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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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Gṛhastha in the Śramaṇic Discourse

Gṛhastha in the Śramaṇic Discourse

A Lexical Survey of House Residents in Early Pāli Texts

(p.58) 4 Gṛhastha in the Śramaṇic Discourse

Oliver Freiberger

Oxford University Press

Stephanie Jamison suggests in her chapter of this volume that the Brahmanical authors of the Dharmasūtras borrowed the term gṛhastha from the śramaṇic discourse of the time. Aside from Aśoka’s inscriptions, this śramaṇic discourse may also be reflected in the earliest layer of the Buddhist Pāli canon. This chapter takes a closer look at these texts and its vocabulary for householders. A lexical survey shows that of the three most commonly used terms, gahaṭṭha (Sanskrit gṛhastha) is the least popular one. The other two, gahapati (Sanskrit gṛhapati) and gihin (Sanskrit. gṛhin) are much more common and also more clearly distinguished in their usage, with positive and negative connotations, respectively. The chapter suggests that precisely the fact that it was the least specific and most flexible term may have made gahaṭṭha/gṛhastha attractive for Brahmanical appropriation.

Keywords:   Pāli, gahaṭṭha, gṛhastha, gahapati, gṛhapati, gihin, gṛhin

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