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Author : Sudaporn KHIEWNGAMDEE    
Type :
Printing Year : 2018
Number : 23
Page : 1329-1334
227    189




Asvagho?a’s Saundarananda-Mahakavya will be familiar to readers of Sanskrit literature with regards to its narration of the love affair between the Venerable Nanda and the mistress Sundari. However, it also contains many other interesting and useful themes for consideration. The researcher is particularly interested in the analysis of the method for alleviating sleepiness as taught by the Buddha in Chapter 14 of this work. The researcher’s aim is to study the background and method of practice for the alleviation of sleepiness in the Saundarananda-Mahakavya, as well as analyzing the application of this method in terms of modern medical science. This article is a documentary research, based on the study of the Saundarananda-Mahakavya, the Tripi?aka (Pali Canon), the Commentaries and other related articles and theses. The results of research were found that Asvagho?a’s explication of the method to alleviate sleepiness in the Saundarananda-Mahakavya was influenced by the Moggallana Sutta in the Tripi?aka. Asvagho?a transformed the Pali version of the text written in prose into Sanskrit verses in order to create a work of greater literary appeal. He also altered the interlocutor of the Buddha, from the Venerable Moggallana to the Venerable Nanda. The method for alleviating sleepiness in this text is mainly based on different types of meditation practice aimed at suppressing the sleepiness. Furthermore, the poet wrote about the arising of fear, happiness and sadness as means for alleviating sleepiness. In this respect Asvagho?a’s work no longer presents the teaching of the Buddha, who avoided such methods on the ground that the arising of these emotions is potentially injurious to the nervous system. In the Moggallana Sutta the Buddha taught the last resort method of laying down mindfully on one’s right side and going to sleep with the intention to arise again soon and continue one’s diligent effort. The Buddha must have known, through the power of his great insight, that laying down on one’s right side is the position most suitable and beneficial to the human body. This resonates with the discovery of modern medical science which has shown that lying down on one’s right side is the healthiest position for repose because it increases the heart’s ability pump blood, allows the contents of the stomach to be pushed down into the small intestine without hindrance, and can also relieve back pain.

Alleviating Sleepiness, Saundarananda-Mahakavya, Moggallana Sutta

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