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Sugata SaurabhaAn Epic Poem from Nepal on the Life of the Buddha by Chittadhar Hridaya$
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Todd T. Lewis and Subarna Man Tuladhar

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195341829

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341829.001.0001

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A Dispute over Water

A Dispute over Water

Chapter:
(p.270) 16 A Dispute over Water
Source:
Sugata Saurabha
Author(s):

Todd Lewis (Contributor Webpage)

Subarna Tuladhar

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341829.003.0017

Based on the canonical account, the poet depicts a dispute that arises about the distribution of irrigation water between the Shākyas and their neighbors, the Koliyas. Both share a border river and since it is paddy transplantation time, both sides claim the right to go first; the situation deteriorates from argument to insults to brawling. Angry men on each side decide that a war must be fought to defend ethnic pride and water rights. The poet describes all the preparations for battle and the heroic spirit of the Shākyas as they don armor and bid farewell to their families. As the Shākya soldiers are poised to attack, the Buddha arrives and, by posing questions about the value of human life and the absurdity of war, ends the conflict. The Buddha is shown as an exponent of peace who prevented bloodshed between his own kinsmen and those of a neighboring city‐state.

Keywords:   Buddha, Shākya, Koliyas, war, irrigation, heroic spirit, peace

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