ChapterPDF Available

Date of the Buddha

Title: Date of the Buddha
Professor K.T.S. Sarao
Department of Buddhist Studies
University of Delhi
Delhi-110007, INDIA.
Synonyms: Eras (Buddhism).
Definition: The year in which the Buddha died.
Main Text:
The year of the death (Mahāparinibbāna) of the Buddha, who died at the age of 80, has
remained perhaps the most controversial subject in the history of India till date. This
controversy is primarily grounded in the fact as to which of the two chronologies, the
so-called Long and Short, based on the Southern and Northern Buddhist legends respectively,
be accepted as the correct one. Both these chronologies use the year of consecration of king
Asoka as the base year. The Southern Buddhist legends contained in the Sri Lankan tradition
place the consecration of Asoka 218 years after the death of the Buddha and, according to the
Northern Buddhist legends this event took place only 100 or 110 years after the Buddha’s
death. On the basis of the dates of the various Greek kings mentioned in Asoka’s 13th Rock
Edict, the date of Asoka’s accession may be calculated to within very arrow limits at c.268
BCE and the consecration (abhiseka), which took place in the fourth year of his reign (i.e.
after 3 years), to c.265 BCE. On the basis of this information, the year of the death of the
Buddha may be calculated to c.483 (265+218) BCE as per the Long Chronology and c.365
(265+100) BCE or c.375 (265+110) BCE as per the Short Chronology. Most of the
controversies and discussions amongst scholars are largely centred on the merits of these two
modes of calculation.
Long Chronology
The best survey of the arguments which led scholars to believe that the calculation of the date
of the Buddha should be based on the Long Chronology, was given by André Bareau (1) who
used the information given in the Dīpavasa (vi.1) and the Mahāvasa (v.21) that Asoka
was consecrated 218 years after the death of the Buddha. In fact, the Southern Buddhists had
initially adopted 544-543 BCE as the date of the Buddha’s death. But this was corrected by
Geiger and others, who pointed out that 60 extra years had been interpolated into the
chronology of the kings of Sri Lanka (8: xxv-xxvi; 13: 39-54). Those scholars who support
this chronology point out that this chronology is supported by the events of contemporary
political history. Ajātasattu (Sk: Ajātaśatru) was on the throne until 24 years after the
Buddha’s death (12: iii.60) and then, it has been pointed out, at least 78 years elapsed
between the foundation of the Nanda dynasty and the consecration of Asoka (Mhv.v.15-22)
though Purāṇic sources mention much more than 78 years. The followers of the Long
Chronology also point out that the lists of Magadhan kings in different sources, though
showing discrepancies on many points, are nevertheless unanimous in placing several kings
between Ajātasattu and Candagutta (Sk: Candragupta). Among them is Udāyin who shifted
his capital from Rājagaha to Pāṭaliputta. They further point out that if the Short Chronology
were adopted, the Nanda dynasty appears to have been founded just after the reign of
Ajātasattu. But on the other hand, it may be pointed out that the Purāṇa as give false
information at some places. Pradyotas who ruled from Avanti are placed at Magadha. But
most historians agree that this Avanti line of dynasty has somehow or the other been inserted
into the Magadhan line of dynasties.
