Ashvaghosha

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Ashvaghosha (Skt. Aśvaghoṣa; Tib. རྟ་དབྱངས་, Tayang; Wyl. rta dbyangs) (b. ca. first century) — originally a Hindu master, known as Durdharṣakāla, Bhavideva (bha bi lha), or Mātṛceta [1], he became a Buddhist after being defeated in debate by Aryadeva[2] at Nalanda University. He went on to compose many texts in beautiful Sanskrit verse, including the Buddhacharita, the most famous work on the life of Buddha. He authored the important Fifty Stanzas on Following a Teacher.[3]

Quotations

སའམ་འོན་ཏེ་མཐོ་རིས་ན། །

སྐྱེས་ནས་ལ་ལ་མ་ཤི་བ། །
འགའ་ཞིག་ཁྱོད་ཀྱིས་མཐོང་བའམ། །

ཐོས་སམ་འོན་ཏེ་ཐེ་ཚོམ་ཟ། །

Have you ever, on earth or in the heavens,
Seen a being who was born but will not die?
Have you ever heard that this had happened?
Or even had suspicions that it might?

Aśvaghoṣa, Letter of Consolation


དྲང་སྲོང་ཆེན་པོ་ལྔ་མངོན་ཤེས། །

མཁའ་ལ་རྒྱང་རིང་འགྲོ་བ་ཡང་། །
གང་ན་འཆི་མེད་སྤྱོད་ཡུལ་བའི། །

གནས་དེར་འགྲོ་བ་ཡོད་མ་ཡིན། 

Great rishis with the five superknowledges,
Can fly far and wide through the sky,
Yet they will never reach a place
Where they might live and never die.

Aśvaghoṣa, Letter of Consolation


Further Reading

  • Lobsang N. Tsonawa, Indian Buddhist Pandits from The Jewel Garland of Buddhist History (Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, 1985).
  • Lama Chimpa, Alaka Chattopadhyaya and Debiprasad Chatterji, Taranatha's History of Buddhism in India (Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass, 1990), pages 124-126 & 131-136.

Notes

  1. Some sources state that Mātṛceta was in fact a disciple of Ashvagosha.
  2. This is according to Taranatha's History of Buddhism in India. According to other sources, he was defeated by Pārśva.
  3. Scholars generally think the Ashvaghosha who wrote the Fifty Stanzas on Following a Teacher is a different master to the famous author of Buddhacarita.

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