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Asvaghosa

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Asvaghosa

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Item Code: NAC655
Author: Bimala Churn Law
Publisher: The Asiatic Society
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9788192061542
Pages: 105
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.4 Inch X 6.3 Inch
weight of the book: 290 gms
Foreword
To the Second Reprint

The book on Asvaghosa by Bimala Chum Law was first published in 1946 by the Asiatic Society. First reprint came out in 1993. This is the second reprint of the book.

In the book an attempt has been made “to build up a connected account of the life and labours of Asvaghosa who was one of the most distinguished poets, born and brought up in the Theravada tradition, from the available materials”. I quote excerpts of what the author said in the preface of the book, “It is indeed an arduous task to prepare a useful compendium of what we yet know of Asvaghosa both from his own works and from other relative documents. Asvaghosa was the celebrated author of two poetical works called the Buddhacarita and the Saundarananda and a drama known by the name of Sriputra-Prakarana. ... This treatise is, I believe, the first of its kind. It supplies some new historical data and presents some new aspects of the problems concerning Asvaghosa. The importance of Asvaghosa as a poet and teacher has generally been discussed from the Brahmanical point of view. But I have tried to show here that the Brahmanical side of his kavyas was of secondary importance. This was brought in just to serve as the historical background of his own faith or as a means of embellishing his poetical delineations.”

I hope the book would be useful to the scholars and students in the field.

Foreword
To the First Reprint

It gives me pleasure to announce to the scholarly world the monograph Asvaghosa by Bimala Churn Law which is a lithographical reprint of the earlier publication of 1946. The book is well-written and is the first of its kind. As It Is the only treatise where the account of the life and works of Asvaghosa is penned by an outstanding scholar on the basis of Asvaghosa’s own works and on other relative documents, particularly Chinese, and as it Is out of print for a long time and has still a great demand by the scholarly world, it is decided that the book is to be reprinted lithographically to meet the demand of the academic world on the occasion of the celebration of the Birth Centenary of Bimala Churn Law.

Asvaghosa is said to have lived sometime in the first century AD. and is recognised as the first great Kavya-poet and precursor of Kalidasa. His three works available till today are the two poetical works called the Buddhacarita and the Saundarananda, and a drama Sariputra-prakarana. These works show in a sense his masterly power of delinetion of human characters and objects of nature. Through his works, Asvaghosa has lucidly treated many knotty points of Buddhist philosophy and doctrines of Buddhism.

This treatise is well-documented and each of his statements is well-authenticated by concrete references of both primary and secondary sources. Though small In size, it will serve the purpose of some historical data and will present some new aspects of problems concerning Asvaghosa. If the book Is received well by the scholarly world, the purpose of the Asiatic Society will be fulfilled.

Preface

An attempt has been made in this treatise to build up a connected account of the life and labours of Asvaghosa who was one of the most distinguished poets, born and brought up in the Theravada tradition, from the available materials. It is indeed an arduous task to prepare a useful compendium of what we yet know of Asvaghosa both from his own works and from other relative documents. Asvaghosa was the celebrated author of two poetical works called the Bud4hacarita and the Saundarananda and a drama known by the name of Sariputra-Prakarana. The first chapter gives a brief survey of his writings and the researches so far made about Asvaghosa and his works. The second chapter forms an estimate of him as a man. The third chapter treats of his poetical works, and makes an attempt to show his poetical genius from his own compositions. The fourth chapter is devoted to a careful comparison of his views as a teacher with those given in Theravada Buddhist books. It also deals with the part played by him as a teacher. The fifth and the last chapter shows his masterly power of delineation of human characters and objects of-nature. It must be admitted that many knotty points of Buddhist philosophy and many important terms of Buddhist doctrine received lucid treatment at his hands. Many other important points connected with the history of Asvaghosa, as for example, his knowledge of Samkhya and Yoga practices, have also been treated in this book. Several theories have cropped up about this great poet, which have been discussed and discarded as they rest on a more or less slender basis of evidence. I have tried to utilize fully his works as well as the other documents that furnish any information regarding him.

This treatise is, I believe, the first of its kind. It supplies some new historical data and presents some new aspects of the problems concerning Asvaghosa. The importance of Asvaghosa as a poet and teacher has generally been discussed from the Brabmanical point of view. But I have tried to show here that the Brahmanical side of his kavyas was of secondary importance. This was brought in just to serve as the historical background of his own faith or as a means of embellishing his poetical delineations.

It is for the scholars interested in the subject to judge how far I have succeeded in presenting a readable account of the celebrated poet. I am thankful to the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal for including it in their newly started Monograph Series.

Contents

Foreword to the Second Reprint v
Foreword to the First Reprint vii
Preface ix
Bibliography xi
Chapter I Asvaghosa and his writings 1
Chapter II Asvaghosa the man 12
Chapter III Asvaghosa the poet 23
Chapter IV Asvaghosa the teacher 55
Chapter VAsvaghosa’s delineations 76
Index

Sample Pages


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