The Scripture on the Monk Nāgasena is one of two extant Chinese counterparts to the Pāli Milindapanha, the “Questions of Milinda,” a debate on central themes of Buddhist doctrine between a king called Milinda, apparently corresponding to the Bactrian Greek King Menander (second century B.C.E.), and the Buddhist monk Nāgasena. While the actual circumstances of the translation into Chinese of this text are unknown, and the identity of the translator(s) and the time of the translation work remain uncertain, it was likely done sometime in the second or third century C.E. The actual encounter between Nāgasena and Milinda stands in the tradition of ancient Indian debate, where the point is not primarily to refute an argument with sound proofs but to successfully counter a challenge in order to win the debate and convert the opponent. The discussion reported in the Milindapanha and its Chinese parallels gradually evolves from its starting point as a debate to becoming more of an exchange between teacher and pupil, and the debates are enlivened by the rich use of metaphors and similes.
Interesting, thanks for sharing…
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