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  1. 1. Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 Astonishment: A study of an ethically valorised emotion in Buddhist narrative literature Susanne Mrozik Department of Religion, Mount Holyoke College, 50 College Street, South Hadley, MA 01075, USAAbstract This essay explores the role that Buddhist narrative literature plays in fostering the cultivation of ´ethically valorised emotions. The essay focuses on astonishment, as it figures in Arya Sura’s Jtakaml, a aa ´a collection of Sanskrit narratives. The essay examines how and why Arya Sura valorises astonishmentand what this valorisation reveals about the significance of emotions in Buddhist ethical life. The key dis- ´tinction implicit in Arya Sura’s work between natural and cultivated emotions is worked out.Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Introduction Ranjini Obeyesekere observes of her childhood in Sri Lanka that listening to Buddhist stories‘was how we learned to be Buddhists’ (R. Obeyesekere, 1991, p. x; quoted in Hallisey and Hansen,1996, p. 310). Buddhist stories have long played an important role in ‘the dissemination of Bud-dhist values and doctrine’ (R. Obeyesekere, 1991, p. x) because, as Gananath Obeyesekere argues,these are ‘given an immediacy, a concreteness and an ethical salience . through storytelling’(G. Obeyesekere, 1992, p. 151; see also R. Obeyesekere, 1991, p. x). Scholars such as GananathObeyesekere, Charles Hallisey and Anne Hansen have demonstrated the critical role that Bud-dhist narratives play in creating the conditions for moral agencydfor instance, by enabling theinternalisation of ethical norms, or the development of ‘sympathetic imagination’ (see G. Obeyesekere,1991, pp. 219e39; Hallisey and Hansen, 1996, pp. 305e27; on the term ‘sympathetic imagination’, E-mail address: smrozik@mtholyoke.edu0048-721X/$ - see front matter Ó 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.religion.2006.07.004
  2. 2. 92 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106see Nussbaum, 1997, pp. 85e112). In this essay I examine yet another way in which Buddhiststories teach one ‘to be Buddhist’. They do so by fostering the cultivation of ethically valorisedemotions, that is, emotions assigned great value because they are believed to promote ethicalconduct. There is a growing interest among scholars of Buddhism in the link between emotions andethics. Like me, some of these scholars are especially interested in the role that Buddhist narra-tives play in ‘shaping an affective ethos’ (Trainor, 2003, p. 525).1 This essay seeks to advancescholarly understanding of the role Buddhist narratives play in ‘shaping affective ethos’ by exam-ining how an important collection of Sanskrit stories fosters the cultivation of one particular ethically valorised emotion: astonishment (vismaya). The collection of stories is Arya Sura’s ´Jtakaml (Garland of Birth Stories), a set of narratives from approximately the fourth century a aaCE about the Buddha’s past lives as a Bodhisattva. The Jtakaml as a whole highlights the a aaimportance of a range of emotions valorised in Buddhist literature for their positive ethical ef-fects. These emotions include serene joy (prasda); respect (bahumna, gaurava); gratitude a a(k rtajn˜a); shame (vrda, hr); shock or fear concerning the miseries of sa msra (sa mvega); ı ı aand_ an emotion variously translated as astonishment, amazement, surprise and wonder _ _ _(vismaya). Astonishment functions as an ethically valorised emotion in the Jtakaml when it a aacharacterises the response of living beings to the Bodhisattva, especially to his extraordinarygenerosity. Astonishment, which appears frequently throughout the Jtakaml, receives particular atten- a aation in the Viva mtara story. Hence I focus the bulk of my analysis on this story. I begin the essay s _ ´by investigating what astonishment means and how and why Arya Sura chooses to valorise thisparticular emotion. I close the essay by considering what the valorisation of astonishment can tellus more broadly about the nature and significance of emotions in Buddhist ethical life. I am es- ´pecially interested in a distinction implicit in Arya Sura’s Viva mtara story between natural and s _cultivated emotions. As we will see, ethically valorised emotions are not always natural emotions.Sometimes they require cultivation.Summary of story The Viva mtara story, one of the most famous Buddhist Jtaka stories, narrates a past rebirth s aof the Buddha. _ Here he was born a prince named Viva mtara, who makes a series of gifts in order s _to cultivate generosity, one of the perfections needed to attain Buddhahood. One day, Viva mtara s _enrages the citizens of his kingdom by giving away the royal elephant to some brahmins. For thisact, Viva mtara and his family are banished. While in exile, Viva mtara gives away his two s schildren to _another brahmin and finally his wife, Madr to yet another brahmin. This last brah- ı, _ ´ ´min is in reality the god Sakra, who is merely testing the extent of Viva mtara’s generosity. Sakra sreveals himself, and the story ends happily with the restoration to Viva s_ mtara of his wife, hischildren and his kingdom. _ 1 Trainor’s article serves as an introduction to a collection of articles published in the Journal of the American Acad-emy of Religion, on ‘Ethics and Emotions in South Asian Buddhism’. The contributors to this issue are Heim, 2003, pp.531e54; Rotman, 2003, pp. 555e78; and Berkwitz, 2003, pp. 579e604.
