Buddhism In TamilNadu

The present day Tamil Nadu, the land of the Tamils, was formed in November 1956 consequent upon the reorganisation of the Indian States on linguistic basis in the light of the recommendations of the States Reorganisation Commission. Its capital is Madras, and in area Tamil Nadu is 1,30,069 sq. kms.

(1) Royal Patronage

The first royal patron of Buddhism in the Tamil land was no doubt Asoka the Great. He built stupas at Kanchi in the third century BC. According to the Tamil classic, Manimckhalai, king Killivalan built a Buddha Vihara at Kanchi, The king is also said to have dedicated a park to the Buddhist Sangha in which a shrine containing an imprint of the Buddha's feet was also created. The first Pallava king, Skandavarman, who flourished towards the close of the third century AD, also helped the cause of Buddhism. He had a son, Buddhavarman, who is mentioned as Yuvaraj in a grant issued by his queen, Charudevi, perhaps a Buddhist. His other son was Buddhyankara

The history of Tamil Nadu, after Skandavarman till the sixth century is rather obscure. In the Tamil literature, this period is called as one of the darkest period of history, and the modern scholars often refer to this period as 'the Kalabhra Interregnum'. Not only that, the Kalabhras, who seem to have come to power in the Kanchipuram area, the TondaimandaJam, as it was then called, are called 'barbarians' and 'enemies' of civilization'. About this Period, K.A. Nilakanta Sastri says:

"A long historical night ensues after the close of the Sangam age. We knew little of the period of more than three centuries that followed. When the curtain rises again towards the close of the sixth century AD., we find a mysterious and ubiquitous enemy of civilization, the evil rulers called Kalabhras (Kalappalar), have come and upset the established political order which was restored only by their defeat at the hands of the Pandyas and Pallavas as well as the Chalukyas of Badami."

The identification of the Kalabhras is a big question mark on the South Indian History. It is now generally agreed that the Kalabhras originally hailed from the area around the modern Tirupati in Andhra, and had migrated to Kanchi sometime in the third century AD. The Tirupati hills were also known earlier as Pullikunram or the hill of the Chieftain Pulli. The Sangam Age literature refers to Pulli, the chief of the Kalavartribes in the Venkata or Vengadam hills. "The name of the hill was Vengadam. . Milmulanur, the most important and perhaps the oldest poet, has seven poems referring to Vengadam. He refers to Vengadam as belonging to Pulli, the Chieftain of Kalavar, and notes that Vengadam was famous for its festivals. In another poem he refers undoubtedly ta Tirupati as Pullikunran, the Hill of Chieftain PulIi. Another poem says these Pullis were liberal in gifts.

The Pullis have been identified with the Kalavaras or the kalabhras, who appeared to have migrated under political compulsions from their native place to Kanchi where they made fortune having established their rule there. According to Dr. S. Krishnaswami Aiyangar, "The tightening of the hold of the Pallavas even as viceroys of the Andhras by a pressure applied both from the north and west must have dislodged these people from the locality of their denzienship, and set forward their migration which ultimately overturned the Tondaimandalam first, Cholamandalam next and a considerable part of the pandimandalam after that the Kalabhras then were the Kalavar of the region immediately north of Tondaimandala who being dislodged by the pressure of the Andhras penetrated the Tondaimandalam itself, moved southwards till .. they produced the interregnum referred to in the Velvikkudi plates in the Pandhya country

It the identification of the Kalabhras, R. Sathianata Aiyer says "The identification of the Kalabhras is very difficult problem of South Indian History. They have been identified, with the line of Muttaraivar of Kondubalur (eighth to eleventh country). Others regards them as Karnatas on the strength of a refrence in Tamil literature to the rule of a Karnata king over Madura. A third view is that the Kalabhras were Kalappalar, belonging to Vellala community and referred to in Tamil literature and inscriptions. But the most satisfactory theory identifies the Kalabhras with the Kalavar, and the chieftains of destribe mentioned in Sangam literature are Tiraiyan of Pavattiri and Pulli of Vengadam or Tirupati. The latter is described safe lifting robber chief of the frontier. The Kalavar must have dislodged from their habitat near Tirupati by political of the third century A.D., viz. the fall of the Satvahanas,in political confusion in Tondamandalam in the following century. The Kalabhra invasion must have helmed the Pallavas, the Cholas and the Pandyas.

