Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

A forum for those wishing to discuss Buddhist history and teachings in the Western academic manner, referencing appropriate sources.
Dharma Flower
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:03 am
Contact:

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Dharma Flower » Sat Dec 31, 2016 6:26 am

This is an article that first appeared in Tricycle magazine, which used historical evidence to call into question the common belief that the Pali scriptures are more historically trustworthy than the Mahayana scriptures:
http://www.lindaheuman.com/stories/Tric ... Truest.pdf

Here are some relevant parts:

"It was a mistake to assume that the foundation of Buddhist textual tradition was singular, that if you followed the genealogical branches back far enough into the past they would eventually converge. Traced back in time, the genealogical branches diverged and intertwined in such complex relationships that the model of a tree broke down completely. The picture looked more like a tangled bush...We now know that if there was ever a point of convergence in the Buddhist family tree - the missing link, the single original and authentic Buddhist cannon - it is physically lost in the era of oral transmission."

"Somehow we pictured the Buddha's true, single, unambiguous meaning encapsulated in his words like jewels inside a box, passed from one generation to the next...but that's not the way meanings or words work. In India, 'leaving the family' means 'getting married'. To my Jewish grandmother, it mean 'changing religions.' In the household where I was raised, it meant 'going to college.' The very same words, spoken in a different context, have different meanings. The meaning of words is their use in context. A set of words stripped of their context is like playing pieces stripped of their board game. What would we have?"

"It certainly would be good to know what the Buddha said. To the extent that we share the conventions of the 5th-century BCE Indians, we might understand some of what he meant. If we increased the conventions we shared with them, obviously we would understand more. But context is vast - an unbounded, interdependent web of connections. And it is dynamic, shifting moment to moment. We can't really recreate it. And even if we could, we still wouldn't know exactly how the Buddha was using his words within that context, so we wouldst know exactly what he meant."

"When it comes right down to it, sectarian posturing contradicts the Buddha's message as all traditions understand it...That picture is an essentialist view of the nature of reality, which according to the Buddha's doctrine of selflessness is the source of not just this, but all our suffering - the wrong view that is the very point of Buddhism to refute."
http://www.lindaheuman.com/stories/Tric ... Truest.pdf


Reading the above article will hopefully give us more confidence in the trustworthiness of the Mahayana sutras.

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 710
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Coëmgenu » Mon Jan 02, 2017 11:44 pm

MiphamFan wrote:Conze says that Mahayana and Theravada (as in the Pali Canon authors, not Hinayana in general) both worked from the same material but while Mahayanis added more embellishment to the texts, Theravadins expunged what looked like Mahayana to them.

Material like the Salistamba Sutra shows that there was some very early doctrines phrased similarly between them. E.g. Dependent origination dates from this period. Beyond that we cannot know much for sure, it is entirely possible some Mahayana ideas date back to that period but were expunged by Theravadin redactors from the Pali canon.

I find this quite believable. The Pali Canon itself really is no earlier thhe 1st century CE.
This is supported circumstantially by the fact that the ágama-sútrá.ni have many references to "later" Maháyána doctrines that the Maháyána-specific sútrá.ni focus on, such as Dharmadhátu, Dharmatá, and Tathátá. The translators of the ágama-literature available in English at SuttaCentral generally hide these doctrinal point however.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3205
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:33 am

MiphamFan wrote:Conze says that Mahayana and Theravada (as in the Pali Canon authors, not Hinayana in general) both worked from the same material but while Mahayanis added more embellishment to the texts, Theravadins expunged what looked like Mahayana to them.


A very similar thing happened in early Christianity. There was a huge doctrinal battle between the 'pistic' followers (symbolised by the fish logo) and the early Gnostics. The pistic interpretation prevailed, and were it not for the discovery of the Nag Hammadi scriptures, nobody would ever know what had been lost, as the mainstream interpreters set about destroying the gnostic texts wherever they could find them. Much of this early textual and doctrinal battle has been forgotten however the finding of the Nag Hammadi texts re-invigorated the subject. (See Elaine Pagel's Beyond Belief for a scholarly appraisal.)

