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The first turning of the wheel of the doctrine— Sarvāstivāda and Mahāsāṃghika controversy

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Chapter Summary

After an initial period in which the Buddhist faith did not spread beyond the boundaries of the region where the Buddha spent his life, the territorial expansion of the Mauryan Empire under the famous king Asoka (r. ca. 270-ca. 230 BC) enabled Buddhism to quickly spread throughout India. The dispute between the Sarvstivdins and the Mahsghikas on the nature of the wheel of the doctrine and on the event that should be considered as the first turning of this wheel of the doctrine is an interesting example of scholarly debate between different Hinayna groups on the Indian subcontinent. This chapter includes 1. Treatment of the Subject in sutra and vinaya Literature 2. Treatment of the Subject in Sarvstivda Abhidharma Literature 3. The Relation of Speech" as the Nature of the Wheel of the Doctrine to Other Mahsghika Doctrinal Standpoints.

Keywords: Buddhism; mahsghika; Mauryan Empire; sutra; sarvstivda; vinaya



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