In the Brahmanical literature, the Kalabhras are "roundly as evil kings (kali-arasar) who uprooted many and abrogated brahmadeya rights". However, the modern researches have shown that the Kalabhras were neither nor enemies of civilization but were a very civilized people and in fact their reign saw the creation of excellent Tamil mixture. The primary reason as to why they were ignored or by the brahmins was because they were Buddhists. To the Nilakanta Sastri again from some Buddhist books we of a certain Acchutavikkanta of the KaIabhrakula during the region Buddhist monasteries and authors enjoyed much in the Chola country. Late literary tradition in Tamil avers that he kept in confinement the three Tamil kings – the Chera, Chola and Pandya. Some songs about him are quoted by Amitasagara, a Jain grammarian of Tamil of the tenth century A.D. Possibly Accuta was himself a Buddhist, a political revolution which the kalabhras effected was provoked by religious antagonism."

The only Kalabhra king who is known with a specific name is Accuta Vikranta. He is believed to have ruled towards the close of the fifth century AD and the beginning of the sixth century AD. Buddhadatta, a well-known Pali commentator who flourished in the fifth century says in the Vinaya-viniccaya that "he wrote this work for the sake of Buddhasiha while he was residing in the lovely monastery of Venhudas (Vishnudas) in a city on the banks of the Kaveri, by name Bhutamangalam and it was begun and completed at the time when Accuta Vikranta of Kalabhra Kula was ruling over the earth.

The memory of Accuta Vikranta lingered on for long among the Tamil Buddhists. In Yapparungalam, a Tamil work of eleventh century AD, written by Amitasagarangar, the poet "prays to the Buddha to grant Accuta with the long arms like the clouds in charity and with the fighting spear so that he might wield his specture of authority over the whole world". From the testimony of Buddhadatta, who was contemporary of Accuta Vikranta, and the praise showered upon the Kalabhra king by the poet in Yapparungalam, it is evident that Acchuta Vikranta was a Buddhist and a liberal patron of Buddhism

It is significant that during the Kalabhra reign which lasted nearly 300 years, Buddhism was at its best in and around Kanchi, ancient Tondaimandalam. And there flourished a number of Buddhist saints and scholars, such as Nagaguttanar, author of Kundalakesi, (4th century), Buddhadatta, the Pali commentator, (5th Century), Dinaga, the great logician, (5th century), Dhammapala, another Pali commentator, (6th century), and Bodhidharma, the great Dhyana teacher, (6th century). The association of Buddhaghosha, the greatest Pali scholar and commentator, who was contempoary of Buddhadatta, further confirms the ascendency of Buddhism during the Kalabhra Interregnum in the Tamil land.

Even the Tamil literature got a boost during the Kalabhra reign and this period was marked by great literary activity. Nilakanta Sastri observes: "This dark period marked by the ascendency of Buddhism and probably also of Jainism, was characterized also by great literary activity in Tamil. Most of the works grouped under the head The Eighteen Minor Works were written during this period as also the Silappadikaram, Manimckhalai and other works. Many of the authors were the votaries of the 'heretical' sects.

The Kalabhras were ousted by the Pallavas who rose to prominence again under Simhavishnu (575-600 AD) who founded a new dynasty which ruled for nearly 300 years. During the region of the Pallava king, Narasimhavarman II (c. 700-728 or 69s,.722), a Buddhist Vihara was constructed at Nagapattam for the use of Chinese mariners who called over there for purposes of trade. This monastery was known as the Chinese monastery and was been by Marco Polo in 1292 AD.

During the reign of the Cholas (850-1200 AD), there were 1st settlements at Nagapattam (Na!:apattinam) on the cast and at Sri ulvasam in the west. Raja Raja I, (985-1014 AD), particular, gave generous support to the Buddhist institutions. And even Buddhism was, considered sufficiently important for some scenes from Buddha's life to be represented in decorative panels in a balustrade of the great temple at Tanjore (Thanjavur) built by him. He also encouraged Sri Mara unagavarman, the Sailendra ruler of Sri Vijaya) to build a Buddha Vihara at Nagapatam. This Vihara is called Sri Cudamani Vihara after the father of the ruler of Sri. Vijaya. Later, another Sri Vijaya king sent embassy in 1090 to the Chola King Kolotlunga ! (1070-1122) to enquire about the affairs of the Buddha Vihara which his ancestors had built at Nagapattam. Chola endowments to the Buddha Vihara at Nagapattam have also been recorded in their copperplate.

