Among the many interesting and compelling characters in the canon, I’ll just highlight one here: Jīvaka. Not only is his story charming as a tale, but you can now read the original telling thanks to Ajahn Brahmali’s new translation of the Vinaya Piṭaka which just dropped this month on SuttaCentral. A huge congratulations to him and the SuttaCentral team for launching the latest update to their site, and a huge encouragement to you, dear reader, to go and check it out!
In Buddha’s India, I’ve highlighted works that help explain the social world that the Buddha was born into and how he transformed it. This is especially visible in how Buddhism adopted and adapted legendary beings from the local culture. Bhante Sujato’s talk about the Buddhist adoption of “Evil Creatures” and Linda Covill’s article on the adaptation of “Celestial Nymphs” are both especially inspiring examples of how skillfully this was done.
Buddhism itself, of course, also adapted in the centuries since its founder. Considering the diversity of early Buddhist schools, it may be tempting to project the current diversity of Buddhism back onto ancient India, but Florin Deleanu points out that this may be mistaken in his excellent overview of the Śrāvakabhūmi, a meditation manual preserved by a Mahayana school which closely parallels the Visuddhimagga. The differences are minor, but telling.
There is more to say about Indian Buddhism, of course, but I’ll save some for next month. So, for now, I’ll just leave you with this facinating Chemical History of a Candle: one of my favorite science videos on YouTube. Not related to anything, just thought I’d share :_)
If you have any videos, articles, feedback or anything else you’d like to share, as always, feel free to drop me a line. Until then,