Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Nathan Katz

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Whitney Bauman

Third Advisor's Name

Andrea Mantell Seidel

Date of Defense



This research examines how assasa-passisa and its surrounding concepts are discussed in Buddhaghossa's 5th century Theravada work, the Visuddhimagga (The Path of Purification) to determine if there is metaphysical use of the term in the text and to determine if the concept of assasa-passasa is similar to the better-known Indian concept of prana (metaphysical vital animating force), indicating whether Theravada Buddhism more closely resembles other Indian religions in terms of metaphysical content. Text analysis reveals how assasa-passasa is described in the Visuddhimagga as an animating vital force, suggesting that Theravada Buddhism has an implicit ontology similar to other Indian schools of philosophy. Secondarily, this paper argues that because assisa-passasa plays a similar role to prana in the Visuddhimagga, it is also operationally similar and could be functioning as the implicit intermediary between links in the chain of dependent co-arising-as the vehicle of paticcasamuppada.



Included in

Religion Commons



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