International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Domesticating an Avadana: A Case Study in Newar Buddhism
Chandima Gangodawila

The avadanas are teaching stories that illustrate the qualities of a pious and spiritual life. There is a long tradition of using them to engage audiences of the laity in an effort to pass on the deeper spiritual truth of Buddhism. However, when a small handful of such stories, out of the hundreds that exist, achieve a distinctive prominence within a particular community, the reasons for this are likely to be found less in the universal truths of the stories than in the ways those stories have been adapted to the unique conditions and needs of that community. Understanding this process requires an approach that addresses the role of domestication: including redacting and editing to effectively localize the stories. A case study in Newar Buddhism demonstrates these processes.

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