  3. 3. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 93What is astonishment? ´ Astonishment is an emotion that appears often in Arya Sura’s Jtakaml. In fact, this emotion a aais cited in twenty out of the thirty-four stories in the Jtakaml.2 Astonishment is, of course, an a aaemotion of surprise. It occurs in the Jtakaml when something totally out of the ordinary hap- a aapens. For example, when sailors lost at sea encounter strange sea creatures and oceans that aresilver and gold in colour, they are astonished (vismaya) (see Khoroche, 1989, pp. 98e9; Kern,1914, pp. 90.11, 90.24, 91.9). They are even more astonished ( parama-vismaya) when their shipsails out of immediate peril as a result of the Bodhisattva’s statement (see Khoroche, 1989, s ı ´p. 102; Kern, 1914, p. 94.5). As Viva mtara, the Bodhisattva astonishes Madr and Sakra with _a generosity that seems to go against human nature itself. He gives away what he loves most: ´his children and wife. Hence both Madr and Sakra express astonishment at his lack of selfishness. ıAlthough astonishment may occur for a number of reasons, the most common cause in thecollection as a whole is the Bodhisattva himself. Living beings are astonished by his generosity,morality, revulsion for worldly pleasures, compassion, forbearance, physical splendour and super-normal powers.3 ´ Surprises can be pleasant or unpleasant, welcome or unwelcome. Arya Sura, however, charac-terises astonishment, whose Sanskrit form comes from the verbal root smi, meaning ‘to smile’, asa largely pleasant and welcome experience. Thus he frequently pairs astonishment with emotionsof delight ( pramud-, h r s-, and prah r s-), serene joy ( prasda) and respect (bahumna) in the a aJtakaml.4 For example, when the _Bodhisattva, reborn as King Sibi, utters a truth statement a aa __ _ ´that restores his eyes, the entire universe responds with astonishment and joy: The earth shook, and so did the mountains. The ocean broke its bounds and surged forward. The drums of the celestial gods rolled deep and steadyda delightful (manojn˜a) sound. The whole expanse of heaven looked beautifully clear, and the sun shone with an autumn bright- ness. Out of the sky fell a shower of bright flowers tinged with the sandal powder that was whirling around. The gods gathered there with a bevy of celestial nymphs, wide-eyed in amazement (vismaya-phulla-locana). The breeze that blew was peculiarly pleasant (manojn˜a), and joy (har sa) blossomed out in the heart of every living thing. All around, lovely voices _ 2 Astonishment (vismaya) occurs in the following stories: 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 19, 22, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31,and 33. 3 Astonishment occurs in response to the Bodhisattva’s generosity, including bodily self-sacrifice, in the followingstories: 1, 2, 5, 6, 7 (his asceticism also produces astonishment in this story) 8, 9, 27, 30 and 31. It occurs as a resultof his morality, as is sometimes evidenced by the efficacy of his truth statements (satya-vacana), in the following stories:13, 14 and 15. It occurs as a result of his revulsion for worldly pleasures in 19, of his compassion in 25 and 26 (his phys-ical splendour also produces astonishment in this story), of his forbearance in 33, and of his supernormal powers in 29.There is also one instance (22) in which astonishment arises from the virtues of the Bodhisattva’s companion ratherthan from the Bodhisattva himself. 4 Occasionally, astonishment is also paired with curiosity (kauthala). Astonishment is accompanied (in Kern, 1914) uby forms of pramudd pp. 7.5, 30.7, 138.9; by forms of h r s and prah r sdpp. 13.9, 16.21, 59.8, 66.12, 94.5, 132.17, 137.12;by bahumnadpp. 24.7, 114.11, 216.18; by gauravadp._ 136.17; by_kauthaladp. 139.11; by a combination of prasda a _ _ u aand bahumnadpp. 173.18, 216.9e10, and 235.7; by a combination of bahumna and kauthaladp. 179.6; and by a a ua combination of bahumna, prasda and prema (love)dp. 221.10. a a
  4. 4. 94 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 were heard, raised in a paean of praise for the king’s extraordinary deed; hosts of supernat- ural beings were exclaiming in wonder (savismaya) and rapture (har sa-parta-mnasa): ‘Oh, ı a _ what nobility! oh what compassion! See how pure is his heart! how little he cares for his own happiness!’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 16; Kern, 1914, p. 13.3e12) Similarly, in another story when the Bodhisattva, who has been reborn as a hare, resolves tooffer his body as food to his guests, the gods respond with delighted amazement ( pramudita-vismita) (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 35; Kern, 1914, p. 30.7). In another story when theBodhisattva, reborn this time as a buffalo, bears patiently the abuse of a monkey, a Yak sa isovercome (v rj-) with a mixture of serene joy ( prasda), amazement (vismaya) and respect a a _(bahumna) (see a _ Khoroche, 1989, p. 248; Kern, 1914, p. 235.7). When, in the Viva mtara story, Sakra s ´ _learns that the Bodhisattva has given away his children, he becomes ‘giddy with wonder and delight( prahar sa-vismaya-ghr n;ita-manas)’ (Khoroche, 1989, pp. 71e2; Kern, 1914, p. 66.12). a u Arya _Sura portrays the experience of astonishment as a largely pleasurable one. He also por- ´ _ ´trays it as extremely intense. We have just seen that Sakra becomes ‘giddy with wonder and de-light’ when he learns that Viva mtara has given away his children. The word that Peter Khoroche s _translates as ‘giddy’ (ghr n-) can also be translated as ‘stagger’. In a number of instances living a u _beings are overcome or overwhelmed (varjita) with astonishment (see Khoroche, 1989, pp. 12, a15, 26, 230, 248; Kern, 1914, pp. 8.3, 11.16, 23.3, 216.18, 235.7). Astonishment not only is a power- ´ful emotion but also affects living beings physically. Sakra staggers, beings are literally overcomeor overwhelmed, and in many instances they are said to be ‘wide-eyed’ with astonishment (seeKhoroche, 1989, pp. 16, 65, 71, 180; Kern, 1914, pp. 13.7, 59.8, 66.10e1, 170.4). On two occasionsastonishment is also accompanied by ‘horripolation’, that is, a tingling or bristling of body hairs(see Khoroche, 1989, pp. 147, 217; Kern, 1914, pp. 135.15, 204.18). These physical responses canindicate intense fear as well as delight. The two incidents of horripolation, however, are notaccompanied by fear. Nor does fear occur elsewhere in conjunction with astonishment. In theJtakaml, when vismaya arises in response to the deeds of the Bodhisattva, it is a strong a aaemotion that combines elements of surprise, joy and admiration. Maria Heim has pointed to the prominence of ‘excessive emotions’ such as fear, grief, horrorand astonishment in Buddhist stories, including the Viva mtara (Pli: Vessantara) story (see s a Heim, 2003, p. 536 and passim). Arya S _ ´ ura’s Viva mtara story, which Heim cites, is clearly an sinstance. Heim discusses a wide range of ‘excessive _ emotions’, focusing particular attention onfear and horror. Different storiesdand even different versions of the same storydmay foreground different emotions. Thus fear and horror are more prominent in some of the Pli versions a of the Viva mtara story, cited by Heim, than in Arya S s ´ ura’s version. The dominant emotions in ´ _Arya Sura’s version are anger, grief and ultimately astonishment. Different versions of a single story can have different emotional tones which can produce dif-ferent nuances in meaning and effect. For example, the account of the Viva mtara story preserved s u a a _in the monastic regulations of the Mlasarvstivda, an early Indian Buddhist sect, highlights ´a different emotion than that highlighted by Arya Sura in his account of the story. The mostimportant emotion in the Mlasarvstivda account is gratitude (k rtajn˜a). The Mlasarvstivda u a a u a a _version occurs in the course of a series of narratives about Devadatta, told in theSanghabhedavastu section of the Mlasarvstivda monastic regulations (vinaya). Devadatta is _ u a athe Buddha’s cousin and arch-rival. He is also the present incarnation of Jujjuka, the cruel