I mention this, because in Conze's autobiography, Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic, Conze claims that Mahāyāna Buddhism is essentially a gnostic movement (and as the title says, he also viewed himself as a 'modern gnostic'). This is borne out by the fact that the word 'gnosis', is essentially the same word as the Sanskrit 'Jñāna'. That word is also found in Pali (as ñāṇa), but it really came to the fore in Buddhism as the basis of the Prajñāpāramitā sutras, the foundational texts of Mahāyāna; the word Prajñāpāramitā means 'supreme transcendental wisdom'. So I think those texts ought to be understood as 'visionary texts' - as 'communications from beyond' - which is pretty well how they portray themselves.

To which the Theravadin response would be: what 'beyond'? What are you talking about? Where is this 'beyond'?
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 710
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Coëmgenu » Tue Jan 03, 2017 1:49 am

Wayfarer wrote:
MiphamFan wrote:Conze says that Mahayana and Theravada (as in the Pali Canon authors, not Hinayana in general) both worked from the same material but while Mahayanis added more embellishment to the texts, Theravadins expunged what looked like Mahayana to them.


A very similar thing happened in early Christianity. There was a huge doctrinal battle between the 'pistic' followers (symbolised by the fish logo) and the early Gnostics. The pistic interpretation prevailed, and were it not for the discovery of the Nag Hammadi scriptures, nobody would ever know what had been lost, as the mainstream interpreters set about destroying the gnostic texts wherever they could find them. Much of this early textual and doctrinal battle has been forgotten however the finding of the Nag Hammadi texts re-invigorated the subject. (See Elaine Pagel's Beyond Belief for a scholarly appraisal.)

I mention this, because in Conze's autobiography, Memoirs of a Modern Gnostic, Conze claims that Mahāyāna Buddhism is essentially a gnostic movement (and as the title says, he also viewed himself as a 'modern gnostic'). This is borne out by the fact that the word 'gnosis', is essentially the same word as the Sanskrit 'Jñāna'. That word is also found in Pali (as ñāṇa), but it really came to the fore in Buddhism as the basis of the Prajñāpāramitā sutras, the foundational texts of Mahāyāna; the word Prajñāpāramitā means 'supreme transcendental wisdom'. So I think those texts ought to be understood as 'visionary texts' - as 'communications from beyond' - which is pretty well how they portray themselves.

To which the Theravadin response would be: what 'beyond'? What are you talking about? Where is this 'beyond'?
This is somewhat correct, but Gnostic influences and interpretations entered into Christianity from Persia between 200 and 300 AD, several years after the establishment of Pauline/"Pistic" Christianity approx 50-100 AD, so the Gnostics weren't exactly there from the beginning.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1076
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: California

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:24 am

Wayfarer wrote:To which the Theravadin response would be: what 'beyond'? What are you talking about? Where is this 'beyond'?

To which the Mahayana answer would be...

:?:
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3205
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Wayfarer » Tue Jan 03, 2017 2:28 am

'recite the sutra'.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1076
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: California

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Mkoll » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:47 am

Wayfarer wrote:'recite the sutra'.

What does recitation of the sutra do, in and of itself? And is that effect attested to in other Mahayana sutras?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

Dharma Flower
Posts: 254
Joined: Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:03 am
Contact:

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Dharma Flower » Tue Jan 03, 2017 4:52 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:To which the Theravadin response would be: what 'beyond'? What are you talking about? Where is this 'beyond'?
This is somewhat correct, but Gnostic influences and interpretations entered into Christianity from Persia between 200 and 300 AD, several years after the establishment of Pauline/"Pistic" Christianity approx 50-100 AD, so the Gnostics weren't exactly there from the beginning.


Not that it's especially relevant to this forum, but there are Gnostic Gospels or at least proto-Gnostic that date from an earlier time.

Wayfarer wrote:
MiphamFan wrote:Conze says that Mahayana and Theravada (as in the Pali Canon authors, not Hinayana in general) both worked from the same material but while Mahayanis added more embellishment to the texts, Theravadins expunged what looked like Mahayana to them.


A very similar thing happened in early Christianity.


It's also similar to how the Greek Septuagint translation of the Hebrew scriptures allegedly contains prophecies or allusions to the future birth of Christ which were later edited out of the Hebrew Scriptures after the birth of Christianity.

I've never seen evidence that Theravadans edited their scriptures to remove Mahayana-sounding ideas, but I would like to see such evidence if it exists.

