Religions of South Asia, Vol 5, No 1/5.2 (2011)

Secular Buddhist Lineages: The Śākyas and their Royal Descendants in Local Buddhist Legitimation Strategies

Max Deeg
Issued Date: 23 May 2012


Although the Buddhists, according to the logic of the life-story of the Buddha, could not claim a direct lineage of descent from the Exalted One himself—his only direct offspring, Rāhula, having become a celibate monk—the family background of the Buddha could not escape the general temptation to create a family connection, as in the case of other important religious or cultural founding figures. This paper traces and discusses these attempts, expressed in and transformed into narratives, which are spread across a broad variety of Buddhist sources. It argues that the urge to create such (mostly incomplete) lineages resulted from another necessity: that of political and religious legitimation.

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DOI: 10.1558/rosa.v5i1/2.189


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