The Veda, Indian Grammarians, and the Language of Early Buddhism

Lecture | January 31 | 5-7 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall

 Oskar von Hinüber, Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg

 Center for Buddhist Studies

Connections between the Vedic language and that of early Buddhism were observed already during the beginnings of Buddhology in Europe. After a brief survey of research, some features of syntax and vocabulary are discussed, while concentrating on the Vedic meaning of certain words and terms such as grāma or saṃkakṣikā partly unrecognized so far and preserved only in the oldest Buddhist texts. Particular attention is paid to the formation of the Vinaya term pārājika used to designate the first group of offenses, the transgression of which entails expulsion from the Saṃgha. Lastly, a verse from the first part of the Samyuttanikāya is interpreted to demonstrate, how the original form of this Buddhist verse can be reconstructed and the meaning understood only by referring to a Vedic text.

Oskar von Hinüber is professor emeritus for indologie of the Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg. He is ordinary member of the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz, associé étranger (Membre de l’Institut) of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris, and corresponding member of the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vienna.

 fbille@berkeley.edu