Evidence of royal support to Buddhism after the Chola period is Jacking, though the Buddha Viharas at Nagapattam flourished till about the 17th century.

(II) Buddhist Saints And Scholars

1. Ilambodhiyar

The first Tamil Buddhist poet was IIambodhiyar who flourished during the last Sangam period of Tamil literature (1st-2nd century AD). Iambodhiyar's very name indicates that he was a Buddhist. Since the Buddhists worshipped the Bodhi Tree, the Shaiva and Jaina Tamil works often refer to Buddhists as "bodhiyar" or worshippers of Bodhi tree. Several of Iambodhiyar are found in a work called Nattrinai or Narrinai composed during the last Sangam period

2. Sittalai Sattanar

The most famous Buddhist poet in the Tamil land was Sittalai Sattanar, the author of the celebrated Tamil epic Manimekhalai. Sattanar was a grain merchant of Madura (Madurai) and lived in the second century AD. The Manimekhalai appears to have been composed by him with a view to propagating the Buddha ­- Dhamma but its setting is historical. Another great Tamil epic, the Silappadikaram (The Book of the Anklet), written by lIango-Adigal, a jaina ascetic and brother of the Chera monarch, Senguttuvan, deals with the tragic story of Kovalan, a rich merchant of Kaveripattinam or Puhar who neglecting his wife, Kannaki, fell in love with Madhavi, a dancing girl. Later, having realized his foIly, Kovalan returned to his wife. Then both set out for Madura where Kovalan wanted to start life afresh by pursuing trade. And when he went out to sell one of his wife's gold anklet, he was falsely accused of theft of queen's anklet, and was executed by the king without any investigation.

On hearing the news of the death of Kovalan, Madhavi became disgusted with life. She, alongwith her daughter, Manimekhalai, Sought solace from a Buddhist monk, who consoled in her grief preaching the true Dhamma, The young Manimekhalai was so much impressed by the teaching of love and compassion of the Buddha that she became a Buddhist nun, Bhikkhuni. While narrating the story of Manimekhalai, Sattanar shows the superiority of Buddhist doctrine evaluating it against the contemporary Hindu and Jaina thought. Manimekhalai is a lasting monument to his scholarship, encylopaedic knowledge, and excellence as a Tamil poet.

Several verses from other poems of Sittalai Sattanar ate found in other works, such as, Nattrinai, Kurunthokai, Purananuru and Ahananuru

3. Aravana Adigal

Aravana Adigal was the first Tamilian Buddhist monk who engaged himself in propagating the Dhamma in the ancient Chera, Chola and Pandyan kingdoms of South India. He lived in the second century AD, and was the head of a flourishing Buddhist monastery at Kaveripattinam, also known as Puhar, This illustrious monk was the preceptor of Manimekhalai, whose life story has been told told by Sittalai Sattanar, in the classic Tamil epic, entitled 'ManimekhaIai', When Kaveripattinam was ravaged by a ideal wave, Aravana Adigal went to Vanchi or Vanji, the Chera capitaI, where he stayed for a short while before moving on to Manimekhalai, who had earlier embraced Buddhism and the Sangha, the Order of the Buddhist nuns, also followed in the footsteps of his preceptor, and came to live at kanchi. What was the righteous path of the Dhamma expounded by Aravana Adigal has been summed up by the poet in Book XXX of Manimekhalai. The saint begins with the Four Noble Truths and then goes on to explain the essence of twelve Nidanas, (Dependent Origination) and finally exhorts Manimekalai in these words:

“Realizing that friendliness, compassion and joy (at the well-being of others) constitute the best attitude of mind, give up anger. By the practice of hearing (sruti), mentation (cintana), experiencing in mind (bhavana) and realizing in vision (darsana) reflect, realize give up all illusion. In these four ways get rid of the darkness of mind."

