Saturday, 3 July 2010

Allegory & Myth

One of the topics arising around the mytheme/narratime of Mara is whether Mara is a allegorical or mythic in function.  Before going further with this discussion it needs to be established that a Buddhist sutra in comparison to a novel, play or film is not a piece of popular fiction, perhaps even crafted according to widely recognised literary structures, but a piece of sacred writing. Consequently then, the motives and circumstances for both the creation and consumption of such works differ enormously. A novel may communicate and explore ideas, but the sacred text is aimed engendering a relgious experience.
Although these distinction exists, the development of modern art, in all cultures is ultimately derived from the expression of sacred and religious ideas. The question is then, are the creators of such works simply recording the ideas of their times or creating pieces of literature with narrative structures more in keeping with modern writers in which personae embody necessary roeke in order to facilitate the development of narrative content?
The development of Buddhist sutras is not restricted to a single period of time, even within Indian history. The earliest text are simple annecdotes, with subsequent works becoming increadingly elaorated descriptive with the final works such as the Mahayana sutra becoming embellished with length litanies and repetitions. Non the less, through all of these texts there are common personae, which integrate in a single overarching metanarrative. Unlike the Mahabharata and other epic texts such as the Illiiad and Odessy and Sagas , these works are not considered to be parts of an ongoing saga,  but snapshots in time. For the creators of these text, the connectively between them was not significant.

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