggestion, Anathapindika explained that the only treasures he knew of were the Three Jewels; the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, and that he would continue to support Buddhism so long as he had something to give. Anathapindika then ordered the deva to leave his house, stating that enemies of the Buddha were not welcome, forcing the deva to find a new place to live. The homeless deva went to several authorities, eventually reaching Sakka, the king of the devas in Trāyastriṃśa, who suggested he must atone by retrieving Anathapindika's lost gold, convincing his debtors to repay their debts, and by giving Anathapindika a buried treasure, which had no owner. This resulted in Anathapindika returning to wealth, even richer than he was before.[9][21][8]

The Story of Kalakanni

One famous story described in the Buddhist scriptures is the story of Kalakanni. Kalakanni (whose name means "unlucky bird")[8] was a childhood friend of Anathapindika who was impoverished. When Kalakanni asked Anathapindika for aid, the setthi offered him a job at his house. This decision was met with backlash from Anathapindika's household, due to Kalakanni's low status and the superstition at the time of Kalakanni's name being a bad omen. Anathapindika ignored this superstition and his status however, and granted his friend a job. This eventually worked in the favor of the household however, when a group of thieves attempted to rob Anathapindika while he was away on a business trip. When the vigilant Kalakanni noticed the thieves, he started making loud noises, convincing the thieves that the household was full and causing them to leave.[8]


When Anathapindika grew ill later in life he was visited by Sariputta and Ananda, two of the Buddha's principal disciples. Sariputta delivered a sermon, recommending Anathapindika focus on freeing his mind from clinging and to reflect on the impermanence of existence. The setthi later proclaimed this sermon to have been the most profound sermon he has ever heard, which Sariputta explained was because this teaching was not normally given to laypeople.[21] Shortly after Sariputta and Ananda left, Anathapindika died. According to the Buddhist scriptures, Anathapindika was reborn as a deva in Tusita heaven after his death, where he would live as long as his female counterpart Visakha, and the king of Tavatimsa heaven, Sakka.[22][23]


The remains of a section of Jetavana Monastery.

Anathapindika is considered to be one of the most exemplary adherents of the Buddhist virtue of generosity. Not only did he regularly provide alms and necessities to the monks at Jetavana, he hosted hundreds of monks at his residence for meals daily.[8] Referring to Anathapindika, the Buddha stated that for one who was dedicated to perfecting the virtue of generosity, nothing in the world is capable of stopping him from giving.[8] Anathapindika's love of giving, combined with some misfortune, at one point reduced the setthi to poverty. But even in times of hardship, Anathapindika was described as continuing his patronage of Buddhism, although with much more modest gifts. His wealth was eventually restored to him however, due to the power of the merit of his generosity.[21]

Anathapindika's patronage had a significant impact on Buddhism. Anathapindika's hometown of Savatthi was considered to be the center of Buddhism at the time, being the location of a significant number of the Buddha's sermons.[24] On top of that, the Buddha spent nineteen rainy seasons at Jetavana monastery, more than any other temple during his lifetime.[24][25][8] After the building of Migāramātupāsāda monastery in Savatthi by Visakha, the Buddha would alternate between Anathapindika's monastery and Visakha's monastery whenever he was staying in Savatthi.[17][26] Anathapindika's generosity even inspired King Pasenadi, another follower of the Buddha, to himself start generous patronage of Buddhism.[8]

According to religious studies scholar Todd Lewis, Anathapindika is one of the most popular figures in Buddhist art and storytelling in Asian Buddhist tradition.[27] Buddhist scholars George D. Bond and Ananda W.P Guruge, point to the story of Anathapindika as evidence that the Buddhist path for lay people and the rewards of generosity in Buddhism are not distinct from the path to Nirvana that is the focus of Buddhist monastics.[21]

See also

• Visakha
• Almsgiving
• Dāna
• Citta (disciple)
• Hatthaka of Alavi


1. Pali texts state Subhūti was Anathapindika's younger brother,[6] while northern Buddhist texts identify him as Anathapindika's nephew.[7]
2. Some sources state that Prince Jeta said that he would sell the park not even if Anathapindika covered the park with a large price of coins, but arbitrators still ruled in favor of Anathapindika.[14][15] According to Indologist Hans Wolfgang Schumann, the court decided that naming a price, even in a refusing way, constituted a sale since one who didn't want to sell would not name a price.[16] In another source Prince Jeta refuses to sell altogether and it is the arbitrator that states Anathapindika can purchase the park if he covers the grounds with money.[8]
3. Some sources indicate the number of monks as being in the hundreds,[8] but the Dhammapada commentary states 2,000 daily.[18]


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24. Badiner, Allan Hunt. "Sravasti: Diamond in the Rough". Tricycle: The Buddhist Review. Archived from the original on 2017-10-13. Retrieved 2017-10-13.
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27. Lewis, Todd (2014-04-02). Buddhists: Understanding Buddhism Through the Lives of Practitioners. John Wiley & Sons. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-118-32208-6.

External links

• Access to Insight: Anathapindika- The Great Benefactor
• What the Buddha Said: Anathapindika
• Biography of Anathapindika Series - Thai with Eng Sub
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