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Every Buddhist text tells the story that the Buddha as the young royal prince already had two possibilities of being positioned at the top of the two worlds, both the supramundane and the mundane, as the Wheel-turning Novel King and the Buddha respectively. The prince finally comes to choose the supramundane based upon his symbolic experiences of witnessing the agricultural labor and four major pains of life in all the four directions. He eventually achieves the accurate learning of the human life by doing so. What these stories ultimately tell the believers is that, the Buddha eventually chose the holy world of nirvana, although he could have become a Wheel-turning Novel King, or an all-powerful ruler. In other words, when standing on the crossroad of the Buddha and the ruler, the royal prince decided to take the path of the Buddha, completely abandoning the path to the great leadership of the secular world. However, the actual texts of the Buddhist scriptures convey messages different from this segment understanding of the Buddha’s life. The scriptures are worth attention, since they relate the two most important aspects of the Buddha’s life -the initial preaching at the Greenery and the nirvana at Kusinagara- to the authority of the Wheel-turning Novel King or the great ruler. All the scriptures term the edification of five monks after the preaching at the Greenery as ‘the Delivery of Basic Buddhist Rules’. No one would raise a question against the fact that the ‘rules(cakra)’ here are the symbol of the Wheel-turning Novel King . Also, at the time of nirvana of Kusinagara, when questioned by Anan on how to conduct the funeral ritual, the Buddha answers that the funeral be conducted in the practices for a the Wheel-turning Novel King. The fact that the Buddhist scriptures mention the laws ofthe Wheel-turning Novel King in the most important times of the Buddha’s life, along with the birth of Lambini and the wisdom attainment of Buddhagaya, clearly indicates the fact that the value of a Wheel-turning Novel King was not selectively annulled when the prince left the mundane. The Buddha and the Wheel-turning Novel King are the top ideals of both the holy and the secular worlds, and represent the ideal personality every Buddhist should pursue. Thus, it would be natural for the authors of the Buddhist scriptures to attempt at attaining perfection by combining the two different aspects of Buddhists, thereby elevating the status of the Buddha in the minds of his followers. Considering the fact that the Buddha is positioned at the peak of ascetic exercises and edification that are on a level different from the general austerity exercisers, such interpretation of the Buddha’s dual aspects is viewed to contain inherent necessity as well. Therefore, the idea of ‘the King of the Dharma(Buddha Tathagata)’ explained in Jang-a Ham-gyeong that combines the ideas of the Buddha and the Wheel-turning Novel
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- Publisher :Korean Association of Buddhist Studies
- Publisher(Ko) :불교학연구회
- Journal Title :Korea Journal of Buddhist Studies
- Journal Title(Ko) :불교학연구
- Volume : 12
- No :0
- Pages :491~520