Beginnings of Buddhist Ethics
The Chinese parallel to the Pali-Kutadantasutta marks one of the major turning points in Old Indian history of ideas: the transition from magic to ethics. In this sermon, the Buddha rejects the Vedic animal sacrifice and re-interprets it according to Buddhist ethics. He preaches sacrifices in a new sense of the word: the sacrifice of giving alms to Buddhist monks, or, even better, of building monasteries, of converting to Buddhism as a Buddhist layman, of obeying the five Buddhist rules for laymen, or – finally and most meritorious – becoming a Buddhist monk.
In "Beginnings of Buddhist Ethics", Konrad Meisig translates the Buddhist Chinese text for the first time and contrasts it in synopsis with the Pali. The text is given in the original characters along with the Pinyin transcription. The text-critical introduction deals with the "variae lectiones" both of the Chinese and the Pali; the final analysis focuses on the literary stratification and criticism of forms, thus reconstructing the archetypical nucleus of the Kutadantasutta.