Nagasena

Nāgasena was a Sarvastivadan Buddhist sage born in Kashmir[1][2] and lived around 150 BCE. His answers to questions about Buddhism posed by Menander I (Pali: Milinda), the Indo-Greek king of northwestern India, are recorded in the Milinda Pañha and the Sanskrit Nāgasenabhiksusūtra.[3]

King Milinda ask questions
King Milinda and Nagasena.

Milinda Pañha

Milind-Pañha or Milindo-Pañho (-o = the) is a Pali treatise which means "Questions of (King) Milinda" -- although pañha is translated as "questions", the literal meaning in the Pali language is "wisdom". It deals with the conversation that took place between the monk Nagasena and King Milinda in the form of questions and answers. Its author is undoubtedly the monk Nagasena, who wrote it originally in Pali language which is a derivative of Sanskrit and has close affinity with Kishtwari (sister-language of Kashmiri spoken predominantly in the district of kishtwar in jammu and Kashmir state) .[4]

There is almost universal agreement that a core text was later expanded by numerous other authors, following a question and answer pattern established in the early books. The version extant today is very long, and has signs of inconsistent authorship in the later volumes. There is no agreed-upon point at which Nagasena's authorship may be said to end (and the work of other hands begins), nor has this been perceived as an inherently important distinction by monastic scholars.

The text mentions that Nagasena learned the Tripiṭaka under the Greek Buddhist monk Dhammarakkhita near Pātaliputta (modern Patna). He also reached enlightenment and became an arhat under his guidance.

Other personalities mentioned in the text are Nāgasena's father Soñuttara, his teachers Rohana, Assagutta of Vattaniya and another teacher named Āyupāla from Sankheyya near Sāgala.

Thai tradition

There is a tradition that Nagasena brought to Thailand the first representation of the Buddha, the Emerald Buddha. According to this legend, the Emerald Buddha would have been created in India in 43 BCE by Nagasena in the city of Pātaliputta.

Nagasena is not known through other sources besides the Milinda Panha and this legend.

Depictions

Nagasena is one of the Eighteen Arhats of Mahayana Buddhism. His traditional textile depiction shows him holding a khakkhara in his right hand and a vase in his left; an excellent example can be seen on one of the thangkas in the Cleveland Museum of Art collection. "This figure [conforms with the image of] the arhat Nagasena, shown in Jivarama's sketchbook of 1435"[5] who also holds a vase.

A similar depiction can be seen in the collection of Singapore's Asian Civilisations Museum (Qianlong era, 18C: tangka with silk appliqué.)[6]

More modern statues often show a bald, elderly monk scratching his ear with a stick to symbolize purification of the sense of hearing. An adherent of Buddhism should avoid listening to gossip and other nonsense so that they are always prepared to hear the truth.

References

  1. ^ Xing 2005, p. 26.
  2. ^ Jestice 2004, p. 621.
  3. ^ Buswell, Robert Jr; Lopez, Donald S. Jr., eds. (2013). "Nagasena", in Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 9780691157863.
  4. ^ GLIMPSES OF KISHTWAR HISTORY BY D.C.SHARMA
  5. ^ Stephen Little, "The Arhats in China and Tibet." Artibus Asiae, Vol. 52, No. 3/4 (1992), p. 257
  6. ^ Marilyn Seow, Managing Editor. The Asian Civilisations Museum A-Z Guide. Singapore: Asian Civilisations Museum, 2003, pp.326-7.

Bibliography

Abhidharmadīpa

The Abhidharmadīpa or Lamp of Abhidharma is an Abhidharma text thought to have been authored by Vasumitra as a response to Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakośakārikā.

The text consists of verse and prose commentary. It currently survives as an incomplete collection of Sanskrit fragments. However, the text is valuable insofar as it confirms the identity of Vasubandhu as author of the Abhidharmakośakārikā.

Ajahn

Ajahn (Thai: อาจารย์, RTGS: achan, IPA: [ʔāː.tɕāːn], also romanized ajaan, aajaan, ajarn, ajahn, acharn and achaan) is a Thai language term which translates as "professor" or "teacher." It is derived from the Pali word ācariya, and is a term of respect, similar in meaning to the Japanese sensei, and is used as a title of address for high-school and university teachers, and for Buddhist monks who have passed ten vassa. The term "ajahn" is customarily used to address forest tradition monks and the term Luang Por, "Venerable father" is customarily used to address city tradition monks in Thai Buddhism.

