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Milindapanha is in the form of a dialogue between king Menander and the Buddhist Monk __________.

Last updated date: 22nd Feb 2024
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IVSAT 2024
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Hint: Milindapanha, the Questions of King Milinda, is a work composed in Pali (an Indian dialect). It contains dialogues between King Menander and a Sarvastivadan Buddhist sage born in Kashmir, who converted Menander to Buddhism.

Complete answer:
Milindapanha mainly contains the dialogues between the Buddhist Monk ‘Nagasena’ and king of Milinda i.e., ‘Menander’, the Greek ruler of a large Indo-Greek empire in the late 2nd century.

Milindapanha, the Questions of King Milinda, is a work composed in Pali (an Indian dialect). It asks a number of questions emphasizing what seem to be inconsistencies and contradictions in Buddhist doctrine, to each of which Nagasena gives clear, even brilliant answers. The effectiveness of these answers is increased by the numerous similes and analogies that are incorporated within them.

In the discussion, Nagasena could be seen as dignified but accessible, confident about his convincing abilities, intellectually aware, learned and witty. Milinda on the other hand seems to be interested in Buddhism, but without good reasons did not accept its beliefs. In the end, King Menander was transformed to Buddhism, institutes a great monastic centre, and eventually attains Enlightenment.

The Milindapanha is considered the most important book of Theravada Buddhist doctrine outside the Pali Tipitaka and is still widely read. Its translation is also included in the Chinese Tipitaka.

Note: Although there is no uncertainty that the two protagonists of the Milindapanha actually existed and held discussions with each other. But still, it is considered just a work of literature and not a verbatim record of the discussions as such. Despite this, the personalities of the two men are well captured in it.