When the Little Buddhas are no more Vinaya transformations in the early 4th century BC

Alexander Wynne


The Verañja-kaṇḍa, which introduces the Pali Vinaya, is as unusual as it is important. It will be argued here that its peculiar narrative, set in the obscure North-West and focusing on the six Buddhas of the past, is a veiled reference to Buddhist debates of the mid 4th century BC. Part of a major restructuring of the Vinaya around the time of the Second Council, the Verañja-kaṇḍa helped distinguish ‘Pātimokkha Buddhism’ from the looser, more ascetic movement of Gotama.

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