One of the main arguments for the validity of Geiger’s chronological calculations was
a theory proposed by Wickremasinghe that a chronology starting from 483 BCE as the date
of the Buddha’s death was known and used in Sri Lanka until the beginning of the eleventh
century and that the Buddhavara of 544 BCE was generally accepted at a later date (29:
153-161). However, Wickremasinghe’s theory which was based on wrong presuppositions
has been refuted repeatedly (9: 517-531; 13: 39-54; 20: 129-155). It is important to note that
while the Corrected Long Chronology is quite reliable from king Duṭṭhagāmaṇī onwards,
information on the earlier period was derived from oral tradition, and the chronological
calculations were based on rough estimates made by the authors of the earliest Sri Lankan
historiography which forms the basis of the now existing sources. Hence, it has been
suggested that there is no substantial evidence in favour of the Corrected Long Chronology
(3: 34f). It may, therefore, be said that there is no trace of a chronology starting with 483
BCE or 486 BCE in any document of ancient Southern Tradition. These eras are the
inventions of much later scholarship. V.A. Smith found the Sri Lankan chronology prior to
160 BCE as absolutely and completely rejected, as being not merely of doubtful authority but
positively false in its principal propositions (25: 57). The tradition for the period from Vijaya
to Devānaṃpiyatissa, appears suspicious on the ground that Vijaya’s arrival in Sri Lanka (12:
ix.21-22; is dated on the same day as the death of the Buddha. Besides, there are
the round numbers for the length of the simple reigns which have in themselves the
appearance of a set scheme and a positive impossibility in respect of the last two kings of that
period, Paṇḍukābhaya and Muasiva (Geiger, 1912: 12). Here the former is made to live 107
years and the latter despite his becoming king much past his prime, still reigns 60 years (8:
12). It appears that certain names and events in the tradition may indeed be maintained, but
the last reigns were lengthened in order to make Vijaya and the Buddha contemporaries (8:
12). It may be noted that the Southern Tradition appears to have been built and completed by
its authors with certain notions in mind. The figure ‘218 does not appear to have formed a
part of the initial process i.e. of the original text on which the two chronicles are based. The
Dīpavasa has gaps here and there, which are filled up in the Mahāvasa through the
addition and inflation of the periods of reign of various kings. For instance, at one place in
the Dīpavasa, the Buddha is quoted as saying that the Third Council shall take place 118
years after his death (12: i.24-26).
Short Chronology
The Short Chronology is based on the testimony of all the recensions of the Vinaya Piaka
and their Chinese and Tibetan translations, where it is pointed out that the Buddha died 100
or 110 years before the consecration of Asoka, thus, implying that the Mahāparinibbāna
should be dated in the year c.368 BCE or c.378 BCE. The Northern Tradition does not
mention the Third Council for the fact that it had occurred after the schism and hence the
other sects do not mention it as they were unaware of it. Those scholars who do not accept
the Northern Tradition say that it is a contradiction to place Dhammāsoka’s consecration and
the Council of Vesālī in the same year (1: 27-29). But those following this tradition say that
such a thing could not be out of place considering the importance of such an occasion (3: 35).
But numeral 100 is often used in the sense of a large number, without any precise value and
mostly as a rounded off number. But it may be pointed out that though 218 is not a rounded
off number, it may not be acceptable on various other grounds. For instance, as pointed out
earlier, it may have been inflated through additions to an originally much smaller number so
that credence could be given to various personalities as well as events. Rock Edict XIII of
Asoka mentions Sri Lanka (Tambapaṇṇi) as one of the countries to which he dispatched
missionaries. Since this edict belongs to the 13th year of Asoka’s reign, there appears to be an
error in the Southern Tradition which puts the conversion as late as the 18th year. The Sri
Lankan historiography actually may be seen as politically motivated “in order to serve for the
legitimation of the claim of the Sinhalese to be the Buddha’s elected people... which has
misled scholars into the belief that it represents reliable historical information... (which
actually)... is a purely mythological construction without any historical foundation” (3: 35).
Therefore, the Long Chronology must have been developed in an attempt to adjust the
traditional Short Chronology to the particular needs of the Sri Lankan historiography. Matters
are made further difficult for the Long Chronology by the fact that the Sri Lankan sources are
not in complete harmony amongst themselves. Actually if one were to look at the whole issue
dispassionately, it appears that the adherents of the Corrected Long Chronology made “use of
very complicated and artificial arguments in their attempt to work out a coherent
chronological system (3: 35).
The theory of 100 years is widespread throughout the world. The Tibetan sources
place Asoka 100-160 years after the Buddha’s death (8: lxi). Tāranātha says that the Tibetan
Vinaya gives 110 AB as one of the dates for Asoka (8: lxi). Similarly, the Chinese Tripiaka
gives 116, 118, 130 and 218 AB as the dates for Asoka (8: lxi). The last mentioned date,
however, is found apparently only in the Chinese Sudaśana-vibhāṣā Vinaya, which is a
translation of Buddhaghosa’s Samantapāsādikā (8: lxi). In Vasumitra’s account also Asoka is
placed about 100 year after the death of the Buddha (quoted at 8: lxi). According to
Xuanzang, “In the one hundredth year after the Nirvāṇa of the Śākya Tathāgata, King
Aśoka… removed his capital from the city of Rājagha to Pāṭaliputra” (15: 223).
