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The Ud?navarga is a thematically organized collection of important sayings in verse form used to teach the Buddhadharma. It is a key example of an important genre of Buddhist literature the best known of which is the Dhammapada.
This sutra is based upon the Chinese translation of the Dhammapada, of which approximately two thirds of the verses have been selected for commentary. At the start of each chapter a number of verses are quoted, followed by tales relating the events surrounding the origin of each verse. The Pali version of the Dhammapada contains in all 423 verses, and there are in addition a number of commentaries (atthakatha)recording the tales and fables surrounding each verse. In the case of the Chinese version, 250 verses have been added to the original 500 verses, making a total of 750 verses, two thirds of which are dealt with in the present work.
This sutra is a collection of in all 121 stories covering a time-span starting from the time of sakyamuni and his disciples and ending with King Kaniska of the second century A.D. Among the stories included, how the monk Nagasena caused King Milinda to embrace the Buddhist faith and King Kaniska's intimate relationship with Asvaghosa are especially famous. There are in addition to these a large number of other tales also thought to be based on historical facts, but from internal evidence, such as for example the appearance of King Kaniska, it is clear that this work was compiled after the second century A.D.