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 710
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Coëmgenu » Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:22 pm

Dharma Flower wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:To which the Theravadin response would be: what 'beyond'? What are you talking about? Where is this 'beyond'?
This is somewhat correct, but Gnostic influences and interpretations entered into Christianity from Persia between 200 and 300 AD, several years after the establishment of Pauline/"Pistic" Christianity approx 50-100 AD, so the Gnostics weren't exactly there from the beginning.


Not that it's especially relevant to this forum, but there are Gnostic Gospels or at least proto-Gnostic that date from an earlier time.
The only such gospel like that is the Gospel of Thomas, a very old document found among Gnostic literature that lacks actual Gnostic content because it is simply a "sayings gospel". Barring the discovery of an ancient collection of texts dating from 0-100CE the synoptic gospels and perhaps the Gospel of Thomas is the oldest layer of Christian scripture. Scripture dealing with the Divine Pleroma, Sophia, the Archons, the Monad, et al., simply date from a far later period. But I could be out-of-date with my information. Have there been any recent finds relating to an "early Gnosticism"?

Dharma Flower wrote:I've never seen evidence that Theravadans edited their scriptures to remove Mahayana-sounding ideas, but I would like to see such evidence if it exists.
If you can read Chinese look up SA 296 on SuttaCentral and you can see the term "dharmadhátu" edited out of a discourse by the Buddha concerning pratítyasamutpáda so that it better fits with the dominant narratives at SuttaCentral concerning what the "real" "original" Buddha said and did not say according to some pseudo-Theraváda sectarians.

I say "pseudo-Theraváda" because oftentimes these people who are so invested in "peeling off accretions to get at the original truth" are not even practitioners of Theraváda, they are often, instead, modernist "Early Buddhism" reconstructionists, more interested in building their own Buddhisms that suit their own tastes than fairly evaluating existing traditions. The assumption being "of course modern Buddhism is divergent from original teachings".
:juggling:

That being said I still use the site all the time, and I am sure many many contributors there (aside from whoever translated SA 296) are interested in trying to be legitimately objective.

Now that is a distinctly modern example of someone removing "Maháyána-esque" sounding elements from early literature. Relating to the historical evolution of the Páli Canon, however, is the methodology used to compile it. There is not enough evidence to say for sure what documents were thrown out and what they said, but the methodology of compilation was basically "majority rules". They gathered up the collections of literature from various monasteries and Buddhist institutions and compared them. If a certain teaching/sútra/document only existed in one or a few collections, it would be rejected in favour of Buddhavacana that that was found in a greater amount of collections. How much Buddhavacana was lost here, authentic or inauthentic, is impossible to say on account of the orality of the subject matter.

Now although it seems intuitive, "majority rules" is not actually a good metric for judging the authenticity of a teaching. Just because only 1-3 or so collections feature a given teaching, and 6 collections don't have that teaching, doesn't have any bearing on whether or not the Buddha taught it. It's equally likely that relatively unique material in the Buddhavacana was encountered during the compilation of the Páli Canon because it was new fabrication or because it was a rare retention of teaching. "Majority rules" logic essentially functionally denies the possibility that a few Buddhavacana collections could have simply preserved more than the rest of the collections.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3205
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Jan 08, 2017 9:36 pm

@Coëmgenu - you should look into the Nag Hammadi codex. There's a lot of information available on it.

The Gospel of Thomas is indeed a gnostic text, look up the book Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. She documents the early conflict between gnostic and 'johannine' readings of the bible.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Minobu
Posts: 780
Joined: Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:57 pm

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Minobu » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:27 pm

just saying:
In the Jewish texts rabbinical Jews are aware of a reincarnation of sorts. It's limited to i think 12 reincarnations till you get it right.

Jesus Christ must have taught this along somewhere and i believe the Gospel of Thomas tells of such things.

Some say it was disallowed in early Christian teachings in order for people to concentrate on this life.
I'm told Jews ignore it as well for similar reasoning.
As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make things cheap
And say the Mea Culpa which you’ve probably forgot
Year by year
Month by month
Day by day
Thought by thought

Leonard Cohen

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 710
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Coëmgenu » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:19 am

Wayfarer wrote:@Coëmgenu - you should look into the Nag Hammadi codex. There's a lot of information available on it.

The Gospel of Thomas is indeed a gnostic text, look up the book Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. She documents the early conflict between gnostic and 'johannine' readings of the bible.
I am familiar with the Nag Hammadi codex. As for the Gospel of Thomas someone will simply have to point me to specifically Gnostic content therein because I have read it many times and found none.