Amay Yay Yin

Amay Yay Yin (Burmese: အမေရေယာဉ်; lit. "mother of the stream of soft water underground", also known as Yayin Kadaw) is a prominent Burmese nat. She is also known to be one of the five mother nats as Anauk Medaw (The West Mother).

Amrita

Amrita (Sanskrit: अमृत, IAST: amṛta), Amrit or Amata (also called Sudha, Amiy, Ami) is a word that literally means "immortality" and is often referred to in ancient Indian texts as nectar. "Amṛta" is etymologically related to the Greek ambrosia and carries the same meaning. Its first occurrence is in the Rigveda, where it is considered one of several synonyms for soma, the drink of the devas.

Amrit has varying significance in different Indian religions. The word Amrit is also a common first name for Sikhs and Hindus, while its feminine form is Amritā. The traditional masculine name is Amrith with the feminine name being Amritha.

Buddhism in Venezuela

Buddhism in Venezuela is practiced by over 52,000 people (roughly 0.2% of the population). The Buddhist community is made up mainly of Chinese, Japanese, and Koreans.

Most identify with the Mahayana tradition, reflecting the religious heritage of their emigrant countries.

However, in the mid-1990s Keun-Tshen Goba (né Ezequiel Hernandez Urdaneta), together with Jigme Rinzen, founded a meditation center using the Shambhala Training method.

There are Buddhist centers in Caracas, Maracay, Mérida, Puerto Ordáz, San Felipe, and Valencia.

Dharmaraksita

For the teacher of Atiśa, see Dharmarakṣita (9th century).Dharmarakṣita (Sanskrit "Protected by the Dharma", Pali Dhammarakkhita), was one of the missionaries sent by the Mauryan emperor Ashoka to proselytize Buddhism. He is described as being a Greek (Pali: Yona, lit. "Ionian") in the Mahavamsa, and his activities are indicative of some Hellenistic Greek following during the early centuries of Buddhism.

Greek communities had been present in neighbouring Bactria and in northwestern India since the time of the conquests of Alexander the Great around 323 BCE, and developed into the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and the Indo-Greek Kingdom until the end of the 1st century BCE. Greeks were generally described in ancient times throughout the Classical world as "Yona", "Yonaka", "Yojanas" or "Yavanas", lit. “Ionians". They were ardent recipients of Buddhism and the example of Dharmarakṣita indicates that they even took an active role in spreading Buddhism as leading missionaries.

Jyotipala Mahathera

Jyotipala Mahathera was the 10th Sangharaja of Bangladesh.

He succeeded Nagasena Mahathera, the 9th Sangharaja. Jyotipala Mahathera has written several books on Buddhist philosophy and translated some Pali texts like Puggalapaññatti into Bengali. The Karmatatva authored by Jyotipala has been recommended for M.A. syllabus in the Chittagong and Dhaka Universities of Bangladesh. During the 1971 War in Bangladesh he went to many Asian countries to report on injustices to Bengali civilians.

List of Buddhas

This is a list of historical, contemporary, and legendary figures which at least one school of Buddhism considers to be a Buddha and which have an article on Wikipedia:

Acala

Adi-Buddha

Akshobhya

Amitābha, principal Buddha of Pure Land Buddhism

Amoghasiddhi

Bhaisajyaguru

Budai

Dīpankara Buddha

Five Tathagatas

Gautama Buddha

Kakusandha

Kassapa Buddha

Koṇāgamana Buddha

Lokesvararaja

Nairatmya

Nichiren Daishonin, Buddha of the Latter Day of the Law (Nikko Lineage)

Padumuttara Buddha

Padmasambhava

Ratnasambhava

Satyanama

Sumedha Buddha

Tara

Tonpa Shenrab

Vairocana, embodiment of the Dharmakaya

Vajradhara

Vajrayogini

Yeshe Tsogyal

List of suttas

Suttas from the Sutta Pitaka of the Pali Canon.

