The Question of King Ajātasattu: Fractured Narratives of the Samaññaphala Sutta
The Samannaphala Sutta ("Fruits of the Ascetic Life") is one of the most hallowed discourses attributed to the Buddha in the Pali Canon. It is also a historical document of great significance which provides important details about daily life of the general population and the Buddhist monk in ancient India. This commentary takes a detailed look at two strands in the discourse-the historical and the doctrinal-and finds a number of fractures in the narrative. The commentary's exploration raises the possibility that the conversation between the Buddha and King Ajatasattu could not have happened the way it has been portrayed in the discourse. This raises the further possibility of significant alteration and editing in later generations in the narratives of the discourse. These are significant questions in our understanding of what is "early" and what is "late" in the Pali discourses of the Buddha.The perspectives offered in the commentary should be of interest to students of early Buddhist history. It remains sympathetic to a viewpoint that creating the narrative of the discourse may have been a historical necessity for the creation of the earliest Buddhist community itself, and its legitimization as an autonomous jurisprudential entity. It also remains sympathetic to the traditional perspective that the sutta's doctrinal presentations are central to the articulation of Buddha's dhamma and vinaya in ancient India.
December 02, 2020
5.98 X 9.02 X 0.37 inches | 0.52 pounds
Earn by promoting books