And... Elaine Pagels herself is a bit of a pet peeve for me. But to each his own. In my fallible opinion, she pedals a little too many conspiracy theories with little historical foundation for me to trust her work on any ancient literature, but especially on the subject of Gnosticism, which she has sort made her career off of, playing to literary sensationalism and the attention gained by entertaining readers' conspiracy theories rather than solid textual research, which dramatically undermines her as a good source for any information concerning Gnosticism or early Christianity. If Pagel really claims that Christian Gnosticism was a 50-100 CE phenomenon that is rather upsetting, because she did entertain certain scholarly standards before. There simply is no evidence at all.

Now I realize that was a sudden dump of a fair amount of negativity, and I really tried to preface it with a heavy caveat of "IMO". I don't think my thoughts are "word of God" on this subject. This is just my particular issue with that specific author. And it is shared by many others in the field, but ultimately the matter is founded on speculation on a lack of evidence either way. Pagels' theories (which by the opinion of some are conspiracy theories) could be true, but there is simply no evidence for what she rhetorically posits as fact.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

User avatar
anjali
Global Moderator
Posts: 937
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 10:33 pm

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby anjali » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:53 am

Any discussion of early Christianity and gnostic texts is off topic, and would probably be more at home over on dharmapaths.com. Let's stick to the topic at hand...
All things are unworthy of clinging to (sabbe dhammā nâla abhinivesāyā). --Shakyamuni Buddha
Wanting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain. --Gendun Rinpoche

User avatar
Admin_PC
Site Admin
Posts: 3397
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:17 pm
Location: Texas, USA

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Admin_PC » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:16 am

Mod Note: This is a forum for the discussion of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Belittling the traditions and proselytizing "Early Buddhism" goes against the Terms of Service.
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
法然上人

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1076
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: California

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:35 am

Wayfarer wrote:@Coëmgenu - you should look into the Nag Hammadi codex. There's a lot of information available on it.

The Gospel of Thomas is indeed a gnostic text, look up the book Beyond Belief by Elaine Pagels. She documents the early conflict between gnostic and 'johannine' readings of the bible.

I wonder, would you or someone else mind answering my earlier question? I am genuinely curious.

Mkoll wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:'recite the sutra'.

What does recitation of the sutra do, in and of itself? And is that effect attested to in other Mahayana sutras?
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3205
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Wayfarer » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:31 am

Mkoll wrote:I wonder, would you or someone else mind answering my earlier question? I am genuinely curious.

Mkoll wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:'recite the sutra'.

What does recitation of the sutra do, in and of itself? And is that effect attested to in other Mahayana sutras?


I'm sorry, Mkoll. My earlier answer was a kind of a dodge, but there's a reason for it. Consider that the 'traditionalist' attitude is that their scriptures are the sole authentic source of truth. They don't believe that the other schools really do speak from 'visionary states'. So what could one say to the traditionalist in response, if that is their view? I can't think of a persuasive argument, short of them also experiencing a visionary state.

But the response to 'recite the Sutra' does have real precedents in the tradition itself. For instance, the pre-amble to the Diamond Sutra assures the reader/hearer that reciting and/or exposition of this sutra will give rise to immeasurable merit (more than all of the sands of the Ganges).

From an academic perspective, what such passages attest are the Mahāyāna asserting their doctrinal legitmacy and the veracity of the Sutra so as to re-assure the hearer of the bona fides of the sutra.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 1076
Joined: Mon May 26, 2014 5:53 am
Location: California

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Mkoll » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:44 pm

Wayfarer wrote:But the response to 'recite the Sutra' does have real precedents in the tradition itself. For instance, the pre-amble to the Diamond Sutra assures the reader/hearer that reciting and/or exposition of this sutra will give rise to immeasurable merit (more than all of the sands of the Ganges).

Thanks, that's what I was looking for. I imagine that there are other sutras that say something similar.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa

User avatar
Coëmgenu
Posts: 710
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 11:35 pm
Location: Whitby, Ontario

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Coëmgenu » Mon Jan 09, 2017 10:04 pm

Mkoll wrote:
Wayfarer wrote:But the response to 'recite the Sutra' does have real precedents in the tradition itself. For instance, the pre-amble to the Diamond Sutra assures the reader/hearer that reciting and/or exposition of this sutra will give rise to immeasurable merit (more than all of the sands of the Ganges).

