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Aśvaghoṣa


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An early Sarvāstivādin master, born 1st–2nd century ce in Ayodhyā. A court poet of the Kuṣāṇa king Kaniṣka (it is not clear whether this was Kaniṣka I or II), he composed poetic and dramatic works on Buddhist themes, such as the Buddhacarita, a life of the Buddha.the Saundarananda, an account of the conversion of Nanda, and the Śāriputraprakaraṇa or ‘Story of Śāriputra’. Tradition also ascribes to him the Mahāyāna-śraddhotpāda Śāstra. His most famous work is the first of these, a biography of the Buddha in epic mahākāvya style (the style of the great Sanskrit literary classics). Originally in 28 cantos, only 17 survive in Sanskrit, the remainder being preserved in Tibetan and Chinese translations. The author's deep respect and reverence for the Buddha is unmistakable in all his compositions and he is viewed by many as a follower of the Mahāyāna.

Subjects: Buddhism.


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