  5. 5. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 95brahmin who asks Viva mtara to give him his children. Although Viva mtara complies with his s srequest and also asks his father, the King, to bestow great wealth on _Jujjuka, Jujjuka never _expresses gratitude. The central theme in the Mlasarvstivda version of the Viva mtara story u a a sis Devadatta’s past and present ingratitude to the Bodhisattva/Buddha.5 _ Arya S´ ura’s version of the Viva mtara story displays different concerns from those of the sMlasarvstivda version. Gratitude _ an important emotion in the Jtakaml as a whole but u a a is a aanot in the Viva mtara story. The Viva mtara story contains no references to gratitude. Instead, s swe find multiple_ references to astonishment. Additionally, Arya Sura does not even identify _ ´ Jujjaka as a past incarnation of Devadatta. Arya S ´ ura tells a different story than do the editorsof the Mlasarvstivda monastic regulations. Telling a different story highlights a different u a aethically valorised emotion. ´uHow does Arya Sra valorise astonishment? ´ Arya Sura highlights the importance of astonishment by creating a tension in the narrative be-tween the way living beings should respond to Viva mtara and the way they do respond to s s _Viva mtara. Although living beings should respond to Viva mtara’s generosity with astonishment, s _ far more likely to respond with anger or grief because Viva mtara’s gifts come at the ex-they are _ s pense of his kingdom’s and family’s well being. Arya S ´ ura introduces _this tension at the outset ofthe story with the gift of the royal elephant. A neighbouring king, hearing of Viva mtara’s gener- sosity, sends some brahmins to ask Viva mtara for the royal elephant. When the brahmins make s _ _their request, they say to Viva mtara: ‘Present us with this elephant . and, in so doing, completely sastound (vismaya-ekarasa) the _ universe’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 59; Kern, 1914, p. 53.11e12). Although the brahmins predict that Viva mtara’s gift will produce astonishment, it instead sproduces only a host of angry emotions. The_ Sibis, the citizens of Viva mtara’s kingdom, are ´ s _not astonished when they learn that their prince has given away the royal elephant. Instead,they are upset (sa mk subh-), agitated (samudr na), angry (krodha), enraged (sa mrambha), alarmed ı _ _ _ _(sa mbhrama) and indignant (amara) (Khoroche, 1989, p. 60; Kern, 1914, p. 54.1e6). Arya Sura s ´ _pointedly and explicitly attributes a number of emotions to the S ´ ibis, but not one of these is the ´predicted response of astonishment. Arya Sura uses this initial gift of the royal elephant to intro-duce a tension that will run throughout the narrative: that between the way that living beingsshould respond to Viva mtara and the way they in fact respond. s _ The second gift of the children is also not initially received as it should be. Viva mtara gives his s _children to a cruel and poor brahmin in need of servants. We are told that the brahmin is in suchhaste to leave that he delivers only a cursory blessing (sa mk sipta-pada asr-vacana) (see Khoroche, ı1989, p. 68; Kern, 1914, p. 62.13). Additionally, the children _ _ and Madr far from being astonished, ıare grief stricken. The predicted response of astonishment does not occur until the end of the 5 The story closes with the following condemnation of Jujjuka’s ingratitude and admonition to the monastic commu-nity to cultivate gratitude: yo’sau jujjuka h e sa evsau devadatta h tena klena tena samayena; tadpy e sa ak rtajn˜a h a a a _ _ı _ a _ _a _ak rtaved; etarhy apy e sa ak rtajn˜a h ak rtaved; tasmt tarhi bhik sava h evam sik sitavyam yat k rtajn˜ bhavi syma h, ı a _k rtavedina h, svalpam api _ k rtam na_ nsyayi syma h; prgeva prabhtam; ity evam vo bhik sava h _sik sitavyam _ (Gnoli, _ a _ a a _u _ _ _ _ _1978, p. 133). _ _ _ _ _ _
  6. 6. 96 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106story. Madr who had been out during the brahmin’s visit, is overcome with grief when she ı,returns to find her children missing. At first, she believes they must be dead. Her grief turns toastonishment, however, when she learns that Viva mtara has given them away: s _ When Madr whose deepest fear had been that the children were dead, heard that they were ı, still alive, her anguish abated. Not wanting her husband to falter, she dried her eyes, and looking up at him with wonder (vismaya), said: ‘Astonishing (scaryam)! What else can I a say? Surely even the gods above must be amazed (vismaya) to see how selfishness (matsara) has no sway over your heartdwhich is why, in their eagerness to spread your fame, they have filled the heavens with a continuous but distinct flow of words, while, all around, the roll of celestial drums reverberates in every direction. The Earth heaves her breasts, the great mountains, as though shivering in ecstasy. Flowers of gold fall from the heavens so that the sky seems ablaze with lightening. So do not give way to sorrow. Be glad that you have made a gift. Be a refuge (nipna-bhta) for all creationdand give yet again’! (Khoroche, 1989, p. 71; a u Kern, 1914, pp. 65.22e66.8) From the opening of this speech to the end of the story, vismaya, so conspicuously absent ear-lier, occurs five times in rapid succession as Madr and subsequently the World Protectors and ı ´Sakra are astonished by Viva mtara’s generosity (see Khoroche, 1989, pp. 71e2; Kern, 1914, s _ ´pp. 65.23e24; 66.1, 10e11, 12, 22). The story reaches its climax when Sakra, ‘giddy with wonderand delight ( prahar sa-vismaya-ghr nita-manas)’ (Khoroche, 1989, pp. 71e2; Kern, 1914, p. a u66.12), disguises himself as a brahmin _and asks Viva mtara for his wife. When Viva mtara grants _ s shis request, Sakra is ‘overcome with utter amazement _( parama-vismaya)’ (Khoroche, _1989, p. 72; ´Kern, 1914, p. 66.22). He then reveals his true identity, and the story ends happily with the res-toration to Viva mtara of his wife, children and kingdom. s Madr speech,_ just quoted, is a turning point in the story. Previously, living beings had not re- ı’ssponded as predicted to Viva mtara’s generosity. Instead of being astonished, they were angry or s _grief stricken. It is no accident that Madr response is matched by extraordinary events in the divine ı’sand natural realms. As we have just