Friday, May 9

How Ajātaśatru Was Reformed: The Domestication of "Ajase" and Stories in Buddhist History

Magadh was the source of so many empires son which has made a huge impact on the world. Bimbisara to Ajatshatru to his successors in the nanda dynasty to the maurya empire. This empire gave rise to Buddhism Jainism and significantly enhanced Hinduism. Changed the course of history of billions of people in India and across Asia. One of the greatest empires was born here. 

And the book review talks about how this story morphs as it crosses time, countries, and cultures. Fascinating 



H-Net Reviews

Michael Radich.How Ajātaśatru Was Reformed: The Domestication of "Ajase" and Stories in Buddhist History. Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 2011. iii + 202 pp. ISBN 978-4-906267-65-1.

Reviewed by Juan Wu (The University of Tokyo)
Published on H-Buddhism (March, 2013)
Commissioned by Dan Lusthaus

The present book provides the broadest and most systematic survey to date of the history of the transmission and transformation of the Ajātaśatru (Japanese: Ajase) narrative in the Buddhist world, tracing its two and a half millennia-long journey from ancient India, across medieval China, to premodern and modern Japan. The primary concern of this survey is to explore the process of how the Ajātaśatru narrative was changed, gradually and transculturally, from a patricide-regicide tragedy in its ancient Indian versions eventually into a story about mother-son psychological conflicts in its modern Japanese presentations. Michael Radich has performed an exemplary feat of synthesizing abundant and complex textual materials coming from a wide range of historical and cultural backgrounds and composed in a variety of languages (Pāli, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese). Through demonstrating the great diversity and adaptability of the Ajātaśatru narrative throughout its history, Radich suggests that the modern Japanese domesticated versions, however unusual they appear to be, should be understood within and contextualized as part of the long and continuous process of transformation of this narrative. There seems to be no precedent study, so far as I am aware, that has offered us such a wide and holistic perspective on the history of the Ajātaśatru/Ajase narrative spanning from ancient India to modern Japan. Radich surely deserves great praise and gratitude for his remarkable contribution to our knowledge of both the historical transformations of the Ajātaśatru/Ajase narrative in particular, and the significance of Buddhist stories in the study of the history of Buddhism in general.

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