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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Buddhaghosa’s Padyacudamani: as a biography of the Buddha Fernando, Anusha


The objective of this thesis is to present the PadyacDdmani, a previously untranslated Sanskrit poem on the life or the Buddha. This text has been ascribed to the Pãli scholar Bhadantcariya Buddhaghosa. My study will focus upon this text as a biography of the Buddha. To do so, I will present only those verses which move the Padyacüdmani’s narrative forward. These verses will be presented within the thesis and recollected in an Appendix. To study the Padyacadamani as a biography of the Buddha I will compare it with the traditional Buddha biographies. These are the Buddhacarita, Lalitavistara and Mahvastu [all Sanskrit works] and the Nidnakathã, the only biography of the Buddha written in Päli. What is illuminated by such a comparison is the striking similarity between the PadyaciJdmani and the Avidüre Nidäna [Intermediate Epoch] of the Nidnakathã biographical account. This similarity is made more interesting by the fact that the Nidnakathã has also been ascribed to Buddhaghosa. However, Buddhaghosa’s authorship of the Nidãnakath has been questioned due to its difference in style and expression from his other works. I will argue that the PadyacOdãmani is also a peculiar work for the Buddhist scholar Bhadantcariya Buddhaghosa, for, it is his only Sanskrit work, his only poem and, unlike his other works, is primarily not a Buddhist work. I will argue that the association of Buddhaghosa’s name with the Padyacadamani is not to indicate his authorship of this text but a way of highlighting the relationship between the Padyacüdãmani and the Nidänakath, which has been ascribed to Buddhaghosa. By presenting the PC as a biography of the Buddha, two avenues for further exploration are illuminated. Firstly, more research should be done on the relationship between the PadyacOdmani and the Nidnakath biographical accounts. Secondly, it seems that there are good grounds to question whether the Pãli scholar Buddhaghosa was indeed the author of this text.

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