Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the MahayanaA Study and Translation of the Rastrapalapariprccha-sutra

Bodhisattvas of the Forest and the Formation of the MahayanaA Study and Translation of the Rastrapalapariprccha-sutra

Daniel Boucher

Print publication date: 2016

ISBN: 9780824828813

Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press

Abstract

This book delves into the socioreligious milieu of the authors, editors, and propagators of the Rāṣṭrapālapaṛiprcchā-sūtra (Questions of Rāṣṭrapāla), a Buddhist text circulating in India during the first half of the first millennium C.E. The book first reflects upon the problems that plague historians of Mahāyāna Buddhism, whose previous efforts to comprehend the tradition have often ignored the social dynamics that motivated some of the innovations of this new literature. Following that is an analysis of several motifs found in the Indian text and an examination of the value of the earliest Chinese translation for charting the sūtra's evolution. The first part looks at the relationship between the bodily glorification of the Buddha and the ascetic career that produced it within the socioeconomic world of early medieval Buddhist monasticism. Part 2 focuses on the third-century Chinese translation of the sūtra attributed to Dharmarakṣa and traces the changes in the translation to the late tenth century. The significance of this translation, the book explains, is to be found in the ways it differs from all other witnesses. One of the signal contributions of this book is its skill at identifying the traces left by the process and ability to uncover clues about the nature of the source text as well as the world of the principal recipients. The book concludes with an annotated translation of the Rāṣṭrapālapaṛiprcchā-sūtra based on a new reading of its earliest extant Sanskrit manuscript.

Table of Contents

Part I Asceticism and the Glorification of the Buddha’s Body: The Indian Text of the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā-sūtra

Part II Indian Buddhism Through a Chinese Lens: Dharmarakṛa’s Translation of the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā-sūtra

Part III An Annotated Translation of the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchā-sūtra