Furthermore, we are told that king Asoka had a half-brother called Mahinda (15: 227) who is
known as a relative of Asoka Moriya. At another place Asoka is given as the great-grandson
of Bimbisāra (15: 223) i.e. grandson of Ajātasattu. But as Asoka was actually Candagutta’s
grandson, the picture appears somewhat contradictory. But there is no reason to believe that
the king in that case was Kāḷāsoka as the description of Asoka matches in so many ways with
Asoka Moriya. Still at another place, Xuanzang points out that The different schools
calculate variously from the death of the Buddha. Some say it is 1200 years and more since
then. Others say, 1300 or more. Others say, 1500 or more. Others say that 900 years have
passed, but not 1000 since the nirvāṇa (15: 186).
The various dates here recorded would correspond with 552 BCE, 652 BCE, 852 BCE
and a date between 252 BCE and 352 BCE. By the last date Xuanzang probably means to
place the death of the Buddha a hundred years before Asoka. The Council of Vesālī’s date as
100 years after the Mahāparinibbāna in the Vinaya of the Theravādins, the Mahīsāsakas, the
Dharmaguptakas, and the Haimavatas and as 110 years in the Vinaya of the
Mūlasarvāstivādins and the Sarvāstivādins had a common origin and we may quite
justifiably be sceptical about the precision of the two numbers thus given (2: 212). But as
there is always a tendency to exaggerate and give round numbers, the figgure 100 may be
interpreted as a rough and round number, which is used to denote a rather lengthy period of
time. šIn placing the council of Vaiśālī 100 or 110 years after the Parinirvāṇa, the authors of
those accounts certainly did not make use of reliable and scrupulously preserved documents
and traditions, a minute examination and critical consideration of which would have allowed
them to fix such a date. Not only did they have but a very vague idea of the time that had
passed between the passing of the Blessed One and the Second Council, but also they did not
know as to how many decades separated the latter event from their period› (2: 212-213). The
Council of Vesālī took place in all probability about 62 years after the Mahāparinibbāna of
the Buddha (see 24: Appendix 1). Because of this, in turn the fact that Sāṇavāsī, one of the
great authorities of this convocation was a personal pupil of Ānanda, becomes credible.
Invariably, the Buddhist texts appear to exaggerate numbers and in all Indian religions there
is always a tendency to claim an antiquity for a religious leader. Of course, as a
counter-argument one may say that the legend-teller monks of Madhurā fabricated the short
period to bring Upagupta, a contemporary of Asoka, closer to the Buddha in time.
Dotted Record
W. Geiger’s discussion of the chronology of the Buddha appears to have been extremely
influential in the acceptance of the Long Chronology as against the Short Chronology (14).
However, the biggest justification for the Long Chronology came in the shape of the Dotted
Record, contained in the Li-tai san-pao chi written by Fei-Chang-fang in 597 CE. In this text
it has been pointed out that according to Saghabhadra
there is a tradition which had been handed down from teacher to teacher for
generations, viz., after the passing away of the Buddha, Upāli collected the Vinaya
and observed the Pavāraṇā on the 15th of the 7th Moon of the same year. Having
offered flowers and incense to the Vinaya on that occasion, he marked a dot (on a
record) and placed it close to the Vinaya text. Thereafter this was repeated every year.
When Upāli was about to depart from this world, he handed it over to his disciple
Dāsaka... Dāsaka to Sonaka... to Siggava... to Moggalīputta Tissa... to Candavajjī. In
this manner the teachers in turn handed it down to the present master of Tripiaka.
This Master brought the Vinaya-piaka to Canton. When he... decided to return to his
(native land)... (he)... handed over the Vinaya-piaka to his disciple Saghabhadra...
Having observed the Pavāraṇā and offered flowers and incense to the Pavāraṇā at
midnight (on the 15th) of the 7th Moon, in the 7th year of Yung-ming (489 AD), he
added a dot (to the Record) as a traditional practice. The total amounted to 975 dots in
that year. A dot is counted as a year (19: 342-345).
