What’s with Asita and Subhadra? 阿私陀和須跋陀羅的關係


So, why did I choose the story of Asita and Subhadra for our daily reading? Much because  they are chiasmically important. For one they occur at the start and end of the Buddhacarita, chapters 1 and 26 respectively. Of equal importance is that it they both reference the Enlightenment of Siddhartha, which occurs at the 14th chapter. If you recall the rough correspondence of the chapters of the Buddhacarita, the stories here figure into a triangle, as shown in the diagram below.

Preliminary Matching for Asita-Subhadra

And what does this chiasmic structure tell us about how to interpret the story? Think: what does Asita and Subhadra share? How do they differ?

Comparison Asita-Subhadra

Subhadra heard the teachings while Asita did not, and this enabled the former to quit samsaric (cyclical) existence despite both being extremely accomplished spiritual practitioners.

It might seem trivial to raise this point to any Buddhist, but this two sections quite clearly mirrors each other, and tells us what

changes the climax – the Enlightenment – brings about. And it should encourage us to see if similar discoveries can be made in other sections of the Buddhacarita.






One thought on “What’s with Asita and Subhadra? 阿私陀和須跋陀羅的關係

  1. Pingback: Data mining the Asita-Subhadra connection: Progress Report 1 | buddhalives

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