Thanks, that's what I was looking for. I imagine that there are other sutras that say something similar.


The benefit of sūtra-recitation is polyvalent because it functions both as meritous for the reciter and the hearer. Sometimes the exhortations to hear/recite, and the listed benefits of hearing/reciting, are very strongly worded, and are an example of the rhetorical hyperbole that characterizes a lot of Mahāyāna literature as a literary device:
At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment addressed the Buddha once more, saying: “World-Honored One, the world-honored one has preached this subtle, wonderful, profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra. Truly it is profound, profound, profound! Why do I say so? Because in this assembly when the bodhisattvas mahasattva, the four kinds of believers, the heavenly beings, dragons, and spirits, the kings of states, ministers, and subjects, and other living beings hear this profound, unsurpassed great vehicle Immeasurable Meanings Sutra, there are none who fail to gain dharani teachings, the three doctrines, four stages, or the desire to attain enlightenment. So we know that this teaching is true and correct in word and principle, worthy of unsurpassed veneration. It is guarded and protected by all the buddhas of the three existences. There is no devil host, no congregation of non-Buddhist believers who can invade it, nor can it be destroyed by any erroneous views or accidents of birth and death. Why? Because once one hears it, one can uphold all the doctrines.

“If there are living beings who are able to hear this sutra, they will gain great profit. Why? Because if they can practice it, then without fail they will quickly gain unsurpassed enlightenment. As for those living beings who are unable to hear it, one should know that they will lose great profit, for though immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable asamkhya kalpas may pass, they will in p.21the end fail to gain unsurpassed enlightenment. Why? Because they will not know about the great direct way to enlightenment, but will travel perilous byways beset by numerous hindrances and trials.

“World-Honored One, this sutra is beyond comprehension. We beg that the world-honored one, taking pity upon this great assembly, will broadly expound the profound and unfathomable matters contained in this sutra. World-Honored One, where does this sutra come from, where does it lead to, where does it abide, that it should possess such immeasurable benefits, such inconceivable powers, assuring to the multitude the quick attainment of supreme perfect enlightenment?”

At that time the world-honored one said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment: “Excellent, excellent, good men. It is just so, just so, just as you have spoken. Good men, this sutra I preach is profound, profound, truly profound! Why do I say so? Because it assures that the multitude will quickly attain unsurpassed enlightenment. Because once one hears it, one can uphold all the doctrines. Because for living beings it brings great profit and enrichment. Because practicing it, one travels a great direct way free of hindrances and trials.
(Anantanirdeśasūtra/無量義經 III)
"My pure land is not destroyed,
yet the multitude sees it as consumed in fire,
with anxiety, fear, and other sufferings
filling it everywhere."
(Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra XVI)

All these dharmāḥ are the status of dharma, the standing of dharma, the suchness of dharma; the dharma neither departs from things-as-they-are, nor differs from things-as-they-are; it is the truth, reality, without distortion.(SA 296, 因緣法)
揭諦揭諦,波羅揭諦,波羅僧揭諦,菩提薩婆訶(Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayasya Mantra)

pael
Posts: 290
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:49 pm

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby pael » Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:59 pm

Have all Mahayana Sutras been brought from Naga Realm?
May all beings be free from suffering and causes of suffering

User avatar
Malcolm
Posts: 23079
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 2:19 am

Re: Mahayana origins and provenance of Mayahana sutras

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:07 pm

pael wrote:Have all Mahayana Sutras been brought from Naga Realm?


No, not really. According to the traditional account, the Mahāyāna sūtras were collected by Mañjuśrī and Samantabhadra on a mountain in S. India.

The PP Sūtras were supposedly recovered by Nāgārjuna from the Nāgās, but the details of this story are hopelessly confused with the tantric Nāgārjuna, so much so, that Buton winds up claiming that Nāgārjuna debates the hindu Shankara, who lived in the 8th century.
Atikosha
Tibetan Medicine Blog
Sudarsana Mandala, Tibetan Medicine and Herbs
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


"Belief is useless."

-- Chogyal Namkhai Norbu


Return to “Academic Discussion”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Kenneth Chan and 10 guests