Cover of Buddhacarita: In Praise of Buddha's Acts
BDK America
Publish Date: 
Charles Willemen


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Here is a full biography of Śākyamuni Gautama Buddha, written by Aśvaghoṣa, the great Buddhist poet of the first century A.D. Complete in one volume.

Complete biography of Gautama Buddha


Taishō 192

Volume 4

Buddhacarita: In Praise of Buddha's Acts

Buddhacarita: In Praise of Buddha's Acts is a biography of Śākyamuni written by Aśvaghoṣa, the great Buddhist poet of the first century A.D. (v. No. 93). Whereas the extant Sanskrit text begins with Śākyamuni’s birth and, describing his youth and mental anguishes, ends with his defeat of Māra, the Chinese version deals with the rest of his life as well, thus forming a complete biography. This latter half is not, however, an addition which was appended to the text in China, but has simply been lost from the original Sanskrit. This biography, then, is especially valuable for representing the full scope of the original work.

As noted in the Translator's Introduction to the volume, the Chinese version lacks the full poetic and literary refinement of the extant Sanskrit version.

Skt. Buddhacarita, translated by Tán Wúchèn [var. Fafeng] into the Chinese as Fo suoxing zan (佛所行讃). 5 fascicles.

Table of Contents

A Message on the Publication of the English Tripiṭaka  NUMATA Yehan   v
Editorial Foreword    MAYEDA Sengaku   vii
Publisher’s Foreword    John R. McRae    ix
Translator’s Introduction    Charles Willemen    xiii

Buddhacarita: In Praise of Buddha’s Acts

Fascicle One

Chapter I. Birth 3
Chapter II. Life in the Palace 13
Chapter III. Disgust 19
Chapter IV. Renunciation 25
Chapter V. Leaving the City 31

Fascicle Two

Chapter VI. Chandaka’s Return 39
Chapter VII. Entry into the Forest of Asceticism 45
Chapter VIII. The Whole Palace in Grief 51
Chapter IX. The Search for the Crown Prince 59

Fascicle Three

Chapter X. King Bimbisāra Goes to the Crown Prince 69
Chapter XI. The Reply to King Bimbisāra 75
Chapter XII. Visits to Ārāḍa and Udraka 83
Chapter XIII. Māra’s Destruction 93
Chapter XIV. Abhisaṃbodhi 99
Chapter XV. Turning the Wheel of the Law 107

Fascicle Four

Chapter XVI. King Bimbisāra and Disciples 113
Chapter XVII. Conversion of the Great Disciples 123
Chapter XVIII. The Conversion of Anāthapiṇḍada 129
Chapter XIX. The Meeting of Father and Son 137
Chapter XX. Acceptance of the Jetavana Pure Abode 145
Chapter XXI. Subduing the Maddened Elephant Dhanapālaka 151
Chapter XXII. Lady Āmra[pālī]’s Meeting with the Buddha 157

Fascicle Five

Chapter XXIII. Staying Alive through [the Buddha’s] Divine Power 161
Chapter XXIV. Farewell to the Licchavis 167
Chapter XXV. Parinirvāṇa 173
Chapter XXVI. The Great Parinirvāṇa 181
Chapter XXVII. The Eulogy of Nirvana 191
Chapter XXVIII. The Division of the Relics 201

Notes 209
Glossary 219
Bibliography 223
Index 225
A List of the Volumes of the BDK English Tripiṭaka (First Series) 245