20 January 2021
Photo: Orna Almogi
17:00 January 20, 2021. Due to the coronavirus pandemic conducted online via Zoom.
As scholars agree, this portrait of Devadatta as a stupid, rebellious, but impotent evildoer is per se
the end product of a long history of development, during which more and more lurid stories were
added to impute various crimes to him. In this presentation, I attempt to investigate how Buddhist
traditions extend Devadatta’s image from initially being a schismatic to being an innately evil
person. I will demonstrate that Devadatta’s different facets of notoriety, due to the fact that they
were possibly created in different contexts and motived by different ideologies, result in tension
and clashes within Devadatta’s image.
Moreover, as I will elaborate, before Buddhists themselves have realized, the ongoing degradation
of Devadatta had developed into a serious theological problem, especially to the basic karma
theory and to Śākyamuni’s image as a perfect being. Adding more evil deeds to Devadatta’s (past-
life and present-life) biographies would not further increase his evilness but, conversely, impair
Śākyamuni’s perfection. Mahāyāna monks, perhaps realizing the theological problems posed by
Devadatta’s ever-increasing evilness, show no further interest in deepening Devadatta’s depravity.
Embracing new ideological views of the buddha-nature and Buddhist cosmology, Mahāyāna
followers propose several novel interpretations of the religious significance of Devadatta, often
viewing him in a favorable light.
- Click here to download the invitation [PDF]
The lecture is hold online via Zoom. For those who whish to participate, please write a short mail to Prof. Dr. Wangchuk: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Dr. Dorji Wangchuk (Director)
Khyentse Center for Tibetan Buddhist Textual Scholarship (KC-TBTS)
Abteilung für Kultur und Geschichte Indiens und Tibets, AAI, Universität Hamburg
Alsterterrasse 1, D-20354 Hamburg