1. Explanatory notes regarding the handling of statistical data
2. Age of becoming a student
3. Age of finishing learning
4. Age of pursuing learning away from home
5. Age of taking up employment
6. Age of marriage
7. Age of official investiture as Crown Prince
8. Age of investiture as ruler
9. Age of retirement
10. Age of old age
11. Age of death
age of becoming a student, age of finishing learning, age of pursuing learning away from home, age of taking up employment, age of marriage, age of official investiture as Crown Prince, age of investiture as ruler, age of retirement, age of old age, age of death
This essay is based on data collected under the direction of NAKASHIMA Katsuhisa from early Buddhist scriptural sources and their commentaries, and from later Buddhist scriptural sources such as the Honnen Section of the Taisho Tripiṭaka. This data was put together in three articles about life stages such as beginning education and marriage: Source material 1-1. A List of References to Years of Age in Early Buddhist Scriptural Sources. Part One: References in the Jātaka-aṭṭhakathā (Monograph 1, July 1997); Source material 1-2. A List of References to Years of Age in Early Buddhist Scriptural Sources (Monograph 6, October 2002); and Source material 6. A List of References to Years of Age in the Honnen Section of the Taisho Tripiṭaka (Monograph 10, April 2005). It has been organized statistically, with reference to Source material 4. Materials Concerning Age in the Ancient Indian Codes: saṃskāra and āśrama (Monograph 9, May 2004) to discover the average and standard ages for the life stages of Indian people in the time of Sakyamuni, listed according to social class and gender. I would like to present the concluding part of the article as a summary in the following section.Above we have sought to discover the standard ages of life stages in Indian society, which must form the basis of our study of the life of Sakyamuni. We have gathered material using the A texts (the early Buddhist scriptural sources) and the B texts (the later Buddhist scriptural sources) as sources to gather statistical information about the average age and frequency of becoming a student, finishing learning, pursuing learning away from home, taking up employment, marriage, official investiture as Crown Prince, investiture as ruler, retirement, old age and death. From the above material that we collected, we created the following source materials, including summaries of accounts relating to ages in the early Buddhist scriptural sources, the Honnen Section of the Taisho Tripiṭaka, and classical Indian law texts, and made a statistical analysis, to which we have added a short study. The results are as follows:
・Age of becoming a student: 8 years, regardless of social class (boys)
・Age of finishing learning: 16 (boys). *This is the coming of age.
・Age of pursuing learning away from home: 16 (boys). *This supports 16 being the age when basic learning is completed.
・Age of taking up employment: 16 (boys). *This fits in with basic education finishing at 16 and the age of marriage being 16.
・Age of marriage: 16 (boys and girls). *Girls could also be married before puberty in infant marriage.
・Age of official investiture as Crown Prince: 16 (boys)
・Age of investiture as ruler: 16 (boys). *This refers to the age when a person was qualified to become a ruler.
・Age of retirement: 16 (men). *This means becoming a wanderer.
・Age of old age: 80. *The average lifespan remaining after reaching adulthood was quite long.
・Age of death: 120. *This was the age used as a narrative modifier; in fact infant death was widespread.
Nevertheless, the information available in the early and later Buddhist scriptural sources about ages is disappointingly scarce and so inevitably there is only a small amount of documentary materials available for scrutiny. Therefore we have to acknowledge that our purpose of gathering enough information to make a statistical analysis was less than perfectly achieved. The fact that sixteen is given as the age of finishing learning, of pursuing learning away from home, of taking up employment, of marriage, of official investiture as Crown Prince, of investiture as ruler and of retirement indicates the fact that at the time this was the age at which a young person became an adult and so it was a very important age at which the course of life thereafter was determined.
The present essay is based on a collection of materials made as a draft manuscript by NAKASHIMA Katsuhisa called "Materials concerning ages at different life stages, averages and frequencies - chart of ages at various life stages according to gender, based on early Buddhist scriptures, the Jātaka-aṭṭhakathā, and the Honnen Section of the Taisho Tripiṭaka", and a study by Mori Shōji is appended.