Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

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Antiochus
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Has the Heart Sutra Been Finally Proven as Chinese Apocrypha?

Post by Antiochus » Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:25 am

Recently Jayarava Atwood, which I'm sure many here on this forum are familiar with, has been a blistery pace in analyzing and deconstructing the famous Heart Sutra in East Asian Buddhism. His posts are many in the past 2 years, but here are the most prominent ones:


http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/06/th ... dhist.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/04/he ... omaly.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/10/re ... ammar.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/10/th ... rypha.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/11/ja ... igins.html

He seems to be making a devastating case for the Chinese Apocrypha theory, first proposed by Jan Nattier back in 1992, but backed by much more in Sanskrit philology than before. Any thoughts on this?

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

Post by ItsRaining » Tue Nov 28, 2017 6:51 am

Antiochus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 5:25 am
Recently Jayarava Atwood, which I'm sure many here on this forum are familiar with, has been a blistery pace in analyzing and deconstructing the famous Heart Sutra in East Asian Buddhism. His posts are many in the past 2 years, but here are the most prominent ones:


http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/06/th ... dhist.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/04/he ... omaly.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/10/re ... ammar.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/10/th ... rypha.html

http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/11/ja ... igins.html

He seems to be making a devastating case for the Chinese Apocrypha theory, first proposed by Jan Nattier back in 1992, but backed by much more in Sanskrit philology than before. Any thoughts on this?
I thought people don't take this guy very seriously from what I've read.

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

Post by krodha » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:01 am

Malcolm said it well:

  • One might argue that Buddhology is just such a kind of surgery, but in general, in surgery, the surgeon has to be interested in saving the patient, and in the case of people like Jayarava, etc., I see no such interest at all. They merrily hack away at the body of Dharma, trying to remove what they perceive to problems and inconsistencies, blind to the problems and inconsistencies they themselves are introducing —— this is, in all cases, because they have not received a proper education in Dharma, and properly followed a master. There is no one more sad than a putative Dharma practitioner who has no master.

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

Post by Norwegian » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:26 am

Jayarava is the very same person that has suggested that the Buddha himself never even existed. Why would anybody take people like this seriously? These kind of people aren't followers of the Buddha. The only thing they are trying to do is deconstruct and destroy. Nothing other than that.

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

Post by shaunc » Tue Nov 28, 2017 1:02 pm

Even if Jayaravas theory is true, it doesn't change the message of the dharma.

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

Post by Antiochus » Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:01 pm

Norwegian wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:26 am
Jayarava is the very same person that has suggested that the Buddha himself never even existed. Why would anybody take people like this seriously? These kind of people aren't followers of the Buddha. The only thing they are trying to do is deconstruct and destroy. Nothing other than that.
Well, this is what he claims he's trying to do for the Heart Sutra:
http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/10/th ... rypha.html
The reality in this case is that the Heart Sutra is changing. It has changed in the past, and it will change again. Buddhism is changing, it has changed in the past, and it will change again. If change is the nature of reality, then the changes wrought by Jan Nattier should be joyfully embraced by Buddhists. Instead, they are fearfully rejected and replaced with fantasy versions of reality. And this is sanctioned by followers because they don’t want things to change either. All too often Buddhism seems like a tragedy blurring into a farce.

The final irony is that, if you could ask the Heart Sutra itself, it would reply: in emptiness there is no Heart Sutra. And the mainstream, the paradigmatic, metaphysical interpretation would be that the Heart Sutra doesn't exist! And laughably, it is precisely my epistemological interpretation (based on Sue Hamilton's reading of the Pāḷi suttas) that rescues the text from this ignominious fate. It's only me arguing that of course the text exists, it's just that perception of it is not governed by the same rules as the existence of it.

The uncomfortable truth is that text that everyone knows and loves, is full of errors. And faith is getting in the way of fixing them.

