Asvaghosa's Buddhacarita, or, Acts of the Buddha

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About the Book : The Budhacarita is a well-planned work written in Sanskrit by Asvaghosa who was a contemporary of Kusana emperor Kaniska. It is one of the few biographies of Buddha that is complete commencing with his birth and ending with his nirvana. This work is composed in the style of ornate court poetry or Kaavya. Unlike the Mahavastu and the Lalitavistara, it is a systematic treatment of the subject matter. The poet is not only moderate in language and style, but he also uses restraint in the presentation of miracles in the Buddha ledend, keeping himself far removed from exaggeration.

Unfortunately only half of the work, i.e. 14 or 28 cantos survive in its original Sanskrit, providing us the story upto the Maravijaya; Tibetan and Chinese translations consist of the entire cantos.

The present edition contains the Sanskrit text of cantos I-XIV; translation of cantos I-XIV; and, the translation of remaining cantos XV-XXVIII based on available Tibetan and Chinese versions.

About the Author : Edward Hamilton Johnston (26 March 1885- 24 October 1942) was a British oriental scholar who was Boden Professor of Sanskrit at the University of Oxford from 1937 until his death. Edward Hamilton Johnston was born on 26 March 1885. He was educated at Eton College before studying at New College, Oxford. He joined the Indian Civil Service, winning the Boden Sanskrit Scholarship during his probation, and worked in India from 1909 onwards in various capacities.

Although Johnston seems only to have published one article in India (on a group of medieval statues), his later works show that he had noted local Indian practices in agriculture and other areas, since he made reference to these in his analy.

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