Wednesday, 16 March 2011

What textual evidence of the syntagmatic displacement of Sakra?

Looking at broader patterns in the changing mythology is a simpler process that looking for specific comments within text supportive of such an intent. The former is essentially statistical and deals largely with the shifting of classes, the latter require explicit comments that would substantiate the statistical analysis. Textual analysis, of course, is not a physical science, a text unlike nature be cannot be 'put to the question'. The best that can be expected is the occurrence of passage which would support the interpretations made. Whilst these are not many,  some notable incidences can be found:

1) In the Lalitavistarasutra, the infant bodhisattva is reported as declaring that he will become worshipped by men and gods alike, becoming the recipient of their offerings.

2) The Asta provides Sakra describing how the devas approach him, or in his absence, his throne, the 'seat of his power'. This is in the same manner often described when devotees approach the Buddha or even, amongst many faith communities, still circumambulate around the images of the Buddha and stupas. This absent worship is also typical of the earliest iconography of the Buddha, an empty seat beneath the tree.


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