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  • Asvaghosa is an author whose fame, has recently attained renewal by the discovery and publication of his Buddhacarita, a court epic in excellent style and spirit on the life of the Buddha. His Sutralamkara is also known through the medium of a Tibetan translation, and illustrates his ability in turning the tale into an instrument for propaganda in support of the Buddhist faith. If the tradition which ascribes to him the Mahayanayaddhotpada is correct, he was also the founder or expounder of a subtle system of metaphysics akin to the Vijnanavada of the Mahayana school. The nobles grumbled against the king because he had set too high a value on Asvagosha; in order to convince them of their merit, the king took seven horses, and after having starved them for six days, he led them to the place in which Aśvagosha was teaching, and ordered fodder to be given to them. When the horses heard the preacher they shed tears, and would not eat. Aśvagosha became celebrated because the horses had understood his voice, and because of this he received the name of Aśvagosha (voice of a horse). "Asvagosha spreads the Dharma far and wide, Asvagosha speaks, Asvagosha sings, Asvagosha fares well in the country and city, Asvagosha goes on and on..."

    January 6, 2009