seen, the gods fill the heavens with ‘a continuous but distinct flowof words’, celestial drums sound, the earth quakes, Mount Meru shakes, and flowers of gold tall fromthe sky as if it were ‘ablaze with lightning’. Madr response marks the moment when the brahmins’ ı’sprediction that Viva mtara’s generosity will ‘completely astound the universe’ finally comes true. s _ The delay in extraordinary divine and natural responses to Viva mtara’s generosity is perhaps s _intended to be as pointed as the delay in expressions of astonishment. The delay in these divine andnatural responses contrasts markedly to other Sinhala and Pli versions of the story, which contain adiverse kinds of divine and natural responses, reflecting diverse kinds of emotions, including joy,approval, dread and sorrow. For instance, in the Sinhala Butsarana, a medieval Sri Lankan text,as soon as Viva mtara has given the seven-hundredfold great almsgiving, ‘the great earth rose s _and quivered, the great mount Meru rejoiced and began to shake as if in a dance, and the SevenfoldMountains bent down in salutation like a peeled stick of bamboo’ (Reynolds, 1970, p. 141).6 In the 6 ´ Vessantara (Sanskrit: Viva mtara) presents this gift right before going into exile with his family. Arya Sura does not s _refer to a seven-hundredfold almsgiving but does state that Viva mtara gives away his entire fortune before going into sexile (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 64). _
  7. 7. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 97same text, when Viva mtara gives away his children, there is a decidedly mixed emotional response s _on the part of the divine and natural worlds to this gift: And as soon as he gave away his children, the great earth began to groan, like a faithful ser- vant weeping with grief of heart. And Meru and Mandaara and the other great mountains began to quake, as if shaking with grief in their tears for the children who had been given away. But the gods in their joy sent rains of flowers and began to give shouts of praise. (Rey- nolds, 1970, p. 156) Heim draws attention to the often terrifying nature of these responses to Viva mtara’s gifts, s _especially as described in Pli sources. For example, she cites a recurring refrain that accompanies athe gifts of the royal elephant, children and Madr in the Pli Jtaka. Of the gift of the children, ı a athis text reads: ‘Then there was a frightening thing, then there was something to make your hairstand on end, for when he gave away the children, the earth shook’ (Cone and Gombrich, 1977,pp. 59e60; quoted in Heim, 2003, p. 539). There is a similarly terrifying refrain in the Pli Car- aiypi taka version of the Viva mtara story: ‘the earth, garlanded with Sineru’s (celestial) Groves, a s _ _ ´trembled then too’ (Horner, 1975, pp. 11, v. 21; 13, v. 48; 13, v. 51). By contrast, Arya Sura delaysthese extraordinary responses until the end of the story. And when they do finally come, they arenot nearly so frightening as some of the responses in the Sinhala and Pli versions of the story. aThe divine and natural responses mark the moment in the narrative when astonishment, ratherthan anger or grief, becomes the dominant emotion. As we have seen, astonishment, for all its in-tensity, is represented as a largely joyful experience. Delaying the predicted response of astonishment as well as the extraordinary responses toViva mtara’s gifts until the end of the story is an intentional literary strategy on the part of s ´ _Arya Sura. First, he creates in his audience the expectation that the world will respond to the Bod-hisattva’s generosity with astonishment, in accordance with the brahmins’ prediction. Then hepromptly and repeatedly defies that expectation by describing responses of anger and grief. Hethereby introduces a contradiction in the narrative that draws attention to the importance of as-tonishment by virtue of its conspicuous absence. The philosopher Martha Nussbaum states that ‘Literary form is not separable from philosoph-ical content, but is, itself, a part of contentdan integral part, then, of the search for and the state-ment of truth’ (Nussbaum, 1990, p. 3). According to Nussbaum, ‘style itself makes its claims,expresses its own sense of what matters’ (Nussbaum, 1990, p. 3). Buddhist narratives, such asJtakas and Avadnas, have been characterised at times as simple folktales designed to make a aBuddhist doctrine accessible to those incapable of understanding more sophisticated forms ofBuddhist literature such as Abhidharma. As Hallisey and Hansen argue, however, ‘The obviousdidactic function’ of Buddhist narratives need not imply that these are intended only for the un-educated masses (Hallisey and Hansen, 1996, p. 309). Furthermore, much of Buddhist narrative ´literature is not simple at all, literarily or philosophically. Arya Sura employs a sophisticated lit- ´erary style in order to articulate his sense of ‘what matters’. What matters to Arya Sura are emo-tions, specifically ethically valorised emotions, such as astonishment. ´ Arya Sura’s focus on emotions suggests that his Viva mtara story is less about the Bodhisattva s _ ´per se and more about the responses to him. Perhaps for this reason Arya Sura is surprisinglysilent about the larger context of the Bodhisattva’s generosity, namely, his quest for Buddhahood.Viva mtara is, of course, fulfilling the perfection of generosity, which is a prerequisite for s _
  8. 8. 98 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106attaining Buddhahood. His rebirth as Viva mtara is in fact his penultimate rebirth. In his next life s _he will become the Buddha. Unlike other Sinhala, Pli and Sanskrit versions of the story, all of a ´which justify Viva mtara’s generosity in light of his larger quest for Buddhahood, Arya Sura re- smains silent on this _point. ´ ´ Contrast the gift of the children in Arya Sura’s account to this gift in other accounts. Arya Suramakes no reference to the Bodhisattva’s quest for Buddhahood in the course of describing thisgift. Instead, he simply describes the grief that Viva mtara feels over the loss of his children: s _‘By an effort of his will, water fell from the water pot. Effortlessly it fell from his eyes, darkred as lotus petals’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 68; Kern, 1914, p. 62.10e1).7 By contrast, the Pli Jtaka a aversion says: There he took water in a pot, and calling the brahmin to him, he formed an aspiration for omniscience; and as he poured out the water he made the earth resound with the words, ‘Om- niscience is a hundred times, a thousand times, a hundred thousand times more precious to me than my son!’ and so made the gift of his dear children to the brahmin. (Cone and Gom- brich, 1977, p. 59)8 Similarly, the Sinhala Butsarana reads: ‘He poured water from his pitcher over the brahmin’shand, saying ‘‘By the merit of giving away these lovely children may I reach the supra mundaneAll-Buddhahood’’’ (Reynolds, 1970, p. 156). Likewise, in the Sanskrit Mlasarvstivda monastic u a aregulations, Viva mtara says: ‘May I attain the great [karmic] fruit of the gift of my children and sthereby enable the _world to cross over the ocean of sa msra’ (Gnoli, 1978, p. 126). Additionally, a _the Pli and Sinhala versions state that the gift of the children serves to perfect the perfection of agenerosity, which is necessary for attaining Buddhahood. For example, in the Pli Jtaka a aViva mtara calls out as follows to his children: ‘Come, my dear son [or daughter], fulfil my Per- s _fection.. Be a steady boat to carry me on the sea of becoming. I shall cross to the further shore ofbirth, and make the world with its gods cross also’ (Cone and Gombrich, 1977, pp. 58e9; see alsoCone and Gombrich, 1977, pp. 54, 75, 92; Reynolds, 1970, pp. 152, 158). ´ In contrast to other versions of the Viva mtara story, Arya Sura’s version contains no refer- s _ ´ences to either the perfections or the Bodhisattva vow. The closest Arya Sura comes to tyingViva mtara’s gifts to his larger quest for Buddhahood is in describing the gift of Madr ‘Taking s ı:Madr_with his left hand and a water pot with his right, he poured water over the brahmin’s fin- ıgers but scorching fire on Mra’s soul’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 72; Kern, 1914, p. 66.18e19). This a verse anticipates the future Buddha’s victory over Mra under the Bodhi tree. Arya Sura does a ´not devote nearly so much attention to the larger context of the Bodhisattva’s gifts as these other 7 According to Khoroche, ‘To take one’s oath on water, either by pouring it or by having a pot full of water( pr naptra) beside one, seems to have been a common Indo-European inheritance. The pouring of water to ratify u a _any solemn transference of property is common in the Indian tradition’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 260, n. 5). 8 The gift of Madd (Sanskrit: Madr is also accompanied by a vow (Cone and Gombrich, 1977, pp. 76e7). Similarly, ı ı)of the gift of his children and wife, the Cariypi taka says: ‘Jli (my son), Ka nhjin my daughter, the lady Madd a a a a ı, _ _a chaste wifedrelinquishing them I did not think; it was for the sake of Awakening itself. Neither child was disagreeableto me, the lady Madd was not disagreeable. Omniscience was dear to me, therefore I gave away those who were dear’ ı(Horner, 1975, pp. 13e4, vv. 52e3).
  9. 9. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 99versions do. His story is less about the Bodhisattva and his progress towards Buddhahood than ´about the responses to the Bodhisattva. Arya Sura’s primary concern in telling this story is todraw the audience’s attention to the importance of responding with astonishment to the Bodhi-sattva’s generosity. ´uWhy does Arya Sra valorise astonishment? ´ Arya Sura valorises astonishment because he recognises that it is not a natural response to ´Viva mtara’s generosity. It is a cultivated response and thus requires education. Arya Sura grants sthat it _ is more natural to feel anger or grief than to feel astonishment when someone’s actions,however well intentioned, threaten one’s own well being. Even the Bodhisattva finds the gift of ´his children almost impossible to bear. Arya Sura portrays the Bodhisattva as an individual strug-gling to overcome anger and grief, including a struggle against an impulse to regret the gift: Though shaken by his children’s pathetic lament, the Bodhisattva asked himself how anyone could feel remorse after making a gift in such circumstances. But his heart was consumed by a burning grief that was not to be assuaged. He felt so greatly disturbed, it was as though he were being drugged by some powerful poison, and he sank down on the spot. The cool wind fanned him, and he regained consciousness. But when he noticed how still the hermitage was without the children, he said to himself, choking with sobs and tears: ‘Oh, that shameless brahmin! How is it that he did not hesitate to strike quite openly at my heart, that is, my children?.. Oh! it sears my heart to be deprived of my children, Yet, could anyone who knows where a good man’s duty lies feel regret?’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 69; Kern, 1914, pp. 63.16e64.6) ´ Arya Sura goes as far as to suggest that Madr fears that her husband might falter if she con- ıtinues to give way to grief. Thus, as we have seen, she dries her eyes, gazes upon her husband withastonishment, praises his selflessness and encourages him to continue giving (see Khoroche, 1989,p. 71; Kern, 1914, pp. 65.22e66.8). If even so extraordinary being as the Bodhisattva responds toloss with anger and grief, how much more so must ordinary living beings? ´ Arya Sura recognises that even those not directly negatively affected by the Bodhisattva’s ac-tions might find it difficult to approve of these actions. Thus he opens his story with the followingstatement: ‘Those who are mean of heart (alpa-sattva) scarcely even approve of the way a Bodhi- ´sattva acts, let alone follow his example’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 58; Kern, 1914, p. 51.22). Arya Surasingles out the ‘mean of heart’, but even those who are generous of heart might find it difficult toapprove of a generosity that flies in the face of convention. Viva mtara’s generosity might seem s _downright outrageous. Good fathers do not give away their children. Good husbands do not giveaway their wives. A later story in the collection underscores the morally ambiguous nature of the gift of Madr ı.Arya Sra tells the story of Unmdayant in which the Bodhisattva, reborn as the King of the u a ı, ´Sibis, has fallen in love with his minister’s wife. The minister is so devoted to his King that heoffers his wife to the Bodhisattva, saying: ‘By helping me in an act of generosity, you would infact be doing a good deed, whereas by not accepting her from me you would be preventing anact of generosity’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 92; Kern, 1914, p. 84.20e21). The Unmdayant story a ıcomes after the Viva mtara story. Some readers might expect that the Bodhisattva would approve s _of his minister’s generosity, but he does not. Instead, he says: ‘This intense devotion to me has
  10. 10. 100 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106apparently blinded you to the fact that counselling generosity does not in every instance lead togood (dharma)’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 92; Kern, 1914, p. 85.4e5). He refuses the gift, saying that itwould be sin ( ppa) and quite wrong (akrama) (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 93; Kern, 1914, pp. 85.9, a85.21). ´ Arya Sura is well aware that the Bodhisattva’s generosity violates conventions, especially thatof kingship. Just as good fathers do not give away their children and good husbands do not giveaway their wives, so good rulers do not give away the royal elephant. Peter Khoroche argues that ´the Jtakaml ‘reflects a courtly milieu’ and that Arya Sura ‘is concerned to show how the Bud- a aadhist morality should be adopted by the ruler in preference to the realpolitik (nti) advocated by ıthe Arthaastra’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. xviii; see also Johnston, 1929, pp. 80e4). Viva mtara’s ac- s s _tions hardly fit realpolitik. When Viva mtara gives away the royal elephant, he endangers his s _kingdom and its inhabitants. His is a highly imprudent gift. Indeed, Viva mtara’s generosity is s a a a _initially portrayed as an addiction (dna-prasa mga, dna-anurga) (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 59; _ who defends his son to the Sibis, admits thatKern, 1914, p. 53.1, 3). Even Viva mtara’s father, s ´his son is so ‘passionately addicted _to giving things’ away, that he utterly disregards ‘consider-ations of state (nti-krama)’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 61; Kern, 1914, p. 54.18e19). When Viva mtara ı s ´gives away the royal elephant, Arya Sura writes: _ Though he knew that for reasons of state (rja-astra) one had to stray from the path of a s goodness (dharma) in pursuit of one’s advantage, he nonetheless gave away that magnificent elephant, so attached was he to doing good (dharma-anurga). Base considerations of expe- a diency (nti) could not sway him.. The city, however, preferred the path of prudence and ı was upset. (Khoroche, 1989, p. 60; Kern, 1914, pp. 53.21e54.2) ´ Arya Sura characterises the Bodhisattva as a ruler whose addiction to giving leads him to dis-regard accepted political practice. This theme is central to the Jtakaml as a whole. For exam- a aaple, in the Maitrıbala story the Bodhisattva is reborn as a king who gives his flesh and blood tohungry Yak sas. His ministers tell him that his passion for generosity makes him ‘heedless of the _consequences for good or evil’ to his subjects (Khoroche, 1989, p. 52; Kern, 1914, p. 46.6e7). Asa prince in the Sutasoma story, he has pledged to give his life to a cannibal ( puru sa-ada). To no ı s _avail, his father counsels him that ‘political experts (nti-kuala) regard it as misguided and per-verse of kings to hold to moral considerations when these obviously clash with material interestsand personal happiness’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 229; Kern, 1914, p. 215.13e14). When, as the king ofmonkeys, the Bodhisattva sacrifices his life for the sake of his tribe of monkeys, he admits that hisaction goes against political practice (rja-nti) (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 190; Kern, 1914, p. a ı ´179.20). Again and again, Arya Sura informs his audience that the Bodhisattva follows a differentmorality than that commonly accepted by kings and their courts. In doing so, he tries to convincehis audience that political expediency is not the most important consideration, which should beBuddhist morality. ´ Arya Sura is aware that many persons may not respond favourably to Viva mtara’s extraordi- s _nary generosity because it flies in the face of conventions. As we have seen, anger and grief are farmore natural responses to this generosity than astonishment. Astonishment, as it occurs in theViva mtara story, is a cultivated, not a natural, emotion. The tension that runs throughout the s _story between the way that living beings should respond to the Bodhisattva’s gifts and the waythat they do respond is a tension between cultivated and natural emotional responses. Arya
  11. 11. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 101 ´Sura describes many different emotions in the Viva mtara story and the collection as a whole, but s _not all emotions are valued equally. In the Viva mtara story the preferred emotional response to sthe Bodhisattva is astonishment rather than anger _ or grief. Arya Sura acknowledges the natural- ´ness of anger and grief. Even the Bodhisattva struggles with these emotions. Nevertheless, the pre-ferred emotional response to the Bodhisattva is a cultivated emotion. Ideally, anger and griefshould give way to astonishment.Cultivating astonishment How does one cultivate astonishment? By learning about the Bodhisattvadspecifically, bylearning about his svabhva, a word that means innate ‘nature’, ‘character’, or ‘disposition’. a ´ ´Arya Sura informs us that the Sibis and Madr respond so differently to Viva mtara’s gifts ı s ´ _ ´because the Sibis do not understand his nature (svabhva), whereas Madr does. Arya Sura links a ıcorrect emotional response to the Bodhisattva’s generosity with correct understanding of hisnature. Thus the cultivation of astonishment goes hand in hand with the cultivation of knowledge.The experience of astonishment is rooted in understanding. ´ ´ Arya Sura draws a sharp contrast between the Sibis’ and the Madr responses to Viva mtara’s ı’s s ´generosity. When Viva mtara learns that he has been banished by the Sibis, he states: ‘The Sibis s _ ´ _are, of course, fickle by nature (capala-svabhva), and, it would appear, ignorant (anabhijn of my a ˜a)nature (tma-svabhva)’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 63; Kern, 1914, p. 56.13e14). Unlike the Sibis, a a ´Madr knows her husband’s nature. Presumably, her loyalty to her husband, demonstrated by ı ´her following him into exile, indicates that she also has a different nature than the Sibis. She isthe opposite of fickle. But Arya S ´ ura does not elaborate on this point. Instead, he contrasts ´her knowledge to the Sibi’s ignorance. He makes this contrast when he describes Madr response ı’sto Viva mtara’s final gift, namely, the gift of Madr herself. He informs us that ‘Madr was not s ı ı _angry, neither did she weep’. Why? ‘For she knew (vid-) his character (svabhva)’ (Khoroche, a1989, p. 72; Kern, 1914, p. 66.20). This final gift comes immediately after Madr learns the fate ıof her children. Once Madr learns their fate, the story moves rapidly to a close. As soon as Madr ı ı ´expresses her astonishment that her husband has given away their children, Sakra expresses aston- ´ishment and comes to ask Viva mtara for his wife. Arya Sura’s audience thus learns that Madr s ıknows her husband’s nature soon _ after she expresses her astonishment. The implication is thatMadr is able to respond appropriately to her husband’s generosity precisely because she, unlike ı ´the Sibis, knows his nature. ´ What is the Bodhisattva’s nature? Immediately after criticising the Sibis for their ignorance,Viva mtara himself defines his nature as follows: s _ Quite apart from outward possessions, I would give away my own eyes, my headdit is purely for the good of the world that I keep my body alive. As to clothes or beasts of burden, that goes without saying. If a beggar demands it, I am ready to offer him my whole body. ´ And they [the Sibis] imagine that by intimidating me they can stop me giving. That shows how foolish and superficial they must be. Let the entire nation come and banish me or put me to death; I shall never stop giving. (Khoroche, 1989, p. 63; Kern, 1914, p. 56.15e20) The Bodhisattva’s nature is to be generous. He is incapable of refusing a beggar’s request evenwere a beggar to demand his life. Moreover, the Bodhisattva gives without expectation of
