Of Milk and Motherhood

The Kaca?gal? Avad?na Read in a Brahmanical Light


  • Karen Muldoon-Hules University of California, Los Angeles




avadana, Avadanasataka, Daṇḍin, Daśakumāracarita, Kacangala, Kajaṅgalā mother, Mulasarvāstivāda


When the story of Kaca?gal? is borrowed from the M?lasarv?stiv?davinaya to the Avad?na?ataka, a small but interesting Brahmanical literary trope is incorporated. That trope, which appears multiple times in parallel situations in Da??in’s Da?akum?racarita, seems designed to bolster the claim that Kaca?gal?, despite her present humble life, had been the mother of the being who would become ??kyamuni Buddha in 500 previous lives. This story is unknown in the southern P?li sources, although a nun named Kaja?gal? is mentioned in several places therein.

Author Biography

Karen Muldoon-Hules, University of California, Los Angeles

Karen Muldoon-Hules is a PhD candidate in the Asian Languages and Cultures Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.


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How to Cite

Muldoon-Hules, K. (2010). Of Milk and Motherhood: The Kaca?gal? Avad?na Read in a Brahmanical Light. Bulletin for the Study of Religion, 3(1), 111-124. https://doi.org/10.1558/rosa.v3i1.111