Mahasanghika school

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Mahasanghika school

Post by steveb1 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 10:36 am

1. Could anyone please say a few words about this school, i.e., its historicity as a supposed sectarian group that split with "the Elders"; its buddhology of a docetic Buddha? And perhaps point me to relevant books or websites ... ?
( My web search, even Wiki, only yielded a few paragraphs, which seems strange to me, because the Mahasanghika seems to have the distinction of being one of the Mahayana's very first expressions. )

2. On a more personal level, what do you think of the idea of a docetic Buddha and its historical relation to, or contradiction of, the supposedly more historical (because older ?) Therevadan idea of Buddha as a perfect human, but not a transcendent entity of any type? (Apparently, there is now some document-evidence that the Mahasanghika may be older than was previously thought ... ? )

For example, we know that in early Christianity the notion of a docetic Christ was destroying John's communities - to the extent that he went as far as deeming such Christians as "anti-Christs"; also some see the Gospel emphasis on the materiality of the risen Christ to indicate an anti-docetic polemic.

Soon enough, after Imperial Christianity was established, docetism was deemed heretical, along with Gnostic schools.

Does anyone know if the Buddhist record reports such a huge commotion accompanying the move from the Theravadan "perfect human Buddha" to the Mahasanghika "transcendent, non-material, supernaturally-manifested Buddha" ... ?

Thanks in advance for any tips :)

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Re: Mahasanghika school

Post by Huifeng » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:48 am

If you can dredge up Bareau's book on the sects on the small vehicle, either in French original or the recent English translation, you'll find lots of excellent material inside. This is a good resource, because it utilizes all the Chinese, without which discussions on the Mahasamghika are very incomplete.

~~ Huifeng

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Re: Mahasanghika school

Post by plwk » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:21 pm

Therevadan idea of Buddha as a perfect human...
To put a little spin to the topic, the Buddha was reported to have said this to Dona, the Brahman... ... .than.html" onclick=";return false;
"Master, are you a human being?"
"No, brahman, I am not a human being."

"Brahman, the fermentations by which — if they were not abandoned — I would be a human being:
Those are abandoned by Me, their root destroyed, made like a palmyra stump, deprived of the conditions of development, not destined for future arising.

"Just like a red, blue, or white lotus — born in the water, grown in the water, rising up above the water — stands unsmeared by the water, in the same way I — born in the world, grown in the world, having overcome the world — live unsmeared by the world. Remember Me, brahman, as 'Awakened.'
And this discussion here

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Re: Mahasanghika school

Post by Indrajala » Wed Jun 06, 2012 12:38 pm

The Concept of the Buddha by Venerable Guang Xing describes in detail the Mahāsāṃghika view of the Buddha among other things. ... &q&f=false" onclick=";return false;
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog) Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog) Dharma Depository (Site)

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Re: Mahasanghika school

Post by steveb1 » Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:32 pm

Thanks to you guys for the great references... I'll check them out :)

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