@mat Such as?
Well it would misrepresent what his teachings are about, as I stated above. Not much I can do if you can’t understand it .
So you think the suttas and early biographers had no agenda?
I think everyone has an agenda. I didn’t phrase that very well. I’m merely referring to that specific book, which I don’t like being used as a replacement for what we’re discussing here. Some westerners have an agenda and understand a lot and have a desire to convey authentic messages from tradition. Many of them are here, which is great. Let the record reflect my clarification here!
Unlikely. All the Buddha legends raw on shared sources and traditions. The earlier ones (Nidanakatha, Mahavastu) assemble this into forms that are still clearly connected with the canonical literature. Asvaghosa, however, was a poet, and his Buddhacarita is based on those earlier legends, casting them in a more sophisticated literary form. It was a well known work, and may have been available in Sri Lanka, but it was never a prime source text.
As other have said, it’s a novel loosely inspired by the idea of the Buddha.
I am not sure to what extent it’s right to say this shaped the ideas of the Buddha in the west; Edwin Arnold’s Light of Asia was much earlier and much more popular, and while it is a poetic work rather than a historical one, it sticks much closer to the traditional legends.
Has MN 123 (para: Nya 20) been mentioned already? There we find Ananda referring to the Buddha’s own words:
(…) I have learned this in the presence of the Buddha: ‘As soon as he’s born, the being intent on awakening stands firm with his own feet on the ground. Facing north, he takes seven strides with a white parasol held above him, surveys all quarters, and makes this dramatic statement: “I am the foremost in the world! I am the eldest in the world! I am the best in the world! This is my last rebirth. Now there are no more future lives.”’ This too I remember as an incredible quality of the Buddha. (…)