King Udayana Religious Financial Reformer of Ancient Bali

Ancient Origins Iraq tour

Print
    
Pura Ulun Danu Bratan at Bali, Indonesia (zephyr_p/ Adobe stock)

King Udayana Religious Financial Reformer of Ancient Bali

In ancient India, legendary King Udayana was a king of the city of Kaushambi in the north-central India as well as a patron of Shakyamuni Buddha. The Buddhist scripture Samyutta Nikaya records Udayana’s conversion to Buddhism after his visit to the monk Pindola Bharadvaja. Two fourth-century plays by the ancient Indian poet Bhasa, the Svapnavasavadattam and Pratijnayaugandharayana, depict Udayana as a romantic hero, with his legend central to the theme of the plays. A Chinese translation of Ekottaragama Sutra, by monk Dharamanandi in 385 AD, tells about the sadness of King Udayana. He was left behind by the Buddha who had temporarily traveled to heaven. As a dedication to his beloved teacher, King Udayana commissioned a life size statue created in likeness of the Buddha.

Sculpture of Buddha preaching (c second century), Indian Museum, Kolkata. (Jacklee/ CC BY-SA 4.0)

Sculpture of Buddha preaching (c second century), Indian Museum, Kolkata. (Jacklee/ CC BY-SA 4.0)

Later, a fifth-century AD collection of Buddhist tales called 冥祥記 (Mingxiang ji, Signs from the Unseen Realm) by scholar-official Wang Yan recalls a tale of Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han Dynasty who dreamed about a divine man. This divine man was gold-colored, standing over 20 feet (six meters) in height with a halo around his head. When the emperor later told this dream to his courtiers, one of his them recognized this “divine man” as a deity in India. The emperor then sent an embassy to India who returned with the statue of the Buddha commissioned by King Udayana, which had been completed during the Buddha’s and King Udayana’s lifetimes.


Become a member to read more OR login here

Ancient Origins Quotations