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The Milinda Pañha is an ancient and much venerated book of the Buddhists, indeed regarded so highly as to be included by the Burmese in the Pāḷi Canon. Rhys Davids, the most able translator of the Pāḷi texts, regarded the Milinda Pañha very highly.
In the Pāḷi book it says that the conversations between King Milinda and Nāgasena took place five hundred years after the Parinibbāna of the Buddha. He said, “I venture to think that the The style of the Milinda Pañha is very much like a Platonic dialogue, Nāgasena playing the part of Socrates and winning over King Milinda to the Buddhist view point by his sound reasoning and his fitting similes.
Therefore, I produced a pocket edition for the Association for Insight Meditation.
Inward Path Publications brought out a beautifully presented edition for free distribution in 2001, but it seems that that edition is now used up.
The author is not known but it is almost certain that he lived in the far northwest of India or in the Punjab, since he mentions no place in the interior of India south of the Ganges.² This is supported by what is definitely known about King Menander, a Bactrian king identified with Milinda. Many of his coins have been found over a wide area of northern India, as far west as Kabul, as far east as Mathura and as far north as Kashmir.
The portrait is sometimes of a young man and other times that of a very old man.
Moggaliputta Tissa Thera lived about a hundred years before Menander and is mentioned twice in the text [Miln.However, the conversations may be just a literary device the author used to add interest.His primary aim is to clarify Buddhist doctrine and to refute the wrong views promulgated by various opponents of Buddhism.Ignorance of the Dhamma is the main reason that we have taken rebirth.The truth is concealed from unenlightened minds — to gain insight and right understanding we need to practise insight meditation, which is the only way to win liberation from the cycle of suffering.