Monuments and Mainstreets by Harris Stone

By Harris Stone

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14. Divyāvadāna. XXVI. The quotation cited here was taken from an identical passage in John Strong’s translation of the Aśokāvadāna. John S. Strong, The Legend of King Aśoka: A Study and Translation of the Aśokāvadāna (Princeton University Press, 1983), 192. 15. Strong, The Legend of King Aśoka, 195. 16. Strong, The Legend of King Aśoka, 195 17. Strong, The Legend of King Aśoka, 196. 18. The only possible exception of which I am aware is one passage in the Cula Vagga of the Vinaya Pitaka that forbids the portrayal of human or animal figures on mon˙ astery walls and stipulates that vegetal designs should be used instead.

1 This text, which is ostensibly a discussion of the sculpture at the Buddhist monasteries of Sāñcī and Amarāvatī, devolves into a wide-ranging evaluation of human civilization based largely on racial determinism. As part of this analysis, Fergusson identifies representations of serpents within religious contexts as an explicit indication of social decline, regardless of the setting. In this case, Fergusson’s own Protestant background, which associates serpents with corruption, is projected onto all cultures without questioning the meanings associated with snakes in each specific society, region, or historical period.

According to the legend, while the Buddha was in heaven preaching to his deceased mother and the gods, King Prasenajit grew eager to see the Buddha again. So he commissioned his artists to carve an image of wood and had it placed in the monastery. ”25 After this greeting, the Buddha instructed the image to return to the monastery, where it would serve as a pattern for his followers after he was gone. Significantly, the image in this story is revealed to be capable of a great deal of independent action even though it is the copy of a From the Living Rock | 35 living person.

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