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Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 47, Issue 2, pp 195–233 | Cite as

Aśvaghoṣa and His Canonical Sources (III): The Night of Awakening (Buddhacarita 14.1–87)

  • Vincent EltschingerEmail author
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Abstract

The present paper is the third in a series dedicated to uncovering the canonical sources of Aśvaghoṣa’s Buddhacarita and, to the extent possible, the monk-poet’s sectarian affiliation. Whereas parts I and II focused on Chapter 16’s indebtedness to (Mūla)sarvāstivāda Vinaya and/or Sūtra literature, this third part inquires into the sources of Aśvaghoṣa’s account of the Buddha’s enlightenment in Chapter 14 (whose first 31 verses have been preserved in their Sanskrit original). Detailed analysis reveals this chapter’s intimate relationship with T. 189, a (Mūla)sarvāstivāda (?) biographical sūtra extant in Chinese translation only, but also with textual materials that have come to belong to Mūlasarvāstivāda literature and, as already demonstrated by Kajiyama Yūichi, with the Nagar(opam)asūtra of the Saṃyuktāgama. Among these likely sources, some provide a lively description of the five destinies, others relate to the iconographic prescriptions laid down for drawing the so-called Wheel of saṃsāra/existence, while yet others spell out the doctrine of dependent origination. The detailed comparison of these materials is followed by an admittedly speculative attempt to assess the relationship between these sources.

Keywords

Aśvaghoṣa Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya Dependent Origination (pratītyasamutpādaHell (Buddhist conception of) Awakening 

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Notes

Acknowledgements

Most sincere thanks are due to Robert Kritzer, Luo Hong, and Yasutaka Muroya. Stefano Zacchetti deserves special acknowledgment for reading a version of this paper and making very precious comments on my Chinese translations. Most of the present essay was written in Vienna as I was still a research fellow of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia).

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE), PSL UniversityParisFrance

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