Event — Lecture

The dohada Motif in Ancient Biographies of the Buddha

This lecture is organised by 'Friends of the Kern Institute'. It is given by Dmitry Komissarov, who is a Gonda fellow at IIAS.

It takes place at Leiden University, Matthias de Vrieshof 3, and is followed by drinks. 

Dohada is a Sanskrit and Prakrit term for unusual desires of a pregnant woman. Such desires were a popular motif in ancient Indian narrative literature. It can also be found in ancient biographies of the Buddha. Queen Māyā, pregnant with a Bodhisattva, suddenly expressed a desire to go to the park, and there she gave birth to her son. In different texts, this motive takes on different forms. The whims of the pregnant queen are sometimes presented in the form of a list in which the desire to take a walk in the park is mentioned side by side with the intention to perform dharmic deeds. In this lecture I will try to show how the motif developed in the Buddha’s biographies and how the desire to go to the park can be associated with the intention to follow the Dharma.

Dmitry Komissarov graduated from the Russian State Humanitarian University in Moscow in 2008 with a master degree in Indian Philology. At the same university in 2012, he defended his dissertation on “Lalitavistara as an example of Buddhist hagiography.” Currently he teaches Sanskrit, Pāli and Buddhist literature at the Higher School of Economics (Moscow); he is also the head of the bachelor’s programme “Languages and Literatures of India”. His research interests include Buddhist hagiography, Buddhist canonical and narrative literature, and Sanskrit medieval comedies. For the last few months, Dmitrii has been working in Leiden as a J. Gonda fellow, researching the influence of the medieval Indian comedy tradition on the biographies of Buddha.


Organised by 'Friends of the Kern Institute'

E : secr.vvik@gmail.com

W: www.instituutkern.nl