4. Manhnekhalai

The daughter of Madhavi from Kovalan, Manimekhalai, is the heroine of the famous Tamil epic, named after her, and Written by Sittalai Sattanar. When Kovalan was executed on a false accusation by the king of Madura (Madurai), Madhavi became disgusted with the life, and sought solace in her-grief from Aravana Adigal, a Buddhist monk, who was head of a Buddhist monastery at kaveripattinam (Puhar). On hearing the excellent Dhamma, both mother and daughter became Buddhists. The young and pretty Manimekhalai, who was already feeling disenchanted by the life of dance and music, was immediately drawn to the sublime teachings of the Buddha and decided to adopt the life of a Buddhist nun. Soon thereafter, she went on pilgrimage to SriLanka and worshipped at the Buddha's footprint at the Nagadipa shrine on an island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka. There a deity gave her a miraculous, bowl from which she could feed any number of people without the Supply of food becoming exhausted . On return to Kaveripattinam, Manimekalai gave alms daily to the poor in a public hall. Later, Manimekhalai was Implicated in a murder case on a false charge and imprisoned. When, however, true facts came to light, she was freed, and the Chola queen, who hod manipulated her imprisonment begged her pardon.

Realizing that it was no longer safe for her to live in Kaveripaitinam. Manimekhalai went on a pilgrimage to Java. On return from this pilgrimage, she went to Vanchi, the Chera capital, and further studied the Dhamma. Finally, she came to Kanchi where in the meanwhile Aravana Adigal, her preceptor, had permanently settled. Thereafter, she lived the holy life of a Buddhist nun in a aVihara specifically built for her at Kanchi, and spent her life in meditation and service to humanity. The present day Darupadiamman kovil is said to be on the site of the Manimekhalai Vihara.

5. Nagaguttanar

Nagaguttanar, who lived in the fourth century AD, was, another Buddhist poet of eminence. He was the author of Kundalakesi, one of the five famous kavyas in Tamil language. The story of kundalakesi in this work is based on the biography of the Dhikkhuni Kundalakesi found in the commentary on the Therigatha as well as in the Dhammapada commentary. While narrating the story, the author had made an effort to refute the judic and Jaina dectrines. Kundalakesi was originally a Jain nun, who was fond of challenging anybody to refute her views. Duriputta, the chief disciple of the Buddha, took up the challenge defeated her in a debate. Consequently, Kundalakesi, need Jainism and embraced Buddhism. The author of the Tamil poem depicts the Buddhist nun Kundalakesi championing because of Buddhism, Kundalakesi is now lost, But the Jaina Nilakesi, written in response to Kundalakesi, is still extant, at the Jain work contains references to Kundalakesi. A commentary on the Nilakesi also refers to the story of Kundalakesi

6. Buddhadatta

The first Pali scholar of Tamil Nadu was Buddhadatta. He was at Uragapura, modem Uraiyur, in the fifth century AD. He called Pali and Buddhism at the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura of Sri Lanka. Buddhadatta was contemporary of the great Pali and commentator, Buddhaghosha. It is said that when Buddhadatta was returning to India after completing his studies, beat crossed another boat carrying Buddhaghosha to Sri Lanka. As they met, they introduced themselves and exchanged countries. On knowing Buddhaghosha's plans, Buddhadatta was departing requested Buddhaghosha to send copies of the commentaries, as and when compiled, to him in India. Buddhaghusha appears to have done this.

To return from Sri Lanka, Buddhadatta resided in a Vihara by a Buddhist minister named Krishnadasa, Nagapattanam. While staying here, he wrote Madhurattha Vilasini (Commentary on the Buddhavamsa). He wrote another famous work Abhidhammavatara (Summary of Buddhaghosha's commentaries on the Abhidhammapitaka) at the request of a bhikkhu named Sumati. His another important work is Vinaya Vinicchaya (Summary of the Buddhaghosha's commentaries on the Vinaya-Pitaka). In a colophone at the end of this Work, Buddhadatta says that "he wrote this work for the sake of Buddhasiha while he was residing in the lovely monastery of Vehnudasa (Vishnudasa) in a city on the banks of the river Kaveri, by name Bhutamangalam, and it was begun and completed at the time when Accutata Vikranta of Kalabhra Kula was ruling over the earth.

Another work attributed to Buddhadatta is the Ultara Vinicchya which he is said to have written while he was residing at Anuradhapura.

7. Buddhaghosha

The greatest Pali scholar and commentator was Buddhaghosha who flourished in the fifth century AD. According to Mahavamsa , a chronicle of Sri Lanka, where Buddhaghosha accomplished his literary pursuits, he was born in the vicinity of Bodh Gaya. Another tradition is that he hailed from South India. K.R. Srinivasan contends that Buddhaghosha was born at Morandakhetaka which he identifies with Moranam near Kanchi.