  12. 12. 102 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 ´reward. He gives because it is his nature to give. As we have seen, Arya Sura does not justifyViva mtara’s gifts in light of his larger quest for Buddhahood, at least not in the Viva mtara s s _ this penultimate birth of the Buddha, the one in which he perfects the perfection of_ gen-story. Inerosity, generosity is never represented as a means to an end, however great that end. Thus theBodhisattva does not even appear to give in expectation of Buddhahood. His generosity is alto-gether selfless. ´ Sakra and Madr both comment on Viva mtara’s selflessly generous nature. They appear to be ı seven more astonished by his nature than by_ his actions. For example, when Viva mtara gives s ´ ´Madr to Sakra, Sakra is ‘overcome with utter amazement ( parama-vismaya)’ and exclaims: ı _ Oh! what a gulf lies between the good and bad in the way they behave. The spiritually ignorant (ak rta-tman) could not even believe such an act possible. Still to feel love, and a _ yet to give away one’s own dear wife and children like this, unselfishly (ni hsangam)dwhat _ true nobility. (Khoroche, 1989, p. 72; Kern, 1914, pp. 66.22e67.2) _ Similarly, when Madr learns the fate of her children, she exclaims: ‘Astonishing! What else ıcan I say? Surely even the gods above must be amazed (vismaya) to see how selfishness (mat-sara) has no sway over your heart’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 71; Kern, 1914, pp. 65.24e66.2).The gift of the children, which is generally represented in the various versions of the Viva mtara sstory as the most difficult gift to give, is a turning point for Madr This gift, more than any ı. _other, demonstrates the Bodhisattva’s selflessly generous nature. Thus Madr grief gives way ı’sto astonishment. Those who understand the Bodhisattva’s nature do not give in to feelings of anger or grief. Anyanger or grief they might feel turns into astonishment as they realise Bodhisattva’s nature. Theyare, in the end, simply amazed that so extraordinary a being exists. ´ It turns out, however, that few persons are capable of astonishment in Arya Sura’s story.Astonishment marks a level of understanding that many simply do not possess. In the entire storythe only persons who express astonishment are Madr and the gods. Although we are never told ı ´that the gods, especially Sakra, know the Bodhisattva’s nature, it would appear that their status asgods gives them a knowledge that most humans lack. Additionally, the natural world also seems to have an innate understanding of the Bodhisatt- ´va’s nature.9 Although Arya Sura delays until the end of the story extraordinary natural eventslike earthquakes, which commonly mark Viva mtara’s gifts, the natural world does respond fa- s _vourably to his presence at an earlier point. When Viva mtara’s family first sets out into exile, s _tree branches laden with fruit incline themselves towards the family, ponds appear spontaneouslywhen the family is thirsty, and clouds provide shade (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 66; Kern, 1914, pp.59.24e60.4). Furthermore, when Viva mtara gives away the horses that are drawing the family’s scarriage on this journey into exile, four _Yak sas in the guise of deer come up to the carriage and _begin to pull it themselves (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 65; Kern, 1914, p. 59.5e7). This act producesthe one early occasion of astonishment in the story. Madr sees what the animals have done and ıgrows ‘wide-eyed with astonishment (vismaya) and delight (har sa)’, speculating that her husband’s a a _superhuman powers ( prabhva atimnu sa) are somehow responsible (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 65; _ 9 ´ Maria Heim, who does not address the issue of svabhva, nevertheless argues concerning Arya Sura’s Viva mtara a sstory that ‘the earth is capable of experiencing and indicating awe’ (Heim, 2003, p. 541). _
  13. 13. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 103 ´Kern, 1914, p. 59.8e12). Although Arya Sura tells us only that Madr knows her husband’s na- ıture, the events of the story suggest that both the natural and the divine worlds have some knowl-edge of this nature as well. Astonishment is the product of understanding and as such is a cultivated rather than natural re-sponse to the Bodhisattva’s generosity. Cultivating this emotional response to the Bodhisattva isprecisely the point of the Viva mtara story. By teaching his audience about the Bodhisattva’s na- s ´ _ture, Arya Sura provides them with an opportunity to be astonished by that nature. In effect, Arya S´ ura invites his audience to place themselves in the privileged position of Madr and the divine and ınatural realms. He employs his sophisticated literary skills to make possible the experience of anethically valorised emotion. Thus one of the ways in which narrative literature teaches individuals‘how to be Buddhists’ is by enabling them to cultivate particular kinds of emotions. ´ Arya Sura’s interest in emotions, including those of his audience, must be placed within thelarger context of Sanskrit literary theory on rasa. Rasa, a multivalent word often translated as‘taste’ in the context of Sanskrit literary theory, refers there to the emotional ‘flavour’, ormood, of a work of literature. From ancient times, Sanskrit literary theorists were interested inemotions. Initially, these theorists confined their investigations to the representation of emotionsin a text, but eventually some turned their attention to the experience of emotions on the part ofan audience. Sheldon Pollock has demonstrated that beginning in the ninth century in Kashmir,literary theorists such as Abhinivagupta (ca. 1000) shifted the focus of rasa theory from text toaudience. Whereas most literary theorists had assumed that rasa was a property of the text, theKashmiri theorists assumed that it was a property of the audience. According to Pollock,‘What had long been the defining question, how the literary artefact embodies human affect,was transformed into a question of reception, how the reader actually experiences this aestheti-cised emotion [rasa]’ (Pollock, 2001, p. 198; see also Pollock, 1998, pp. 117e92). The influence of Kashimiri discourse on rasa has been so great on subsequent generations ofscholars that, as Pollock argues, it is ‘often taken to represent rasa-doctrine tout court and trans- ´historically’ (Pollock, 1998, pp. 125e6; see also Pollock, 2001, p. 198). Arya Sura lived many cen- ´turies before Kashmiri theorists shifted the focus of rasa theory. Nevertheless, Arya Sura, who iscognisant of rasa theory, shares their interest the emotional state of the audience. This awarenessis apparent not only in the Viva mtara story but also in a brief reference to rasa in the Jtakaml s a aa _itself. The reference occurs in ‘The King of the Monkeys’ story, in which the Bodhisattva has beenreborn as a monkey king. We have already encountered this story above in our discussion of how the Bodhisattvaviolates realpolitik when he sacrifices his life to save his tribe of monkeys. The monkeys areplaced in danger because they live in a tree filled with delicious fruit. A human king wantsthe fruit for himself and thus orders the monkeys killed. Prior to his attack, however, Arya ´ ura describes the human king’s first experience of the fruit. It is here that we find the referenceSto rasa: ‘He was amazed (vismi-) by its wonderful flavour (adbhuta rasa), as one is by the feelingof wonder (adbhuta rasa) that grips one during a play’ (Khoroche, 1989, p. 187; Kern, 1914, ´p. 176.18e9).10 This single verse tells us that Arya Sura had some knowledge of rasa theory,although we do not know what form that theory took. More important, the verse also indicates10 The verse reads: adbhutena rasentha n rpas tasya visismiye | adbhutena raseneva prayogagu nahri n || a a a _ _ _
