Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Anonymous X » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:05 am

Now that Jayarava has been thoroughly trashed, I would suggest reading this paper on paticcasamupadda, dependent origination. He seems quite clear, after reading half of it. Perhaps he descends into a deep, dark, hole of fabrication in the 2nd half?

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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:08 pm

That whole article reeks of "Mahayana got it wrong". In fact, if it wasn't for the context of this discussion, this reference probably wouldn't be allowed on the forum outside of Open Dharma.
"I structure my argument around a close reading of the Kaccānagotta Sutta (S ii.16), a short but important text from the Nidānasaṃyutta of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. The main topic is how to define „right-view‟ (sammādiṭṭhi) which the text does primarily in terms of the middle way qua the nidāna chain. However the theme that it is best known for is the Buddha‟s denial that the terms „existent‟ (atthi) and „non-existent‟ (natthi) apply to the world (loka). It is a theme later taken up by Nāgārjuna in his master-work Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (MMK) which cites this text, and indeed David Kalupahana has described MMK as “a superb commentary” on the Kaccānagotta.12

A detailed investigation of what is meant by „the world‟ and a discussion on ontology in the Pāli texts sets the scene.
What is the connection between dukkha and „all things‟? I
will argue that paṭicca-samuppāda was not intended as a Theory of Everything and that by employing it in this scope that at least one falsifiable conjecture is made. One possible objection to my argument which I will address is that whereas the sutta focuses on the twelve-fold formula, which is traditionally seen as a specific application of the general principle of conditionality, the general principle is universally applicable.14
Issues right off the bat:
- some of Kalupahana's claims about Nagarjuna are dubious at best, such as that Nagarjuna was actually a closet Theravada. When in fact, he was pretty famous for debating them
- Nagarjuna was working with at least one text on emptiness that didn't make it into the Pali canon.
- Two-fold emptiness is a defining characteristic of Mahayana, and Nagarjuna was decidedly one. Basing his entire argument on the idea that the Buddha didn't teach two-fold emptiness is precisely where the chauvinism comes in.

The rest of it is not really going into. The guy's admittedly only had a few hours of formal Sanskrit training and is mostly self-taught. His understanding of Nagarjuna and the rest of the canon is pretty laughable. If this article is supposed to be proof of his chops as an academic, it falls far short of the goal.
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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Anonymous X » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:57 pm

Admin_PC wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:08 pm
That whole article reeks of "Mahayana got it wrong". In fact, if it wasn't for the context of this discussion, this reference probably wouldn't be allowed on the forum outside of Open Dharma.
"I structure my argument around a close reading of the Kaccānagotta Sutta (S ii.16), a short but important text from the Nidānasaṃyutta of the Saṃyutta Nikāya. The main topic is how to define „right-view‟ (sammādiṭṭhi) which the text does primarily in terms of the middle way qua the nidāna chain. However the theme that it is best known for is the Buddha‟s denial that the terms „existent‟ (atthi) and „non-existent‟ (natthi) apply to the world (loka). It is a theme later taken up by Nāgārjuna in his master-work Mūlamadhyamakakārikā (MMK) which cites this text, and indeed David Kalupahana has described MMK as “a superb commentary” on the Kaccānagotta.12

A detailed investigation of what is meant by „the world‟ and a discussion on ontology in the Pāli texts sets the scene.
What is the connection between dukkha and „all things‟? I
will argue that paṭicca-samuppāda was not intended as a Theory of Everything and that by employing it in this scope that at least one falsifiable conjecture is made. One possible objection to my argument which I will address is that whereas the sutta focuses on the twelve-fold formula, which is traditionally seen as a specific application of the general principle of conditionality, the general principle is universally applicable.14
Issues right off the bat:
- some of Kalupahana's claims about Nagarjuna are dubious at best, such as that Nagarjuna was actually a closet Theravada. When in fact, he was pretty famous for debating them
- Nagarjuna was working with at least one text on emptiness that didn't make it into the Pali canon.
- Two-fold emptiness is a defining characteristic of Mahayana, and Nagarjuna was decidedly one. Basing his entire argument on the idea that the Buddha didn't teach two-fold emptiness is precisely where the chauvinism comes in.

