More on the multi-life stories of Sanskritists

Musing on the possible past life actions of Sanskritist Mike Williams (see previous post) reminded me of a story I stumbled across in the 7th century Chinese Buddhist monk Xuanzang’s travelogue. It relates how a monk saw a young lad being chastised for being a slow learner, and explained to his teacher why the child was so bad: in a past life the child had been the eminent Sanskrit grammarian Panini, and he was stuck in a series of obscure and useless births because of his useless grammatical treatises…

So it seems likely that a Buddhist past-life story explaining Sanskrit proficiency might be somewhat different to a Hindu one. And certainly the future-life prospects for Sanskritists seem a little bleak, at least if Xuanzang is to be believed.


About naomiappleton

I work in the Divinity School at the University of Edinburgh, where I research and teach subjects related to South and Southeast Asian religions.
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