  14. 14. 104 S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 ´that Arya Sura was attentive not only to the emotions of the characters but also to the emo-tions of the audience. He likens the king’s astonishment to that of an audience gripped bythe feeling of wonder that arises while watching a play. Strikingly, the emotion cited in the verse is that of astonishment, which is one of the eight ´emotions listed in Bharata’s famous Ntyaastra.11 Although Arya Sura lived long before a sKashmiri theorists shifted the location of _rasa from text to audience, he is by no means indif-ferent to the emotional impact literary works have on their audiences. Thus I would argue thathis Viva mtara story does more than valorise astonishment. It creates an opportunity for the s _audience to experience astonishment as they come to understand the Bodhisattva’s selflessnature.Conclusion Scholars of Buddhism have only recently turned their attention to the subject of emotions.Kevin Trainor outlines a number of reasons for this lacuna in scholarship. One reason is the valuethat Buddhist traditions place on the ideal of nonattachment. As Trainor notes, Buddhisttraditions can be ‘sharply critical of subjective affective attachments’ (Trainor, 2003, p. 524).Additionally, according to Buddhist doctrine, the source of all suffering is one particularly prob-lematic form of attachment, namely, craving or thirst (t r s n) (see Trainor, 2003, p. 524). Trainor asuggests that ‘the Buddhist ideal of nonattachment has _perhaps turned attention away from the __positive role that some kinds of emotion play in Buddhist tradition’ (Trainor, 2003, p. 524).Similarly, Damien Keown has argued that the reduction of all desires to their most negativeformdcraving or thirstdhas given rise to a misperception that there is no place for ‘the affectivefaculties’ in Buddhism (Keown, 1992, p. 222). The opposite, however, is the case. Buddhists havebeen as interested in cultivating ethically valorised emotions as in eradicating emotions deemedethically detrimental. Narratives like the Viva mtara story are critical to the cultivation of ethically valorised emo- stions. Arya Sura teaches his_ audience that the correct emotional response to the Bodhisattva’s ´generosity is astonishment. This cultivated rather than natural response is to a generosity thatthreatens the immediate well being of the Bodhisattva’s kingdom and family. Arya Sura’s ´Viva mtara story thus demonstrates that ethically valorised emotions are not necessarily natural s _ones. In the case of astonishment, the cultivation of this emotion goes hand in hand in theViva mtara story with the cultivation of knowledge. Only those who understand the Bodhisatt- s _ va’s nature are able to respond with astonishment rather than anger or grief. Arya Sra’s version uof the story, however, does more than simply valorise astonishment. By teaching his audienceabout the Bodhisattva, he actually creates an opportunity for that audience to experience aston-ishment as they come to understand the Bodhisattva’s remarkable nature. Different versions of the Viva mtara story have different emotional tones that produce different snuances in meaning and effect. _The Mlasarvstivda version of this story foregrounds the u a a11 ´ Bharata’s Ntyaastra, which pre-dates Arya Sura by several centuries, outlines eight primary emotions a s a a _(sthyibhvas). Under the right conditions these primary emotions develop into their corresponding rasas, which areheightened or refined emotions. Wonder (adbhuta) is one of the eight rasas in Bharata’s work and corresponds tothe primary emotion of vismaya. For a complete list, see Vijayavardhana, 1970, p. 82.
  15. 15. S. Mrozik / Religion 36 (2006) 91e106 105 ´emotion of gratitude, whereas Arya Sura foregrounds astonishment. This difference raises one fi- ´nal question: why does Arya Sura foreground astonishment rather than another emotion? Let us recall that Arya S ´ ura advocates adopting Buddhist morality in place of the realpolitik (nti) of the ıcourt. His goal in telling stories about the Bodhisattva is to change the ethical conduct of hisaudience. ´ This goal is evident already in the opening verse of the Viva mtara story, where Arya Sura la- sments that the ‘mean of heart’ do not approve of the Bodhisattva’s _ actions and do not follow his ´example. How can Arya Sura change the conduct of his audience? By teaching them about theBodhisattva’s nature, which is so different from that of most others. Where most persons placeself-interest above the interest of others, the Bodhisattva places the interest of others above his ´own. No wonder Sakra and Madr find the Bodhisattva’s nature so astonishing. He exemplifies ıa different kind of morality, and he thus suggests to them the possibility of living differently,that is, according to Buddhist ethical principles. He introduces a new hierarchy of values in whichBuddhist concerns trump those of the court. Vivantha’s Shityadarpa na, an early fourteenth-century Sanskrit text on literary theory, s a agives vismaya (astonishment)_ as a synonym for camatkra (wonder) and defines both as an aexpansion of the heartmind (citta-vistra) (see Durgaprasad, 1982, p. 78 [3.3]). Although a ´this text comes many centuries after Arya Sura, its definition of astonishment is apt for theJtakaml. Throughout the Jtakaml, astonishment marks the moment when living beings a aa a aafirst realise the possibility of living according to different ethical principles because they see theBodhisattva doing so. When the Bodhisattva offers his flesh and blood to starving Yak sas inthe Maitr _ ıbala story, these Yak sas experience a variety of strong emotions, including astonish-ment (see Khoroche, 1989, p. 55; _ Kern, 1914, p. 49.1e2). Consequently, they beg the Bodhi-sattva to stop mutilating his body for their sake and express hope that by taking refuge (ri-) sin him, they might put an end to their evil deeds. The Bodhisattva then instructs them in thefive precepts, that is, the Buddhist code of ethical conduct (see Khoroche, 1989, pp. 55e56;Kern, 1914, pp. 48.25e50.21). The Yak sas’ experience of astonishment thus precedes their em-brace of the five precepts. In this sense_ astonishment can be characterised as an expansion ofthe heart mind. It marks a moment when one realises, perhaps for the first time, that it ispossible to live in accordance with a different set of ethical values. I believe that this is the ´experience that Arya Sura wants to relay to his audience by telling his version of theViva mtara story. s _Acknowledgments An earlier version of this essay was presented at the New England Conference of the Associa-tion for Asian Studies, Boston, MA, 10 October 1992. I want to thank Karen Derris for her in-sightful comments on subsequent drafts of this essay.ReferencesBerkwitz, S.C., 2003. History and gratitude in Theravda Buddhism. Journal of the Academy of Religion 71, 579e604. aCone, M., Gombrich, R.F. (Trans.), 1977. The Perfect Generosity of Prince Vessantara: A Buddhist Epic. Clarendon Press, Oxford.
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