The Scope of Free Inquiry According to the Vīmaṃsaka - sutta and its Madhyama - āgama Parallel



The theme of the present article is the scope of free inquiry from the perspective of the Vīmaṃsaka-sutta of the Pāli Majjhima-nikāya and its counterpart in the Madhyama-āgama, preserved in Chinese translation. In these two specimens from the corpus of early Buddhist discourses, a prospective disciple is encouraged to investigate whether the Buddha’s claim to being a fully awakened teacher is justified. My presentation is based on an annotated translation of the Madhyama-āgama discourse, which is followed by a comparative study of the two versions and an evaluation of the significance of their presentation. My frame of reference in the present article is that of the thought-world of the early Buddhist discourses themselves, which for the most part can be considered representative of Buddhism in its pre-sectarian stage. This thought-world forms my point of departure in an attempt to illustrate the message these two parallel discourses convey on the theme of free inquiry in relation to one’s own teacher.

Full Text:



Firenze University Press
Borgo Albizi, 28 - 50122 Firenze
Tel. (0039) 055 2757700 Fax (0039) 055 2757712