By the time Buddhaghosha came on the scene Pali Buddhism had lost lustre in India. More and more scholars were turning to Sanskrit. But the Bodh Gaya monks stood firm in their allegiance, to Pali. Under their guidance, Buddhaghosha studied Buddhist Philosophy diligently. He also compiled a treatise on Buddhism 'Nanodaya'. He also planned to compose commentaries on Abhidhamma and the Suttas. On knowing his intention, his teacher, Mana Thera Revata advised Buddhaghosha to go to Sri Lanka.

Thus encouraged and inspired, Buddhaghosha went to Sri Lanka during the reign of King Mahanama (410-432) AD and reached the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura. While staying in the Mahavihara, Buddhaghosha made a thorough study of the inhalese commentaries. He also heard the tradition of the elders him. Thera Sanghapala. Convinced of their usefulness, he then sought permission of the bhikkhu-Sangha of the Mahavihara to translate the commentaries from Sinhalese to Pali. In order to test is knowledge and his capabilities, the learned Theras asked Buddhaghosha to comment on a Pali stanza. In response to this, buddhaghosha compiled a compendium of the whole of the tripitaka, and named it Visuddhimagga or "The Path of purification.". Highly pleased with his performance, the bhikkhus of the Mahavihara gave all the facilities to Buddhaghosha and placed all the Sinhalese commentaries at the disposal.

Besides the Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosha wrote commentaries on the Vinaya-Pitaka, Patimokha, Digha-Nikaya, hima-Nikaya, Anguttara-Nikaya, Khuddaka-Patha. The commentaries on the Dhammapala and the Jataka are also described to Buddhaghosha. The voluminous literature produced by Buddhaghosha exists to this day and “is the basis for the explanation of many crucial points of Buddhist philosophy which without them would have been unintelligible." The commentaries and the Visuddhimagga of Buddhaghosha are not only a great achievement in post-Tripitaka literature but they are be a key to the Tripitaka.

Buddhaghosha may or may not have been born in Tamil Nadu but the - fact remains that he resided for some time at Kanchi and some of the commentaries while staying there. ln the pohon to the commentary on the Anguttara Nikaya, Manorathapurani, Buddhaghosha says that at the time of impling the work he lived at Kanchipura with his friend Mikkhu Jotipala, Again in the commentary on the Majjhima, Papancasudani, he says that when he was formerly being at Mayrrapattanam ( the present day Mayavaram), with the Buddhamitta, he was invited to write this. Buddhaghosha and also visited Nagapattanam, the poor city, from where he had worked for Sri Lanka.

8. Dhammapala

Another Pali scholar produced by Tamil Nadu was Dhammapala. He lived in the sixth century AD, and was a native of the city of Tanja, which has been identified with Tanjore (Tanjavur). According to Hiuen Tsang, Dhammapala was born at kanchipuram. Dhammapala also stayed for some time at Nagapattam in the Dharmasoka Vihara. In the Nettipakarna commentary, Dhammapala says that "he wrote this commentary while he was residing at the monastery built by King Asoka at Nagapattam which is like unto a port for embarking on the ocean of the Dhamma".

Most probably, Dhammapala had studied at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka as he mentions in his works the Atthukatha of the Mahavihara of Anuradhapura. Further, he not only refers to the commentaries of Buddhaghosha but also follows aImost his style. Dhammapala wrote seven commentaries on such books of the Khuddaka-Nikaya, which had not been covered by Buddhaghosha. His famous work the Parmattha-dipani, is an exposition of the Khuddaka-Nikaya covering mainly Udana, Itivuttku, Vimanavatthu, Peta-Vatthu, Thera-gatha, Theri-gatha, and Cariya-Pitaka. The other commentaries attributed to Dhammapala are: Parmatta-manjusas (Commentary on Buddhaghosha's Visuddhimagga), and Netti - Pakarnassa Attha Samvannana (Commentary on Netti, a post­ canonical work).

Another work attributed to Buddhadatta is the Ultara Vinicchya which he is said to have written while he was residing at Anuradhapura.