The rest of it is not really going into. The guy's admittedly only had a few hours of formal Sanskrit training and is mostly self-taught. His understanding of Nagarjuna and the rest of the canon is pretty laughable. If this article is supposed to be proof of his chops as an academic, it falls far short of the goal.
He didn't say Nagarjuna was a closet Theravadin. He said he was probably thoroughly familiar with it. I didn't get the sense of 'Mahayana got it wrong' at all. Isn't he a Mahayana practitioner?

I'm not trying to defend him at all. Reading through his paticcasamupadda essay, I didn't come away with any negative feeling about him or what he drew upon. I'm not familiar with Kalupahana's writings so can't speak knowledgeably about him. No one is calling Jayarava the translator sine quo non. He does make some interesting points, though. I'm certainly not looking to him to as a teacher or guide towards sutta or meditational understanding.

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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Admin_PC » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:59 pm

Anonymous X wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:57 pm
He didn't say Nagarjuna was a closet Theravadin. He said he was probably thoroughly familiar with it.
While the exact quote of a Theravada association probably comes from an interview with him, there are quotes in his writings that attempt to make the case that he was not in fact a Mahayani. In fact he coopts Nagarjuna in efforts to undermine Mahayana philosophies.
MMK of Nagarjuna - The Philosophy of the Middle Way preface wrote:This carefully executed work not only deals with the contents and authorship as well as the
chronology of most of the Buddhist texts, but also compares the different
versions available in Sanskrit, Paii, Chinese, Tibetan, and Japanese. After a
careful reading of this work, l cannot help recognizing an earlier stratum of
łiterature that has so far been lumped together with all the literature that
carne to be called Mahayanistic. This includes two famous pieces, the
Kaśyapaparivarta and the Vajracchedika-prajnaparamita (see Nakamura.
p. 159). I wonder whether the original versions of these texts can be appropriately
called Mahayanistic, even though they were preserved by the Mahayana schoołs.
MMK of Nagarjuna - The Philosophy of the Middle Way preface wrote:Before the compilation of the Saddharmapundarika, one can hardly expect to find a carefully executed treatise chat would explicate the Mahayana philosophy as it is presented by modern scholars. Since such sophisticated Mahayana sutras were not available to Nagarjuna, he could not help moving on to the early discourses in the Nikayas and the Agamas in search of the Buddha's teachings, especially at a time when he realized that the problems were created not only by metaphysicians like the Sarvastivadins and the Sautrantikas, but also by morc popular religious teachers like Aśvaghosa, who over--emphasised the function of "faith" in the emerging belief in a transcendent Buddha.
*Note this claim is fairly easy to prove as false as the first Mahayana sutras (texts unmentioned by Kalupahana) were already being translated into Chinese during Nagarjuna's lifetime. Furthermore, the idea that the MMK was the only text that Nagarjuna wrote is an extreme position rejected by every school of Mahayana.
MMK of Nagarjuna - The Philosophy of the Middle Way p348 wrote:This is the one and only time Nagarjuna, the so-called patron of Mahayana, refers to the way (carya) of a bodhisattva.
MMK of Nagarjuna - The Philosophy of the Middle Way p350 wrote:As such, neither. .cJ.le theory of the "seeds of release" (moksa-bija) nor of the "originally pure mind" (prakrti-prabhtisvaracżtta), which is a predecessor, the Mahayana notion of a bodhi-citta, can be reconciled with the Buddha's conception of non-substantiality (anatta) or Nagarjuna's view of "emptiness (śunyata) .
Anonymous X wrote:I didn't get the sense of 'Mahayana got it wrong' at all. Isn't he a Mahayana practitioner?
Nope, not Mahayana at all. Comes from the Triratna order, but his entire academic "mission" (as it were) has been to not only display the inconsistencies of Mahayana teachings, but teachings of the Buddha at large - including teachings on karma (of which he is willfully ignorant).
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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Sentient Light » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:29 pm

Jayarava is on the fringe of Buddhist scholasticism. Most do not take him seriously. Some of the most well-respected scholars in the field do not even know he exists, so while he may be occasionally publishing alongside them, no one of merit is actually paying any attention to his 'work.' And, as has been stated, he doesn't really know Sanskrit OR Pali, but claims to be "self-taught" in both (as if you can teach yourself the nuances of syntax and qualification in a dead language) -- no more "self-taught" than many of us here who've read enough to recognize a litany of words and a *tiny* bit of grammar. He's a hack, someone who made a name for himself in the blogging boom of the aughts and managed to establish an audience among communities that lean toward fringe already.

