Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu

nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov
Sat Jul 8 03:17:45 UTC 1995

July 7, 1995

          Re: Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu

In November 1994, Dr. Michel Rabe posted a query on the above question.
1) Wendy Doniger, Hindu myths, Penguin, 1975 and
2) Cornelia Dimmit, Classical Hindu mythology: a reader in Sanskrit
puranas, Temple university press give some sources in Sanskrit.

Later Hinduism absorbed/appropriated several traits of Buddhism.
Sankara was called "prasanna bauddha (hidden buddhist)" by Ramanuja.

In northern Sri Lanka, a buddhist vihara was converted into a Vishnu temple.
In late 19th century, during renovation, a gold plate inscription
and a huge Buddha limestone image were unearthed. A British collector,
Sir Henry Blake donated the Buddha image to King of Siam in 1906. It 
stands now in Wat Benja (The Marble Temple), Bangkok. This early image 
belongs to Amaravati school of Art (3rd-4th century A.D.)
It seems that Hinduization of Buddhist viharas to Vishnu temples have
some connections to Hindu puranas calling Buddha as an avatar of Vishnu.

n. ganesan
nas_ng at lms461.jsc.nasa.gov


a) S. Paranavitana, Vallipuram gold plate inscription,
Inscriptions of Ceylon, 2, pt. 1, 1983, p. 79-81

b) Peter Schalk, The Vallipuram Buddha image rediscovered,
Jl. of the institute of Asian studies, (Madras), v. XII, no. 1,
Sep. 1994, p. 115-122.


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