Hence, as per this record, the Mahāparinibbāna of the Buddha took place in the year 486
(489 CE- 975 years) BCE (19: 344-345). But Pachow was of the opinion that possibly three
extra dots had been inadvertently added, the actual number of dots in the year 489 CE should
have been 972 and not 975. Thus, the actual date of the Mahāparinibbāna should be 489
CE-972= 483 BCE (19: 342-345).
But this tradition known from the Chinese sources is apparently not of an independent
origin. It has been maintained by Bareau and Takakusu that this tradition initially originated in
Sri Lanka and hence cannot be used reliably (1: 53; 26: 415-439). It appears thus, that the dot
is a later invention to dignify the Vinaya. Moreover, as no written record of the Vinaya
existed till the time of Duṭṭhagāmaṇī in the first century BCE, it is difficult to accept the
authenticity of this tradition. Moreover, the process of adding one dot at the end of every
year during 975 years is extremely precarious (16: 153).
Not only that the tradition of Long Chronology cannot be traced with confidence
earlier than the middle of the eleventh century (30: 597), it is also incompatible with the
chronology of the kings of Magadha. E.J. Thomas was of the view that the relevant passages
in the Dīpavasa (i.24-25 and v.55-59) actually point to the existence of the original Short
Chronology which failed to be assimilated in the Long Chronology of the final version of the
Dīpavaṃsa (28: 18-22). The first passage prophesies that the first council shall take place
four months after the Mahāparinibbāna of the Buddha, and the second 100 years thereafter. In
three of the four manuscripts of the Dīpavaṃsa, the term dve (two) has been inserted before
vassasate (100 years) and in two of the three only subsequently. The second passage
prophesies that in the future, in 100 years (after the Buddha) at the time of Asoka in
Pāṭaliputta, Tissa would rout the heretics.
To sum up the argument thus far, it may be said that there is no special reason on the
basis of which one of these two chronologies may be accepted in preference to the other.
However, archaeological considerations and the lists of the patriarchs (ācariyaparamparā)
appear to favour a younger date for the Buddha. The archaeological records in the Gagā
valley show that (perhaps with the exception of Kosambī) even by c.450 BCE, the new urban
settlements were indeed not those cities which may be expected after reading early Buddhist
literature. Extensive use of baked bricks for construction, well-developed sanitation system
etc. are not found in the excavations till later times. In early Buddhist literature the existence
of prosperous and fully developed urban centres is taken for granted. Though the roots of the
Gagā Urbanization may be traced back to about 500 BCE or so, the archaeological records
clearly suggest that the sort of urban centres that are talked about in the earliest Buddhist
texts could not have come into existence before the end of the fifth century BCE. Critics of
this argument may say that such references are later interpolations or that certain portions of
the Canon are altogether late compositions. But such a criticism will appear to be of a
superficial nature because the whole material milieu reflected in early Buddhist literature is
urban. In fact, Buddhism undoubtedly had its origins in an urban milieu (see for details, 24:
31-33).Uncertain and unsatisfactory as archaeological data still is in this context, it appears to
lean towards supporting a later rather than earlier date for the Mahāparinibbāna of the
Buddha. In other words, there is at least a good case that can be made for the age of the
Buddha being about a century later than generally accepted.
Lists of Patriarchs
In the chronological system on which the Dīpavasa and the Mahāvasa are based, the
succession of the great teachers from Upāli down to Mahinda played an important part. This
ācariyaparamparā is of interest because in it there is a continuous synchronological
connection between the histories of Sri Lanka and India. Here the system appears to have
been carried out in detail and completed. As is clear in the accounts of the Dīpavasa and the
Mahāvasa, there was a teacher/ pupil relationship between them and this continuity is of
vital importance. The lists of ācariyas which occur in the Vinaya, Sri Lankan chronicles and
elsewhere as Vinayadharas, are more reliable and useful than any other form of information
to determine the date of the Buddha. As most of the research was conducted in the light of
number 218, it was given out that the number of Elders (Vin.v.2; DÏp.iv.27-46; Mhv.v.95,
153) as the Vinayapāmokkhas for the period between the Buddha and Asoka caused a
problem. There were not enough number of Elders. Thus, it was pointed out that to bridge the
gap of 218 years each of the elders had to be assigned such a lengthy period of time as
guardian of the Vinaya that it seemed highly unlikely. The statement that the eight Elders
who considered the Ten Extravagances (dasavatthūni) in the Second Council had all seen the
Buddha (12: iv.54-56; Mhv.iv.59), was also seen as creating difficulties. These so-called
contradictions, however, were regarded as faulty records on the part of the Theravādins.
