Neglected Witnesses: Reassessing the Pre-Institutional Thought of the Aṭṭhakavagga from Its Chinese Version the Yizujing (義足經) and Its Fragmentary Versions in Sanskrit and Gāndhārī


The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Dissertation Fellowships in Buddhist Studies


Asian Languages and Cultures


I provide annotated translations of the Chinese Yizujing (義足經) (the Sūtra of Profound Meaning, T198) and its parallels––the Pāli Aṭṭhakavagga and the two fragmentary versions in Sanskrit (Hoernle, 1916) and Gāndhārī (Falk, 2011). Then, I undertake a cross-textual study of the four versions word for word. In so doing, I argue that the content of this rich textual amalgam spans from the pre-institutional stage of Buddhism to the incipiency of Buddhist institutionalization. I suggest that in the earliest phase of Buddhism, multiple contradicting ideas could have coexisted with little conflict and Buddhist compilers would not have yet had an acute sense of a distinctive Buddhist identity.