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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.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.
I created an updated version that was published for free distribution by The Corporate Body of the Buddha Educational Foundation in 2010, and updated the PDF file of that edition for my website in 2013.
But Menander left a far deeper mark on the tradition of India than did Demetrius.³ Menander annexed the Indus delta, the peninsula of Surastra (Kathiavar), occupied Mathura on the Jumna, besieged Madyamika (Nagari near Chitor) and Saketam in southern Oudh, and threatened the capital, Pāṭaliputta.
But the invasion was repulsed and Menander was forced to return to his own country.⁴ Since the Bactrians later became Buddhists there can be little doubt that King Menander is indeed the King Milinda referred to in the book.
I presume this debate was conducted in the Bactrian Greek language but was later translated into Pali and Sanskrit.
This well-known Pali book called Milinda Pañha or Questions of King Milinda has twice been translated into English: in 1890, and in 1969.
The author, Bhikkhu Pesala, is a Buddhist monk who had training in Burma and Thailand whose knowledge of Pali has enabled him to check areas of ambiguous translation to compile this concise and readable work in elegant, modern English while his knowledge of Buddhism has enabled him to clarify some obscure ideas. A Sri Lankan supporter, Indrajit Samaranayake, gave me the keys to his house, and I typed the first draft on his computer while he and his wife were at work.