More weight was given to the chronology of the kings, even though this too posed
difficulties. All these problems had come up because the number 218 was thought to be
Here, in the calculation of the date of the Buddha based upon the lists of patriarchs,
the beginning of the reign of Candagutta has been used as the base year as against the year of
Asoka’s coronation. This shortens the gap between the date of the Buddha and the base year,
thus reducing the margin of error. It is more or less certain that Candagutta started to rule in
the year c.317 BCE, though some scholars have put it a few years earlier (see 24: 21).
The Southern Sources relate that five patriarchs transmitted the Vinaya from the time
of the Buddha’s death till the days of Asoka (12: v.55-107; Mhv.v.95-153). These five Elders
were Upāli, Dāsaka, Soaka, Siggava, Moggaliputta Tissa (12: v.95-96).
Seventy-four (years) of Upāli, sixty-four of Dāsaka,
sixty-six of Thera Soaka, seventy-six of Siggava,
eighty of Moggaliputta: this is the Upasampadā of them all (12: v.95).
Though this verse mentions the years of Upasampadā, but in reality they are the years at
which these Elders died. This fact is borne by the verses preceding as well as following this
verse. E.g. 12: v.103 mentions that Upāli died at the age of 74.
Learned Upāli was all the years chief of the Vinaya,
Thera Dāsaka (became chief at the age of) fifty, Sonaka forty-four,
Siggava fifty-five, the (Thera) called Moggaliputta sixty-eight (12: v.96).
It may be interesting to note that 12: V.96 has been taken to imply the number of years for
which the five Elders were the custodians of the Vinaya. This is difficult to accept not only
because it would have been impossible for any Elder to keep the Vinaya for such a long time,
but also because the verse itself does not mean as much as it has been taken to. Rationally
speaking, the numbers mentioned in this verse appear to be the ages of the Elders at which
they became the custodians of the Vinaya. The expression sabbakālahi (i.e., all the years)
in the case of Upāli means that he was the custodian of the Vinaya all the years from the
death of the Buddha till his own death. Furthermore, in the case of Dāsaka, Soaka, Siggava
and Moggaliputta, it is not the total number of years that is given, but the respective ages at
which each of them became the custodian of the Vinaya. That means they became custodians
respectively at the ages of 50th, 44th, 55th, and 68th years of their ages. In other words, they
became custodians respectively when they were 49, 43, 54 and 67 years old. Following this
argument, Upāli, Dāsaka, Soaka, and Siggava were custodians for 30 (74-44), 15 (64-49),
23 (66-23), and 22 (76-54) years respectively.
As the custodianship of these four Vinaya pāmokkhas is mentioned only in years and
no months and days are mentioned, one year per pāmokkha may be added to make-up for the
margin of error. This would put the total period of guardianship of these four pāmokkhas i.e.
the time span between the death of the Buddha and the death of Siggava at approximately
90+4= 94 years. As shall be seen in the following pages, Siggava died in the year c.303 BCE.
This would mean that the Buddha’s death may approximately be placed in the year 303+94=
c.397 BCE.
When 16 years had elapsed after the death of the Buddha, at that time Upāli was 60
years old (12: iv.33, v.76). This means he was 44 (60-16) years old when the Buddha died i.e.
when he became the Vinayapāmokkha. But as mentioned above, he actually lived to be 74.
