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Hualin International Journal of Buddhist Studies 6.1 (2023): 171–193;
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Buddhist Narrative Literature)

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Evaṃ Me Sutaṃ: Who Heard What?

Chulalongkorn University

Abstract: My paper does not go much beyond the first four words of the title of the conference for which this paper was written: ‘Thus have I heard’. From its beginnings to the present, this phrase has propelled Buddhist literature across Eurasia and beyond. The deceptively simple phrase is the logic and the foundation (nidāna) for the authority of the scriptures. The ‘who’ of the matter is this: who heard what and where did they hear it?

Keywords: Buddhist canon(s), Ānanda, ‘Thus have I heard’


About the Author: Peter Skilling is a Special Lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, an Adjunct Professor at the Department of Pali and Buddhist Studies, Savitribai Phule Pune University, Pune, Maharashtra, India, and an Honorary Associate, Department of Indian Sub-Continental Studies, University of Sydney, Australia. Until his retirement in 2017, he was a Professor of the French School of Asian Studies (EFEO). He specialises in the literary and material history of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia. He publishes widely and has been visiting professor at leading universities worldwide. His recent book, Questioning the Buddha (Wisdom Books, 2021), contains translations of twenty-five from the Tibetan Kanjur. His forthcoming book, tentatively titled Buddha’s Words for Tough Times, translates twenty sūtras from Tibetan and Pāli.


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