List of Digha Nikaya suttas

List of Majjhima Nikaya suttas

List of Samyutta Nikaya suttas

List of Anguttara Nikaya suttas

List of Khuddaka Nikaya suttas

Mattavilasa Prahasana

Mattavilasa Prahasana (Devanagari:मत्तविलासप्रहसन), (English: A Farce of Drunken Sport) is a short one-act Sanskrit play. It is one of the two great one act plays written by Pallava King Mahendravarman I (571– 630CE) in the beginning of the seventh century in Tamil Nadu.Mattavilasa Prahasana is a satire that pokes fun at the peculiar aspects of the heretic Kapalika and Pasupata Saivite sects, Buddhists and Jainism. The setting of the play is Kanchipuram, the capital city of the Pallava kingdom in the seventh century. The play revolves around the drunken antics of a Kapalika mendicant, Satyasoma, his woman, Devasoma, and the loss and recovery of their skull-bowl. The cast of characters consists of Kapali or Satysoma, an unorthodox Saivite mendicant, Devasoma, Satysoma’s female partner, a Buddhist Monk, whose name is Nagasena, Pasupata, a member of another unorthodox Saivite order and a Madman. The act describes a dispute between a drunken Kapali and the Buddhist monk. The inebriated Kapali suspects the Buddhist monk of stealing his begging bowl made from a skull, but after a drawn-out argument it is found to have been taken away by a dog.

Menander I

Menander I Soter (Ancient Greek: Μένανδρος Αʹ ὁ Σωτήρ, Ménandros Aʹ ho Sōtḗr, "Menander I the Saviour"; known in Indian Pali sources as Milinda) was an Indo-Greek King of the Indo-Greek Kingdom (165/155 –130 BC) who administered a large empire in the Northwestern regions of the Indian Subcontinent from his capital at Sagala. Menander is noted for having become a patron of Buddhism.

Menander was initially a king of Bactria. After conquering the Punjab he established an empire in the Indian Subcontinent stretching from the Kabul River valley in the west to the Ravi River in the east, and from the Swat River valley in the north to Arachosia (the Helmand Province). Ancient Indian writers indicate that he launched expeditions southward into Rajasthan and as far east down the Ganges River Valley as Pataliputra (Patna), and the Greek geographer Strabo wrote that he "conquered more tribes than Alexander the Great."

Large numbers of Menander’s coins have been unearthed, attesting to both the flourishing commerce and duration of his realm. Menander was also a patron of Buddhism, and his conversations with the Buddhist sage Nagasena are recorded in the important Buddhist work, the Milinda Panha ("The Questions of King Milinda"; panha meaning "question" in Pali). After his death in 130 BC, he was succeeded by his wife Agathokleia who ruled as regent for his son Strato I. Buddhist tradition relates that he handed over his kingdom to his son and retired from the world, but Plutarch relates that he died in camp while on a military campaign, and that his remains were divided equally between the cities to be enshrined in monuments, probably stupas, across his realm.

Milinda Panha

The Milinda Pañha ("Questions of Milinda") is a Buddhist text which dates from sometime between 100 BCE and 200 CE. It purports to record a dialogue between the Buddhist sage Nāgasena, and the Indo-Greek king Menander I (Pali: Milinda) of Bactria, who reigned from Sagala (modern Sialkot, Pakistan).

The Milinda Pañha is regarded as canonical in Burmese Buddhism, included as part of the book of Khuddaka Nikaya. An abridged version is included as part of Chinese Mahayana translations of the canon. The Milinda Pañha is not regarded as canonical by Thai or Sri Lankan Buddhism, however, despite the surviving Theravāda text being in Sinhalese script.

The Chinese text titled the Monk Nāgasena Sutra corresponds to the first three chapters of the Milindapanha. It was translated sometime during the Eastern Jin dynasty (317–420).

Nagasena, Eastern Province

Nagasena, Eastern Province is a village in Sri Lanka. It is located within Central Province.

Nagasena Mahathera

The Venerable Nagasena Mahathera was the 9th Sangharaja of Bangladesh.

Paracanonical texts (Theravada Buddhism)

The term "paracanonical texts" is used by Western scholars to refer to various texts on the fringes of the Pali Canon of Theravada Buddhism (cf. Apocrypha), usually to refer to the following texts sometimes regarded as included in the Pali Canon's Khuddaka Nikaya:

Suttasamgaha (abbrev. "Suttas"; "Sutta Compendium")

Nettipakarana (abbrev. "Nett"; "Book of Guidance")

Petakopadesa (abbrev. "Peṭ"; "Instructions on the Tipitaka")

Milindapañha (abbrev. "Mil"; "Questions of Milinda")The Suttasamgaha includes selected texts primarily from the Pali Canon. The Nettipakarana and the Petakopadesa are introductions to the teachings of Buddhism; these books present methods of interpretation that lead to the knowledge of the good law (saddhamma). Milindapañhā, written in the style of the Pali suttas, contains a dialogue between the Indo-Greek king Menander (in Pāli, Milinda) and the Thera Nāgasena, which illuminates certain important tenets of Buddhism.

