Re: [INDOLOGY] Vajrasūcī

Hartmut Buescher buescherhartmut at
Sun Jan 26 20:52:42 UTC 2020

Thanks for the interesting references expanding on the notion of

an *ākāśagāmin* in immediate textual association with the early Aśvaghoṣa,

and likewise to Dan for reminding me/us of YS 3.42.

Of course, the spiritual metaphors of moving in(to)/within space and doing

so 'auf dem Pfade des Windes' are both ancient and belong together; we just

have to recall the frequently studied Vedic hymn ṚV 10.136.

Thus, considered decontextualized, *Vajrasūcī* 12 has little force with

to revealing much about its historical authorship.

Yet, when stumbling over this verse, its authorship had already been

disconnected from Aśvaghoṣa, the 1st–2nd century CE author, with the

weight of his erudition by Vincent, saying “we might perhaps agree that

the *Vajrasūcī* is unlikely to have been composed before the 3rd-4th
century CE.

I am inclined to believe that it is even younger.” Placing the *terminus
post quem*

into the 3rd-4th century does likewise entail that “the word of caution

chronology with respect to Manu” as shortly elaborated by Johannes

however pertinent for the cases adduced, has rather lost its relevance for

the *Vajrasūcī*. And having not yet met with the notion of an *ākāśagāmin*

in the various Buddhist philosophical contexts elaborating their notions of

*mārga* in the centuries pointed out as the temporal frame for

(at the present stage of our knowledge) locating a *terminus post quem*, the

question of *siddhācārya* as a marker that distinguishes the *Vajrasūcī*’s

Aśvaghoṣa from Aśvaghoṣa, the 1st–2nd century CE author, did assume

suggestive significance. That is, despite the often questionable reliability

of colophons.

Yet, once we hypothetically admit the significance of such a marker to

socially and historically contextualize a *siddhācārya *Aśvaghoṣa, it is

to look at the assertion of *Vajrasūcī* 12 and try to understand it in the

context of how the Buddhists historically have dealt with the ethical

of killing animals/sentient beings and enjoying them as food for human

(ritually embedded or not). Doing so one may arrive at reasonable results,

which nevertheless remain hypothetical ones, unless additionally backed up.

All the best, Hartmut

On Sun, Jan 26, 2020 at 4:48 PM Roland Steiner via INDOLOGY <
indology at> wrote:

> > the notion of an *ākāśagāmin*
> See also:
> Buddhacarita 1.80: [...] pavanapathena yathāgatam jagāma.
> Allegorical play (probably by Aśvaghoṣa); description of the eight
> ṛdhhi-s of the Buddha: ... (pakṣī)va vyomni yāti ... (ed. Lüders 1911,
> p. 66).
> Aśvaghoṣa's Śāriputraprakaraṇa : ca vāyoḥ / (Lüders, "Das
> Śāriputraprakaraṇa, ein Drama des Aśvaghoṣa", p. 396; n. 4:
> "Sicherlich war hier vom Wandeln 'auf dem Pfade des Windes' [...] die
> Rede.")
> Best,
> Roland Steiner
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