Metaphor and Pedagogy in Early Buddhist Literature: An Edition and Study of Two Sūtras from the Senior Collection of Gāndhārī Manuscripts
Marino, Joseph A
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines the role of metaphorical language in early Buddhist literature through the lens of two previously unpublished Gāndhārī sūtras on a manuscript from the Robert Senior Collection. At the microscopic level, I offer an edition, translation, and textual analysis of a Buddhist manuscript containing two Saṃyuktāgama-type sūtras written in the Gāndhārī language and Kharoṣṭhī script. I study the writing and language of the manuscript in sections on paleography, orthography, phonology, and morphology. I then offer extensive text notes making sense of the sūtras and comparing them with parallel texts in Pāli, Sanskrit, and Chinese. At the telescopic level, I study the pedagogical and rhetorical functions of metaphorical language, broadly conceived, in early Buddhist literature, particularly through the lens of two evocative similes that are the central motifs of the Gāndhārī sūtras under consideration. The first simile compares a well-defended fortress to a mindful practitioner, while the second compares bodies of people born in hell to a red-hot iron ball. Additionally, I examine a metaphor that compares hell, and also existence in saṃsāra, to a "great conflagration." Through this analysis, I show that the Gāndhārī similes and metaphor allude to wide-reaching networks of imagery found throughout early Buddhist literature that enhance our interpretation of the Gāndhārī sūtras. Moreover, they illustrate a common didactic strategy, a kind of "pedagogy of metaphor," that was used to engage the imaginations of traditional audiences and convey complex Buddhist teachings.