Item Code: IDD441
by SAMUEL BEALHardcover (Edition: 1985)
Motilal Banarsidas Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 7.2" X 5"
Price: $24.00 Shipping Free
This work is a translation of the Chinese version of the "Abhinishkramana Sutra" done into that language by Dinanakuta, a Buddhist priest from North India. It refers to Buddha's leaving the palace for a religious life i.e. Buddha's flight from his palace to become an ascetic. The legend also includes Buddha's previous and subsequent history.
The work is called "Romantic Legend", because, as is well known, the first romances were merely metrical histories. There can be no doubt that the present work contains as a woof (so to speak), some of the earliest verses (Gathas) in which the History of Buddha was sung, long before the work itself was penned. These verses, even in the Chinese, are frequently so confused as to defy exact analysis. These Gathas were evidently composed in different Prakrit forms (during a period of disintegration) before the more modern type of Sanskrit was fixed by the Rules of Panini, and the popular epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
The interest of the book will be found to result, not from any critical studies, found herein, but from the stories which throw light on contemporaneous architectural work in India.
THIS work is a translation of the Chinese version of the "Abhinishkramana Sutra? done into that language by Djnanakuta, a Buddhist priest from North India, who resided in China during the Tsui dynasty, i.e., about the end of the sixth century, A.D.
It would seem from a consideration of the title of the seventeenth chapter, “Leaving the palace for a religious life", that originally the story of the "Abhinishkramana” was simply that of Buddha’s flight from his palace to become an ascetic. Afterwards, the same title was applied to the complete legend (as in the present work), which includes his previous and subsequent history.
A very valuable date, later than which we cannot place the origin of the story, may be derived from the colophon at the end of the last chapter of the book. It is there stated that the "Abhinishkramana Sutra" is called by the school of the Dharmaguptas Fo-pen- hing-King; by the Sarvastivadas it is called Ta-chwang- yen (great magnificence, i.e., "Lalita Vistara") ; by the Mahasanghikas it is called Ta-sse, i. e., Mahavastu.
We know from the "Chinese Encyclopaedia”, Kai- yuen-shi-Kiau-mu-lu, that the Fo-pm-king was translated into Chinese from Sanskrit, by a priest called Chu—fa—lan, so early as the eleventh year of the reign of Wing-ping (Ming-ti), of the Han dynasty, i.e., 69 or 70 A.D. We may, therefore, safely suppose that the original work was in circulation in India for some time previous to this date.
Of Related Interest: