Saturday, January 5, 2013

King Menander (Greek/Bactria: 165- 130 BC)

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Menander I Soter "The Saviour" (known as Milinda in Indian Pali sources)

Menander was the Indo-Greek king (165 BC-130 BC) who established a large empire in the South Asia and became a patron of Buddhism......Menander was born in the Caucasus, and was initially a king of Bactria.

Greco-Bactrian Kingdom 2nd century BC

"Bamian lies on the Silk Road and was the scene of intensive Buddhist activity and commerce during the reign of Emperor Ashoka from India around the 3rd century B.C. On his way to India, Alexander the Great passed through Bamian around 327 B.C. and participated in a lively cultural exchange. Perhaps the most remarkable result of the fusion of eastern and western influences was the Gandhara School of art in India, which integrated Greco-Roman classical lines in the images of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. The book Milindapanha (“Questions of King Milinda”), classified as a Hinayana text that was originally written in Pali and which has been translated into every major eastern and western language, is a literary testimony of the philosophical dialog held between the Greek King Menandros and the Buddhist Monk Nagasena. It is believed that India entered a new historical phase due to the cultural exchange with Greco-Bactria, and it is worth noting that King Milinda was given the title Maharaja Dharmika Menandrasa, “Milinda, the righteous king,” and that a stupa was erected to enshrine his ashes after his death. It is claimed that Nagasena was a mighty king of Sagala, that he gave up his throne in favour of his son and became a Buddhist mendicant, furthermore that Nagasena was a descendant of Mahasammata, a king mentioned in the Pali Chronicles as the original ancestor of the Sakya family, to which the Buddha belonged.".....http://www.rinpoche.com/stories/tibet1.htm

(The Questions of King Milinda, Translation by T. W. Rhys Davids, 1890).

".....the Greek geographer Strabo wrote that he "conquered more tribes than Alexander the Great. ....He is one of the few Bactrian kings mentioned by Greek authors, among them Apollodorus of Artemita, quoted by Strabo, who claims that the Greeks from Bactria were even greater conquerors than Alexander the Great, and that Menander was one of the two Bactrian kings, with Demetrius, who extended their power farthest into India.....His reign was long and successful. Generous findings of coins testify to the prosperity and extension of his empire (with finds as far as Britain): the finds of his coins are the most numerous and the most widespread of all the Indo-Greek kings. Precise dates of his reign, as well as his origin, remain elusive however. Guesses among historians have been that Menander was either a nephew or a former general of the Greco-Bactrian king Demetrius I, but the two kings are now thought to be separated by at least thirty years. Menander's predecessor in Punjab seems to have been the king Apollodotus I."

"Menander was the first Indo-Greek ruler to introduce the representation of Athena Alkidemos ("Athena, saviour of the people") on his coins, probably in reference to a similar statue of Athena Alkidemos in Pella, capital of Macedon. This type was subsequently used by most of the later Indo-Greek kings.".....

In the Milindanpanha, Menander is introduced as......."King of the city of Sâgala, Milinda by name, learned, eloquent, wise, and able; and a faithful observer, and that at the right time, of all the various acts of devotion and ceremony enjoined by his own sacred hymns concerning things past, present, and to come. Many were the arts and sciences he knew--holy tradition and secular law; the Sânkhya, Yoga, Nyâya, and Vaisheshika systems of philosophy; arithmetic; music; medicine; the four Vedas, the Purânas, and the Itihâsas; astronomy, magic, causation, and magic spells; the art of war; poetry; conveyancing in a word, the whole nineteen."

"Tibetan histories and works on Kdla Chakrait may be conjectured that this S'ambhala, very probably, was the capital of the Bactrian Empire of the Eastern Greeks who had embraced Buddhism. It is also conjectured that the modern city of Balkh must have been the site of their latest capital. The name of King Menander {Minendra) who erected a very lofty chaiti/a has been mentioned by the Kashmirian poet Ksomendra, in Avaddna Kalpalatd, a work that was finished in about 1035 A.D"....http://archive.org/stream/grammaroftibetan00dass/grammaroftibetan00dass_djvu.txt

"According to an ancient Sri Lankan source, the Mahavamsa, Greek monks seem to have been active proselytizers of Buddhism during the time of Menander: the Yona (Greek) Mahadhammarakkhita (Sanskrit: Mahadharmaraksita) is said to have come from "Alasandra" (thought to be Alexandria of the Caucasus, the city founded by Alexander the Great, near today’s Kabul) with 30,000 monks for the foundation ceremony of the Maha Thupa ("Great stupa") at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, during the 2nd century BC: "From Alasanda the city of the Yonas came the thera ("elder") Yona Mahadhammarakkhita with thirty thousand bhikkhus." (Mahavamsa, XXIX ).....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Menander_I

Strato I (Greek: Στράτων Α΄), was an Indo-Greek king who was the son of the Indo-Greek queen Agathokleia....ruled between c. 130–110 BCE in Northern India and that his father was the great king Menander I. ....The Indo-Greek Kingdom or Graeco-Indian Kingdom was a Hellenistic kingdom covering various parts of the northwest regions of the Indian subcontinent during the last two centuries BC, and was ruled by more than 30 kings, often in conflict with each other......The kingdom was founded when the Graeco-Bactrian king Demetrius invaded India early in the 2nd century BC. Pushed by the Scythian tribes, the Graeco-Bactrians were forced to invade India. The Greeks in India were eventually divided from the Graeco-Bactrians centered in Bactria (now the border between Afghanistan and Uzbekistan). But, the Greeks failed to establish a united rule in north-western India. The most famous Indo-Greek ruler was Menander (Milinda). He had his capital at Sakala in Punjab, modern Pakistan, and he successfully invaded the Ganges-Yamuna doab.......Greco-Bactrian Kingdom Alexander had also established several colonies in neighbouring Bactria, such as Alexandria on the Oxus (modern Ai-Khanoum) and Alexandria of the Caucasus (medieval Kapisa, modern Bagram). After Alexander's death in 323 BC, Bactria came under the control of Seleucus I Nicator, who founded the Seleucid Empire. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom was founded when Diodotus I, the satrap of Bactria (and probably the surrounding provinces) seceded from the Seleucid Empire around 250 BC......

"....we gather from the coins, the names of some 38 Indo-Bactrian Greek rulers, including Menander.......In the Periplus (Ad 70=80) those who reigned after Alexander, namely Apollodotus and Menander. ......Plutarch tells us that Manander was noted for justice....Minendra in Prakrit and Minendra in Sanskrit...Milindra in Kshemendra's Avadabakalpalata.....Menadra (Menandra) which is found on the coins.....Of all the Yavana kings, Menander alone found a prominent place in Buddhist tradition as a scholar and patron of Buddhism..He is identified with King Milinda who is one of the two leading characters in the Milinda-panha, "Questions of Milinda" a famous Buddhist text which is a dialogue between the King and the Buddhist monk Nagasena. .....In the Milinda-panho tradition, Menander was born at a vilage called Kala si grama in the dvipa or Doab of Alasanda-Alexandria near Kabul, and had his capital at Sa Kala...It is said that Menander handed over the kingdom to his son and became a Buddhist monk.....Kshemendra refers to Menander, a story which is sometimes told about Kanishka....Menander seems to have ruled about 115- 90 BC.....the Yavanas lost Bactria about 125 BC and probably also Drangiana and parts of Arachosia....."Foreign Influence on Ancient India"...K.C. Sagar.....

Greek King Menander I (Milinda) engages Ven. Nagasena on the Dharma in Bactria.....Afghan monks in Afghanistan, Bactria, Gandhara, with Greek King Menander.....http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/2013/10/buddhism-in-ancient-greece-king-milinda.html

"As a consequence of the conquest of the Persian empire, the Greeks gained control of Bactria -- modern Afghanistan -- together with northern India. The local Greek rulers managed to establish their independence from the Seleucid Empire, which first held control over the area. ....Greek rule of Bactria continued until about 165 BC when the Shakas destroyed the Bactrian kingdom. Greeks continued to rule, however, in southern Afghanistan and northwestern India (Gandhara) for another 150 years. The most important of these kings was Menander I, known as "Milinda" in Buddhist sources, who ruled about 115-90 BC. Buddhism had reached the area [due to early converts in the Shakya clan, the Buddha's extended family, which was likely from this wealthy frontier area along the Silk Road even as the Buddha taught far to the east in India (Afghanistan has Buddhist art and architecture such as monastic complexes and statues as old as Buddhism, such as Mes Aynak)]. In addition, missionaries [were sent out by the Buddha] and later by the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka more than a century earlier."....http://wisdomquarterly.blogspot.com/2013/10/buddhism-in-ancient-greece-king-milinda.html

"Manjushrí Kírti (Tib. Rigdan Jampel Dakpa) is said to have been born in 159 BCE and ruled over Shambhala which had 300,510 followers of the Mlechha (Yavana or "western"..."Greek speakers") religion living in it, some of whom worshiped the sun. He is said to have expelled all the heretics from his dominions but later, after hearing their petitions, allowed them to return. For their benefit, and the benefit of all living beings, he explained the Kalachakra teachings. In 59 BCE he abdicated his throne to his son, Pundarika (Tib. Pema Karpo) (176-76 BCE),...... and died soon afterwards, entering the Sambhoga-káya of Buddhahood."....Das, Sarat Chandra (1882). Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet.

"Menander I Soter "The Saviour" (known as Milind in Indian sources) was the Indo-Greek king (155 BCE) who established a large empire in the Central Asia and became a patron of Buddhism.....Menander was born in the Caucasus (Hindu Kush Moutains), and was initially a king of Bactria. ....Buddhist tradition relates that he handed over his kingdom to his son, Strato I......
"Tibetan histories and works on Kdla Chakrait may be conjectured that this S'ambhala, very probably, was the capital of the Bactrian Empire of the Eastern Greeks who had embraced Buddhism. It is also conjectured that the modern city of Balkh must have been the site of their latest capital. The name of King Menander {Minendra) who erected a very lofty chaiti/a has been mentioned by the Kashmirian poet Ksomendra, in Avaddna Kalpalatd, a work that was finished iu about 1035 A.D."....http://archive.org/stream/grammaroftibetan00dass/grammaroftibetan00dass_djvu.txt

Kalki Rigden Kings....#1) Yashas..... (Tib. Jampal Dakpa; "Manjushri Yashas") - King Yashas is said to have lived in the second century BCE. He put the Kalachakra teachings in a condensed and simplified form called the "Sri Kalachakra" or "Laghutantra". He also converted a group of non-Buddhist Brahman priests of Shambhala to Buddhism and gave them the Kalachakra initiation, thereby uniting all inhabitants into one "vajra caste," or family of tantric practitioners. He said to have predicted the coming of "barbarian Dharma" after 800 years (about 600 CE), which indicates a form of Islam.....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_of_Shambhala

"Seven generations of kings after Suchandra, in 176 BCE, King Manjushri Yashas gathered the religious leaders of Shambhala, specifically the brahman wise men, to give them predictions and a warning. Eight hundred years in the future, namely in 624 CE, a non-Indic religion will arise in Mecca. Because of a lack of unity among the brahmans’ people and laxity in following correctly the injunctions of their Vedic scriptures, many will accept this religion, far in the future, when its leaders threaten an invasion. To prevent this danger, Manjushri Yashas united the people of Shambhala into a single “vajra-caste” by conferring upon them the Kalachakra empowerment. By his act, the king became the First Kalki – the First Holder of the Caste. He then composed The Abridged Kalachakra Tantra, which is the version of The Kalachakra Tantra that is presently extant."......http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kings_of_Shambhala

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Email....okarresearch@gmail.com

John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….January 2013

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