The term "paracanonical" is also sometimes applied to the Patimokkha, which is not in the Canon, but a commentary on it, in which most of the text is embedded.

Other terms with similar meanings include "semi-canonical" and "quasi-canonical".

Samudragupta

Samudragupta (r. c. 335/350-375 CE) was a ruler of the Gupta Empire of present-day India. As a son of the Gupta emperor Chandragupta I and the Licchavi princess Kumaradevi, he greatly expanded his dynasty's political power.

The Allahabad Pillar inscription, a prashasti (eulogy) composed by his courtier Harishena, credits him with extensive military conquests. It suggests that he defeated several kings of northern India, and annexed their territories to his empire. He also marched along the south-eastern coast of India, advancing as far as the Pallava kingdom. In addition, he subjugated several frontier kingdoms and tribal oligarchies. His empire extended from Ravi River in the west to the Brahmaputra River in the east, and from the Himalayan foothills in the north to central India in the south-west; several rulers along the south-eastern coast were his tributaries.

Samudragupta performed the Ashvamedha sacrifice to prove his imperial sovereignty, and according to his coins, remained undefeated. His gold coins and inscriptions suggest that he was an accomplished poet, and also played music. His expansionist policy was continued by his son Chandragupta II.

Sixteen Arhats

The Sixteen Arhats (Japanese: 十六羅漢, Jūroku Rakan; Tibetan: གནས་བརྟན་བཅུ་དྲུག, "Neten Chudrug") are a group of legendary Arhats in Buddhism. The grouping of sixteen Arhats was brought to China, and later to Tibet, from India. In China, an expanded group of Eighteen Arhats became more popular, but worship of the sixteen Arhats continues to the present day in Japan and Tibet. In Japan sixteen Arhats are particularly popular in Zen Buddhism, where they are treated as examples of behaviour. In Tibet, the sixteen Arhats, also known as sixteen sthaviras ('elders') are the subject of a liturgical practice associated with the festival of the Buddha's birth, composed by the Kashmiri teacher Shakyahribhadra (1127-1225). They are also well represented in Tibetan art.The sixteen Arhats are:

The Sixteen Arhats in Art

The Sixteen Arhats from the Alice S. Kandell Collection

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew (Thai: วัดพระแก้ว, RTGS: Wat Phra Kaeo, pronounced [wát pʰráʔ kɛ̂ːw] (listen)), commonly known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and officially as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha housed in the temple is a potent religio-political symbol and the palladium (protective image) of Thailand. The temple is in Phra Nakhon District, the historic centre of Bangkok, within the precincts of the Grand Palace.The main building is the central phra ubosot, which houses the statue of the Emerald Buddha. According to legend, this Buddha image originated in India where the sage Nagasena prophesied that the Emerald Buddha would bring "prosperity and pre-eminence to each country in which it resides". The Emerald Buddha deified in the Wat Phra Kaew is therefore deeply revered and venerated in Thailand as the protector of the country. Historical records date its finding to the 15th century in Chiang Rai where, after it was relocated a number of times, it was finally brought to Thailand in the 18th century. It was enshrined in Bangkok at the Wat Phra Kaew Temple in 1782 during the reign of Phutthayotfa Chulalok, King Rama I (1782–1809). This marked the beginning of the Chakri dynasty of Thailand, whose current sovereign is Vajiralongkorn, King Rama X.

The Emerald Buddha, a dark green statue, is in a standing form, about 66 centimetres (26 in) tall, carved from a single jade stone ("emerald" in Thai means deep green colour and not the specific stone). It is carved in the meditating posture in the style of the Lanna school of northern Thailand. Except for the Thai King and, in his stead, the crown prince, no other persons are allowed to touch the statue. The king changes the cloak around the statue three times a year, corresponding to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons, an important ritual performed to bring good fortune to the country during each season.

Topics in Buddhism
Foundations
The Buddha
Bodhisattvas
Disciples
Key concepts
Cosmology
Branches
Practices
Nirvana
Monasticism
Major figures
Texts
Countries
History
Philosophy
Culture
Miscellaneous
Comparison
Lists

Languages

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.