Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Milinda-panha - Questions of Menander

Milinda-panha ("Questions of Milinda) is a Buddhist text dealing with a series of dialogues between King Menander, the most famous Indo-Greek ruler and a Buddhist philosopher called Nagasena. It is written in Pali. 

Menander ruled from c 150 to 135 BC one of the Indo-Greek kingdoms that had arisen in the north-west India as a consequence of the Alexander’s conquests two centuries earlier. His dominion extended from Kabul in the north to Yamuna in the south.

At the end of Milinda-panha, Nagasena was able to convince Menander the persuasiveness of the Buddha's teachings and the king became a Buddhist monk and abdicated the throne in his son’s favour.

Menander was immensely popular. This can be gauged from the legend that has it that after his death, there was a scramble among the cities of north-west for his ashes on which monuments could be built.

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