The Legend and Cult of Upagupta: Sanskrit Buddhism in North India and Southeast Asia

Overview

The Buddhist monk Upagupta, who preached and taught meditative practices in Northwest India over two thousand years ago, is venerated today by the laity in parts of Burma, Thailand, and Laos as a protective figure endowed with magical powers. In this monumental work John Strong offers a systematic presentation of the Indian and Southeast Asian legends and rituals surrounding this popular saint. Once considered by Buddhist authorities as only marginally important, Upagupta emerges here as a central, ubiquitous ...

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Overview

The Buddhist monk Upagupta, who preached and taught meditative practices in Northwest India over two thousand years ago, is venerated today by the laity in parts of Burma, Thailand, and Laos as a protective figure endowed with magical powers. In this monumental work John Strong offers a systematic presentation of the Indian and Southeast Asian legends and rituals surrounding this popular saint. Once considered by Buddhist authorities as only marginally important, Upagupta emerges here as a central, ubiquitous figure within the Buddhist world. The author demonstrates the remarkable continuity among traditions focused on Upagupta in ancient Sarvastivadin Sanskrit materials, key Pali texts, medieval Thai and Burmese texts, and contemporary oral traditions and religious rituals in Southeast Asia. In so doing he reflects the orientation of popular Sanskrit Hinayana Buddhism, which allows for new perspectives on such classic questions as the nature of enlightenment, the role of asceticism, the problem of evil, the worship of the Buddha image, the veneration of saints, master-disciple relationships, the treatment of heterodoxy, and the relation of myth and ritual.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691073897
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 2/16/1992
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.57 (h) x 1.08 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
Preface
Note and Abbreviations
Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Upagupta in India
Ch. 1 Provisions for the Buddha's Absence 23
Ch. 2 Monk and Monkey: Upagupta's Karmic Past 44
Ch. 3 Birth and Lineage, Patriarchs, and the Forest-Monk Tradition 57
Ch. 4 Lay Life, Ordination, and Arhatship 75
Ch. 5 Upagupta and Mara: Bhakti and the Buddha Body 93
Ch. 6 Master-Disciple Relations 118
Ch. 7 Upagupta and Asoka 145
Pt. 2 Upagupta in Southeast Asia
Ch. 8 The Southeast Asian Context: Upagupta and Theravada Orthodoxy 171
Ch. 9 The Lokapannatti Legend 186
Ch. 10 Mythic Elaborations and Ritual Developments 209
Ch. 11 Upagupta and the Arhat Cults 236
Ch. 12 Communal Cults: Upagupta as Protector of Festivals 253
Ch. 13 Personal Rewards and Domestic Rites 273
Conspectus and Conclusion 291
Notes 297
Glossary 347
Bibliography of Works Cited 353
Index 377
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