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Title: A Discussion on the Determination of the Date of the Historical Buddha
Contributor(s): Choong, Mun Keat  (author)
Publication Date: 2004
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Abstract: Chronologically accurate records for early Indian history are evidently lacking. Consequently, the date of the historical Buddha remains difficult to conclude exactly, though it has been the subject of much scholarly discussion. (note 1) Contemporary scholars in Asia and the West have suggested various dates that differ from the traditional Sinhalese/Theravaadin dates of 624-544 BCE; for example: 466 - 386 BCE (UI Hakuju) 463 - 383 BCE (NAKAMURA Hajime) 448 - 368 BCE (Heinz BECHERT) 500/460 - 420/380 BCE (Andre BAREAU) 502/479 - 422/399 BCE (Richard GOMBRICH) The reasoning and evidence used in calculating these dates are diverse and are not always conclusive or convincing. One viable method entails reckoning from the year of the coronation or accession of the emperor A"soka, and this is the approach I adopt here. I consider that A"soka's coronation date has now been established fairly accurately. This facilitates the determination of the date of the Buddha because in Buddhist traditions the coronation of A"soka is stated to have taken place so many years after the Buddha's death ( Further, it is known that the lifetime of the Buddha lasted eighty years. Based on these shared records in Buddhist traditions and the information provided by modern Indological research on the coronation date of A"soka, one is able to infer the date of the Buddha, though still with some questions remaining. The following analysis will discuss three possible dates of the Buddha based on this method.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Journal of Indian History, v.78, p. 1-6
Publisher: University of Kerala, Department of History
Place of Publication: Thiruvananthapuram, India
ISSN: 0022-1775
Field of Research (FOR): 210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified
HERDC Category Description: C2 Non-Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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