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GṛhasthaThe Householder in Ancient Indian Religious Culture$
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Patrick Olivelle

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190696153

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190696153.001.0001

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Religious Communities in the Aśokan Inscriptions and Early Literature

(p.20) 2 Pāṣaṇḍa

Joel P. Brereton

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies the term pāṣaṇḍa and its Middle Indic equivalents in literature from the last centuries BCE through the first centuries of the Common Era. In later Brahminical and non-Brahminical traditions, it is a term that characterizes “heretical” teachings and communities. This chapter shows that in earlier texts, however, pāṣaṇḍa is normally a neutral term for a religious community characterized by a dharma. It then attempts to define the nature of such religious communities in the Aśokan inscriptions. In particular, it addresses the question of whether Aśoka includes “householders” as members of such religious communities or not.

Keywords:   pāṣaṇḍa, gṛhastha, dharma, Aśoka, sāla, religious communities

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