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Natchapol Sirisawad, M.A.

PhD student at the Doctoral Program in Buddhist Studies


The Mahāprātihāryasūtra: Literary and Visual Representations in India and Southeast Asia

Natchapol Sirisawad’s dissertation project is entitled “The Mahāprātihāryasūtra: Literary and Visual Representations in India and Southeast Asia”. The Mahāprātihāryasūtra is a Buddhist narrative which is not only popular among the Mūlasarvastivāda Sect but also among the Theravāda Sect. The most important motifs in Mahāprātihāryasūtra are the instantaneous growth of a mango tree, the multiplication of himself up to the heaven, and the “Yamakapāṭihāriya” standing for the “twin miracle,” whose performance requires the simultaneous magical production of the opposite phenomena of fire and water from his body. In Buddha´s Divyāvadāna, it is indicated that the performance of this miracle at Śrāvastī is one of the ten actions undertaken by any Buddha, while the commentary on the Dhammapada records that this miracle was performed by the Buddha in Sāvatthī in reply to a challenge by non-Buddhist ascetics. Mr. Sirisawad will create a transliteration and reconstructed critical edition and translation of the Sanskrit fragments of the Mahāprātihāryasūtra from two surviving Gilgit Buddhist manuscripts, and study the relationship between the narrative of the Mahāprātihāryasūtra found in the Divyāvadāna and the Gilgit manuscripts comparing with the Tibetan version of the Mūlasarvāstivāda Vinaya, the Tibetan translation of the Abhidharmakoṣaṭīkā Upāyikā, as well as other witnesses of these narratives preserved in Pali and Thai from the Theravāda school. In addition to the philological approach, he will study the Indian textual sources and their relationship to the visual representations that lead to the reception of the narrative and art forms of the Śrāvastī miracle found in Southeast Asia, and especially in Thai history and society.