9. Dinnaga

A mighty Buddhist intellectual of the early fifth century AD was Dinnaga or Dignaga. He was the founder of the Buddhist logic, and is often referred to as the Father of the medieval Nyaya an a whole

Dinnaga was born around 450 AD at Simhavaktra, a suburb of kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu. After completing his studies, while quite young, Dinnaga became a Buddhist monk and joined the Vatsiputriya school. It is said that one day, Nagadatta, his preceptor, asked Dinnaga to meditate over the principle of the (Atman) which from the stand point of the Vatsiputriyas was expressible and was neither identical with the groups of dements (Skandhas), nor differing from them. When Dinnaga expressed some scepticism about the existence of Ego, he was spelled from the community by his teacher. After meeting similar failure and experiencing dissatisfaction with some other teachers, Dinnaga finally came to Vasubandhu. Under Vasubandhu, Dinnaga studied all aspects of the Buddhist philosophy and became well-versed with all the texts of Buddhism. Thereafter, he began his literary career.

Dinnaga travelled all over India holding religious contests with scholars. At Nalanda, he defeated a Brahmin logician named durjaya in a religious discussion, In Orissa, Dinnaga is said to be converted the royal treasurer, Bhadrapalita, who built in Dinnaga's honour a monastery. Generally, Dinnaga stayed in this monastery in the Bhorasila mountain in Orissa. Often he also stayed in the Accra monastery in Maharashtra.

Dinnaga wrote about a hundred treatises on logic, most of which are preserved in Chinese and Tibetan translations. His most important works are Pramanasamuccaya ( The totality of means of correct knowledge). Alambana- Pariksha ( The lamination o fthe Three Times), Hetuchakradamru ( The wheel of capital Reasons), Nyaya-mukha, Hastavala - prakarna, Arya naparmitavivarana, and Abhidharmakosha-MArma-Pradipa, a commentary on Vasubandhu's Abhidharmokasa

Prior to Dinnaga all the Indian schools of logic followed the epic of the realist Nyaya school. Dinnaga for the first time produced new ideas in that logic, which then came to be recognized as Buddhist logic.

10. Bodhidharma

An outstanding Indian missionary who went to China was Buddhidharma, a seer of royal family of Kanchi in Tamil Nadu. On seing the Buddhist Sangha, he was initiated into Buddhism by, a renowned teacher of the Dhyana or meditative form of Buddhism. After his teachers death, he worked for few years to popularise the Dhyana teachings in India. Later, he left for China in A.D. 526 for propagating his system of philosophy.

Bodhidharma was cordially welcomed by the emperor Wu-ti, who was a devout Buddhist, at his capital, Nanking. Later, finding that the emperor was not able to appreciate his mystic trend of philosophy, Bodhidharma left the capital, and went to the Shaolin monastery, near Lo-yang, in north China.

It is said that Bodhidharma sat at the Shao-Jin Teplple doing pi-kuan­, deeply absorbed in contemplation with his face to the wall, without interacting with others for nine years. In Chinese, pi means "wall" and kuan means "observation". Thus Bodhidharma to well-known for pi-kuan or "wall meditation" in China. He lays stress on meditation by which alone, he said, "enlightenment should be attained". The meditative school founded by Bodhidharma is known as Ch'an Buddhism in China. The Ch' an or Dhyana School teachers that we must discard blind acceptance of scriptural authority. It also deprecates the worship of images and priestcraft. According to it, "Buddha is in the heart of man. And Buddha-nature is always pure and bright, illuminating everywhere"The mystic philosophy of Bodhidharma has exercised an abiding spiritual influence among the Japanese Buddhists, where the Ch'an Buddhism become Zen Buddhism (contemplative Buddhism) with certain modifications.

11. Dharmapala

Dharmapala was the only South Indian Buddhist savant who became the Vice-Chancellor of the world famous Nalanda University, He was born at Kanchi in the seventh century AD. It is said that when he was about to be married, he secretly went to a Buddhist monastery and joined the Buddhist Sangha. Hiuen Tuang gives the traditional account of Dharmapala's initiation Buddhism as under: "The city of Kanchipura is the native place of Dharmapala Bodhisattva. He was the eldest son of a great minister of the country. From his childhood he exhibited much cleverness, and as he grew up it increased and extended. Then he became a young man, the king and queen condescended certain him at a (marriage) feast. On the evening of the day heart was oppressed with sorrow, and being exceedingly decided, he placed himself before a statue of Buddha and in earnest prayer (supplication). Moved by his extreme, the spirits removed him to a distance, and there he hid himself. After going many hundred Ii from this spot he came to a contain convent, and sat down in the hall of Buddha. A priest opening to open the door, and seeing this youth, was in doubt whether he was a robber or not. After interrogating him on the , the Bodhisattva completely unbosomed himself and told in the cause; moreover he asked permission to become a people. The priests were much astonished at the wonderful and forthwith granted his request. The king ordered to be made for him in every direction and at length finding in that Bodhisattva had removed to a distance from the world, by the spirit (or, spirits), then he redoubled his deep and admiration for him. From the time that assumed the robes of a recluse, he applied himself unflagging earnestness to learning. Concerning his brilliant we have spoken in the previous records.