And, as much as I adore and admire Jan Nattier, her work on the Heart Sutra has recently (within the past 5 years or so) under gone some criticism and many scholars are now thinking that she overlooked many details, particularly neglecting the finer implications of just how the Sanskrit version conjugates certain terms or writes in a particular tense that doesn't make much sense if the translation had gone from Chinese to Sanskrit.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Anders » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:03 am

jkarlins wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:20 am
seems out of touch- whatever the evidence might be to make such an argument, it assumes that thousands of realized teachers utilizing this teaching have been mistaken

Jake
How are they supposed to know if it is apocrypha? I don't think either scenario changes the validity of the message. Which is affirmed by thousands of realized teachers utilizing this teaching.

I think Ronald Epstein makes a good point in his observations on the similar, but far older, debate concerning the Shurangama Sutra:

  • If we wish to understand the thinking of that community that lead to the text's acceptance, it is necessary to look into the very different criteria which Chinese Buddhists used to determine authenticity. In closing, allow me to give a single example, which I hope will be somewhat provocative.

    As already mentioned, the Shurangama is connected with enlightenment of the well-known Ming Dynasty Ch'an Master Han-shan Te-ch'ing. According to his autobiography, he used the work to verity his enlightenment. He explains in his autobiography that he had never heard lectures on the Sutra and did not understand its meaning at all. Then, according to his own account, he studied the Sutra using the power of yoga pratyaksa, or direct veridical perception, claiming that it is impossible to grasp the meaning of the work if one gives rise to a even a little bit of discriminating consciousness. After eight months of constant study, he tells us that he came to a total understanding of the work that was devoid of doubt.

    In other words, I think we can say that, for Ch’an Master Han-shan, the Sutra was seen as an imprint of a mind in which discriminating consciousness had been totally eliminated. Of course, Han-shan did not ascribe to prevalent modern Western scholarly ideas about the historical development of Buddhist texts and believed the Sutra had come directly from Sakyamuni Buddha himself, but that is not the point. What is important here is that Han-shan's experiential verification that the text is written on the level of non-discriminative awareness reinforced his belief in the genuineness of the text. Such a criterion lies beyond the narrow band of historical and philological issues that have so far dominated modern scholarly studies of textual authenticity. It seems to me that further study of traditional criteria such as this their own terms must be a prerequisite for evaluation of their relevancy, or lack of it, in terms of the methodology and goals of modern Buddhological research.


"Whatever is well spoken, all that is the word of the Buddha."
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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Re: Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Anders » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:29 am

Admin_PC wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:59 pm
Anonymous X wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:57 pm
He didn't say Nagarjuna was a closet Theravadin. He said he was probably thoroughly familiar with it.
While the exact quote of a Theravada association probably comes from an interview with him, there are quotes in his writings that attempt to make the case that he was not in fact a Mahayani. In fact he coopts Nagarjuna in efforts to undermine Mahayana philosophies.
You see a lot of casual readers of nagarjuna who think they are re-inventing the wheel by wondering if he was even a mahayanin.

I don't think it comes as a surprise to anyone that the MMK clearly have non-mahayana readers as its target audience. These would not be Theravadins, who were a largely irrelevant school outside of sri lanka, but rather other early buddhist schools, such as the sarvastivadins and pudgalavadins. As such, he makes use only of sources adherents of these schools would accept (non-mahayana sutras), whilst clearly refuting the abidharmic ideas developed by these schools and likewise using these as a platform for establishing Mahayana tenets by way of logical inference, such as the non-distinction between samsara and nirvana.

Nagarjuna, like all Indian mahayanins, would of course be intimately familiar with these schools. Most likely, he stayed in the same monasteries as they did. That he would write what is basically a conversion treatise, by basing it on early sutras is not at all an unusual thing for his time.

The MMK have timeless appeal, but there is a lot of historical and very time-and-place-centric context to its purpose. I can't help think that the MMK would have been a hoot for sautrantikas to read.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

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