The many voices of Buddhaghosa: a commentator and our times

Oscar Carrera


This paper examines contemporary dissent from orthodox Theravāda Buddhism. It presents four modern Buddhist thinkers who hold the fifth century commentator Buddhaghosa responsible for a drastic change in Buddhist doctrine. Several reasons are proposed to explain this ‘distortion’: it may be attributed to an excess of literalism (Shravasti Dhammika) or to the introduction of foreign ideas, drawn from other Buddhist schools (David J. Kalupahana) or from Brahmanism (Buddhadāsa Bhikkhu, Sue Hamilton). It will be argued that, in such cases, the figure of Buddhaghosa is linked to a particular reconstruction of ‘the Buddha’s Buddhism’, of which he is presented as a semi-legendary antagonist.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Oscar Carrera