Dharmapala travelled widely in India. While at Kosambi, he in with the opponents of Buddhism displayed his brilliant and encylopaedic knowledge tearing to shreds the of the Hindu scholars. He became famous after his, and was selected to head the Nalanda Mahavihara. He quite young at the age of 32. His pupil Silabhadra, succeeded Vice-chancellor, under whom Hiuen Tsang studied Buddhism at Nalanda.

12. Dharmakirti

Dharmakirti, who lived in the seventh century AD, was the great Buddhist logician. He was the son of Korunanda of iaya in South India. In his childhood, Dharmakirti and the Vedas. Later, he studied Buddhist philosophy at veda. While at Nalanda, Dharmakirti joined the Buddhist. Order as a disciple of Dhannapala who was at that time the Sanghasthavira (Chief) of the Nalanda Mahavihara, He studied logic from Isvarsena, a direct pupil of Dinnaga, and made a thorough study of the Pramanasamuccaya of Dinnaga. The date of Dharmakirti is not very clear, Some scholars are of the view that he lived from circa AD 620-690.

Dharmakirti wrote seven important works. These are,
1. Pramanavartika,
2. Pramanavinischaya,
3. Nyayabindu,
4. Hetubindu,
5. Vadanyaya,
6. Sambandhaparikasha, and
7. Santanantarasidhi.

As in other cases, all the works of Dharmakirti were lost in India. For a long time in modern India, nothing was known of Dharmakirti's works except Nyayabindu. Thanks are due to the Tibetan scholars who preserved his works, Some in original Sanskrit and all in Tibetan translation. In modem times, credit goes to Mahapandit Rahul Sankrityayan who made many hazardous trips to Tibet and brought back to India some of the manuscript of Dharmakirti's works in Sanskrit and commentaries on them. Rahul Sankrityayana also edited Dharmakirti's monumental work Pramanavartika with three commentaries, as well as Vadanyaya.

All the works of Dharmakirti generally deal with the Buddhist theory of knowledge. Dharmakirti was a subtle philosophical thinker and dialectician, and his writings mark the highest summit reached in epistemological speculation by later Buddhism. Acknowledging his unsurpassed genious, Dr.Stcherbatksy calls Dharmakirti, the Kant of India.

Apart from being a great Buddhist logician and philosopher, Dharmakirti was also a great missionary. He travelled throughout India and tried to re-establish, through philosophy, the glory of Buddhism which was showing signs of decline.

13. Bodhiruchi

Bodhiruchi, which literally means "intelligence loving", was orginally called Dharmaruchi. He hailed from Tamil Nadu and to China in the seventh century AD duriag the days of early ang dynasty. His original name Dharmaruchi was changed to Bodhiruchi. By the orders of the empress Wu Tso- thien (AD - 705). In China, he studied Buddhism under Yasaghosa, a Mahayana. There and became well - acquainted with the entire Tripitaka within a period of only three years. Thereafter, bodhiruchi devoted all his time and talents to the work of translating Sanskrit works. During the period AD 693 - 713, he translated 53 works which ran into 111 volumes in Chinese. He is aid to have died in AD 727 when he was in his 156th year.

14. Vajrabodhi

Vajrabodhi (661 - 730) was born at Podiyakanda in the Pandiya country. Another view is that he was a native of Kanchi. He called at Nalanda, and returned to his native place as a Mchayana monk. He was contemporary of the Pallava king. Narasimhavarman II (c.700 - 728 AD). His missionary tours took him to Sri Lanka where he stayed for six months at the bhayagiri Vihara. Later, along with his discipline Amoghavajra, went to China for missionary work. He is said to have carried the text of Mahaprajnaparamita with him to China.

How To Lead a Life