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Aus Kṣemendras Bodhisattvāvadānakalpalatā: Das Kāśisundarāvadāna (Nr. 29)

Pages 89 - 120



Among the many narratives of the Buddhist jātaka literature there is a popular story of a forebearing ascetic — in most versions called Kṣāntivādin (“Teacher of Forebearance”) — who without the slightest sign of anger endures the cruel mutilation of his body by a jealous king. Kṣemendra in his Bodhisattvāvadānakalpalatā (Av-klp) narrates the story two times obviously retelling two different versions of the story. This article deals with the first and longer one (chapter 29 in Kṣemendra's collection) called Kāśisundarāvadāna. As is often the case Kṣemendra borrows his subject matter from a story akin to one found in the Mūlasarvāstivāda-Vinaya (MSV). This can be decuced from frequent verbal reminiscences as well as from the common structure and content of both versions. One element common to both stories is most striking: the frame story of prince Kāśisundara who renounces the hereditary throne in order to become an ascetic then called “Kṣāntivādin” because of his extraordinary forebearance. While it is no surprise to find this frame story of the MSV version also in Kṣemendra's retelling (which is even named Kāśisundarāvadāna), it is not easy to account for yet another occurence of the same story of Kāśisundara in the Jātakamālā of the 6th century poet Haribhaṭṭa. In his Kāśisundarajātaka he relates the encounter of the ascetic Kāśisundara with a charming kinnarī, a story which has not much in common with the Kṣāntivādin story of the MSV, except for the frame story of a prince renouncing the throne. After discussing the relations of these three versions the second and main part of this article is devoted to a new edition and translation of Kṣemendra's Kāśisundarāvadāna and its Tibetan translation done in the 13th century by the Tibetan tranlator Śoṅ-ston Rdo-rje-rgyal-mtshan und the Indian pundit Lakṣmīkara. No Indian manuscript of the first half of the Sanskrit text of Kṣemendra's Av-klp has survived, but the complete Sanskrit text was printed in a bilingual Tibetan block print — in Tibetan characters of course — along with the Tibetan translation. This block print edition was prepared under the auspices of the 5th Dalai Lama in ad 1665 and was reprinted later. During the transmission in Tibet the Sanskrit text has suffered many slight but also a few serious corruptions which were only partly emended in the editio princeps of the Av-klp. As has already been demonstrated in a number of publications by different authors the text of the Av-klp can be considerably bettered by a careful analysis of the textual sources as well as by recourse to Kṣemendra's sources, and this was also possible in the case of the Kāśisundarāvadāna.


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