Thus, Upāli was the custodian of the Vinaya for 30 (74-44) years. This is also supported by a
direct statement in the Dīpavasa that Upāli guarded the Vinaya for 30 years (12: iv.34,
v.89). Dāsaka, who died at the age of 64, was a learned brāhmaa from Vesālī and appears
to have been fairly matured in years at the time of joining the Sagha to study the Dhamma
(12: v.95; Vin.v.2; VA.i.32, 62, 235, vii.1304 etc.). When Upāli died, Udaya had completed 6
years of his 16-year reign (12: v.97). This means during the last 10 (16-6) years of Udaya’s
reign, Dāsaka was the custodian of the Vinaya. But Dāsaka died when 8 years of the 10-year
reign of Susunāga had elapsed (12: v.97). As Anuruddhaka/ Muṇḍa ruled for 8 years between
Udaya and Susunāga, Dāsaka appears to have been the custodian for a total of 10+8+8= 26
years. Soaka joined the Sagha at the age of 15 at Rājagaha (Vin.v.2; VA.1.32, 62, 235,
vii.1304 etc.). Susunga ruled for 10 years and Dāsaka died 8 years after the end of
Susunāga’s reign (12: v.98). After the death of Susunāga, the Ten Brothers reigned for 22
years and Soaka died when 6 years of their reign were over (12: v.99). This means So‡aka
kept the Vinaya during the last two years of the reign of Susunāga and first 6 years of the
reign of the Ten Brothers, making it 8 (2+6) years.
Siggava, joined the Sagha at the age of 18. Siggava was the custodian during the
remaining 16 (22-6) years of the reign of the Ten Brothers. Siggava died when 14 years of the
reign of Candagutta had elapsed (12: v.73, 100). In other words, Siggava was the custodian
for a total period of 30 (16+14) years. But as shall be seen in the following paragraphs,
Candagutta did not succeed the Ten Brothers who began their reign not at Pāṭaliputta but
elsewhere because it has been pointed out that Susunāga had a son called Kāḷāsoka who held
power at Pāṭaliputta (12: v.25) for a period of 28 years (Mhv.iv.7). It appears after his
governorship for ten years during Susunāga’s reign, ḷāsoka reigned for 28-10=18 years as
a king at Pāṭaliputta and the Ten Brothers continued to rule from the same place as Susunāga
after the possible split of the kingdom. In other words, it appears that Candagutta succeeded
Kāḷāsoka at Pāṭaliputta and the Ten Brothers (possibly the Nandas) at Rājagaha. Siggava was
64 years old when Candagutta had completed 2 years of his reign (12: v.81). Candagutta’s
reign began in the year c.317 BCE. This means that in the year c.315 (317-2) BCE Siggava
was 64 years old. But as Siggava died at the age of 76, that means, he lived for another 12
(76-64) years after 315 BCE. This would put the death of Siggava in the year c.303 (315-12)
BCE. This statement is also supported by another reference where it has been pointed out that
Siggava died 14 years after the beginning of the reign of Candagutta (12: v.73, 100) i.e.,
c.303 (317-14) BCE.
The upshot of the calculation made above is as follows:
The death of Siggava took place in the year c.303 BCE. Soaka died 30 years
before Siggava. Dāsaka died 8 years before Soaka. Upāli died 26 years
before Dāsaka. The Buddha died 30 years before Upāli. In other words,
between c.303 BCE and the death of the Buddha 94 (30+8+26+30) years had
elapsed. This would mean that the Buddha died in the year c.397 (303+94)
It must finally be emphasized that the sources are not always exact in their calculation
of time supposing a deviation by one year has not been accepted. Numbers of years for which
a particular king reigned or an Elder kept the Vinaya are given as rounded off numbers in the
records. Months and days are not mentioned. A deviation of a couple of years one way or
another cannot be denied in a calculation involving about 100 years or so. Thus, the 397 BCE
may only be taken as a rough approximation to the year in which the Buddha expired.
Some scholars strongly support the Long Chronology on the basis of three Asokan
edicts of Sāhasārām, Rūpanāth and Bairāṭ which refer to the figure 256. This figure has been
interpreted by these scholars to mean a time span of 256 years between the installation of
these inscriptions and the Mahāparinibbāna (6: 149-160; 17). An attempt has also been made
by scholars to present a date akin to Short Chronology on the basis of these inscriptions. E.g.,
T.W. Rhys Davids provided “426 BCE, or perhaps a few years later› as the date of the
Mahāparinibbāna by pointing out that the number 256 represents the time-span between the
installation of these inscriptions and the abandonment of home by the Buddha (22: 37).
However, there are scholars who have not even accepted these inscriptions as those of Asoka
(21: 145). There are others who point out that these inscriptions do not say as much as it has
been made out. E.g. Hermann Oldenberg pointed out that not only that the inscriptions
contain no word for years, they also do not refer to the Buddha but to 256 beings (18:
472-476). In other words, the date of the Buddha continues to remain one of the most
disputed controversies in the history of India.
Cross-References: Ajātasattu, Buddha, Buddhaghosa, Mahāparinibbāna, Tipiaka,
Vasumitra, Vesālī, Vinaya Piaka.
1. Bareau, A. 1953. La date du nirvāṇa, Journal Asiatique, Vol. 241: 27-62.
2. Bareau, A. 1995. “The Problem Posed by the Date of the Buddha’s Parinirvāṇa, in
Bechert, 1995: 212ff.
3. Bechert, H. 1982. The Date of the Buddha Reconsidered, Indologica Taurinensia, 10:
4. Bechert, H. (ed.). 1995. When Did the Buddha Live?, Bibliotheca Indo-Buddhica Series
No. 165, Delhi, Sri Satguru Publications.
5. Bhattasali, N.K. 1932. Mauryan Chronology and Connected Problems, Journal of the
Royal Asiatic Society, Part II: 283.
6. hler, G. 1877. “Three New Edicts of Aśoka,” Indian Antiquary, 6, 1877: 149-160.
7. Eggermont, P.H.L. 1956. The Chronology of the Reign of Asoka Moriya, Leiden: E.J. Brill.
8. Geiger, W (ed.) 1908. The Mahāvaṃsa, London: Pali Text Society.
9. Hultzsch, E. 1913. Contributions to Singhalese Chronology, Journal of the Royal Asiatic
Society: 517-531.
10. Kern, H. 1896. Manual of Indian Buddhism, Strassburg: Grundriæ der indo-arischen
Philologie und Altertumskunde, III, Band 8 Heft.
11. Lamotte, E. 1988. History of Indian Buddhism: From the Origins to the Śaka Era, tr. Sara
Webb-Boin, Louvain-la-Neuve: Insitut Orientaliste. Originally published in French in 1959.
12. Law, B C (ed. and Tr.) 1958. The Chronicle of the Island of Ceylon or the Dīpavasa,
Colombo: The Ceylon Historical Journal, 7, 1958: 1-266
13. Mendis, G.C. 1947. The Chronology of the Early Pāli Chronicle of Ceylon, University
of Ceylon Review, 5, No.1: 39-54.
14. Law, B.C. 1982. India as Described in Early Texts of Buddhism and Jainism, reprint, Motilal
Banarsidas, Delhi
15. Li, Rongxi (trans.) 1996. The Great Tang Dynasty Record of the Western Regions,
Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley.
16. Müller, F. Max. 1884. “The True Date of Buddha’s Death,” The Academy, No. 667, 1
March 1884: 152-153.
17. Narain, A.K. (ed.). 2003. The Date of the Historical Śākyamuni Buddha, Delhi: B.R.
18. Oldenberg, H. 1881. “Die Datierung der neuen angeblichen Asoka-Inschriften, Zeitschrift
der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft, 35, 1881: 472-476.
19. Pachow, W. 1965. “A Study of the Dotted Record,” Journal of the American Oriental
Society, vol. 83 (3), July-September 1965: 342-45.
20. Paranavitana, S. 1960. New Light on the Buddhist Era in Ceylon and Early Sinhalese
Chronology, University of Ceylon Review, 18: 129-155.
21. Pischel, R. 1977. “The Aśokan Inscriptions, The Academy, XII, 11 August 1877: 145.
22. Rhys Davids, T.W. 1877. “The New Asoka Inscriptions,” The Academy, XII, 14 July 1877:
23. Rhys Davids, T.W. 1922. The Early History of the Buddhists, in E.J. Rapson (ed.), The
Cambridge History of India, vol. 1, Cambridge: 171-197.
24. Sarao, K.T.S. 2010. Origin and Nature of Ancient Indian Buddhism, New Delhi:
Munshiram Manoharlal: 17-33.
25. Smith, V.A. 1901. Aśoka: The Buddhist Emperor of India, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
26. Takakusu, J. 1896. “Pāli Elements in Chinese Buddhism: A Translation of Buddhaghosa’s
Samantapāsādikā, a Commentary on the Vinaya, Found in the Chinese Tripiaka,” Journal of
the Royal Asiatic Society, New Series, 28, 1896: 415-439.
27. Thapar, R. 1960. Aśoka and the Decline of the Mauryas, Bombay: Oxford University
Press: 12-16.
28. Thomas, E J. 1946. Theravādin and Sarvāstivādin dates of the Nirvāṇa in D.R.
Bhandarkar et al (eds.), B.C. Law Volume, vol. 2, Poona: 18-22.
29. Wickremasinghe, D.M.Z. 1904-12. Kiribat-Vehera Pillar Inscription, Epigraphia
Zeylanica, I: 153-161.
30. Winternitz, M. 1933. A History of Indian Literature, vol. 2, Calcutta: University of
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Full-text available
ABOUT THE BOOK This book offers a serious exploration of the many different aspects of ancient Indian Buddhism. In the recent past controversy relating to date of the Buddha has been resurrected. The author has discussed this issue in detail and has suggested his own date for the Mahāparinibbāna. Buddhist attitude towards women and ahiṃsā has also been analyzed from a new perspective. The book examines in detail the background to the origin of Buddhism especially the role of iron in it. The issue as to what extent Buddhism was an urban religion has also been discussed. Most of the arguments in the book have been based on extensive data collected from the PÈli Tipiṭaka. This data is provided in the form of appendices at the end of the book. ABOUT THE AUTHOR K.T.S. Sarao is presently Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Delhi. He received his first class first MA (History), MPhil (Chinese & Japanese Studies), and PhD (Buddhist History) from the University of Delhi. He was a Commonwealth Scholar at the University of Cambridge (1985-1989) from where he obtained his second doctorate through the Faculty of Oriental Studies. Professor Sarao has been a visiting professor/fellow at Dongguk University (Seoul, S. Korea), Chung-Hwa Institute of Buddhist Studies (Jinshan, Taiwan), St. Edmunds College (Cambridge University, UK), Maison des Sciences de L=Homme (Paris, France), Department of Religious Studies (Toronto University, Canada), Visvabharati (Santiniketan, India), and Pali College (Singapore).
After an initial period in which the Buddhist faith did not spread beyond the boundaries of the region where the Buddha spent his life, the territorial expansion of the Mauryan Empire under the famous king Asoka (r. ca. 270-ca. 230 BC) enabled Buddhism to quickly spread throughout India. The dispute between the Sarvstivdins and the Mahsghikas on the nature of the wheel of the doctrine and on the event that should be considered as the first turning of this wheel of the doctrine is an interesting example of scholarly debate between different Hinayna groups on the Indian subcontinent. This chapter includes 1. Treatment of the Subject in sutra and vinaya Literature 2. Treatment of the Subject in Sarvstivda Abhidharma Literature 3. The Relation of Speech" as the Nature of the Wheel of the Doctrine to Other Mahsghika Doctrinal Standpoints. Keywords: Buddhism; mahsghika; Mauryan Empire; sutra; sarvstivda; vinaya
This book is an interpretive analysis of the role of icons (images) of the Jina (the perfected, liberated, and enlightened teachers) in Jainism. The book places different interpretive frames around the icon to understand some of the many ways that Jina icons have functioned in Jainism. Most of these frames are iconophilic narratives to account for and defend the origin, presence, and history of the Jina icons. There are also iconoclastic critiques of icons as idols that depict the introduction and worship of icons as a corruption of original Jainism. The Jain narratives include cosmological depictions of the universe, "mythical" accounts from Jain narrative history, and "historical" accounts located within India. Interpretation of the frames involves comparative discussions of materials from Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam. It also involves comparative analysis of scripture and mandalas. The book fits within the growing field of scholarship on images and icons in the world's religious traditions.
This volume is about the history of the decline of the Mauryan dynasty in ancient India and the reign of Asoka Maurya. It describes the sources of information for this study and Asoka's early life, and his accession to the throne. It discusses the social and economic activity, internal administration, and foreign relations in Mauryan India and evaluates the role of Asoka's policy of Dhamma in bringing social order. It highlights the weaknesses of the Mauryan rulers who followed after Asoka's death and suggests reasons for the subsequent decline of the Mauryan dynasty.