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

Post by krodha » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:23 am

I would ignore anything Jayarava has to say, his so-called contributions to the world of Buddhist academia are essentially the ravings of an uneducated fool.

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

Post by Temicco » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:34 am

Whether Jayarava's ideas have merit, I don't know, but the rigid emicness in here is a bit hilarious.

I don't get the impression he's out to get the dharma, so people can relax, and learning modern Tibetan theological perspectives on the Heart Sutra won't help him with historical criticism of the text.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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

Post by Aryjna » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:46 am

Antiochus wrote:
Tue Nov 28, 2017 11:01 pm

Well, this is what he claims he's trying to do for the Heart Sutra:
http://jayarava.blogspot.com/2017/10/th ... rypha.html
The reality in this case is that the Heart Sutra is changing. It has changed in the past, and it will change again. Buddhism is changing, it has changed in the past, and it will change again. If change is the nature of reality, then the changes wrought by Jan Nattier should be joyfully embraced by Buddhists. Instead, they are fearfully rejected and replaced with fantasy versions of reality. And this is sanctioned by followers because they don’t want things to change either. All too often Buddhism seems like a tragedy blurring into a farce.

The final irony is that, if you could ask the Heart Sutra itself, it would reply: in emptiness there is no Heart Sutra. And the mainstream, the paradigmatic, metaphysical interpretation would be that the Heart Sutra doesn't exist! And laughably, it is precisely my epistemological interpretation (based on Sue Hamilton's reading of the Pāḷi suttas) that rescues the text from this ignominious fate. It's only me arguing that of course the text exists, it's just that perception of it is not governed by the same rules as the existence of it.

The uncomfortable truth is that text that everyone knows and loves, is full of errors. And faith is getting in the way of fixing them.
That actually sounds significantly emotionally charged, and not in a good way.

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

Post by krodha » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:50 am

Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:34 am
Whether Jayarava's ideas have merit, I don't know, but the rigid emicness in here is a bit hilarious.

I don't get the impression he's out to get the dharma, so people can relax, and learning modern Tibetan theological perspectives on the Heart Sutra won't help him with historical criticism of the text.
Have you interacted with Jayarava? He posts in forums from time to time, he's like an actual idiot.

I had a discussion with him where he completely misunderstood the two truths and butchered their meaning and intention, and then he had the audacity to blame Nāgārjuna when the principles no longer made sense due to being crippled with Jayarava's own ineptitude. It was one of the most insane conversations I've had in these forums. The entire thing tinged with this false confidence and authority in the attack on Nāgārjuna.

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

Post by Temicco » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:06 am

krodha wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:50 am
Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:34 am
Whether Jayarava's ideas have merit, I don't know, but the rigid emicness in here is a bit hilarious.

I don't get the impression he's out to get the dharma, so people can relax, and learning modern Tibetan theological perspectives on the Heart Sutra won't help him with historical criticism of the text.
Have you interacted with Jayarava? He posts in forums from time to time, he's like an actual idiot.

I had a discussion with him where he completely misunderstood the two truths and butchered their meaning and intention, and then he had the audacity to blame Nāgārjuna when the principles no longer made sense due to being crippled with Jayarava's own ineptitude. It was one of the most insane conversations I've had in these forums. The entire thing tinged with this false confidence and authority in the attack on Nāgārjuna.
I haven't, but none of this determines whether his arguments about the Heart sutra have merit from a historical critical POV.

I don't have anything to say re: Nagarjuna, but based on your description of Jayarava I am familiar with types like him (Jayarava), and I don't doubt that it's good to be very wary of the things he says. Hopefully mere bravado on his part won't convince people to take up his stances without doing their own research and thinking.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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

Post by Aryjna » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:15 am

Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:06 am
krodha wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:50 am
Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:34 am
Whether Jayarava's ideas have merit, I don't know, but the rigid emicness in here is a bit hilarious.

I don't get the impression he's out to get the dharma, so people can relax, and learning modern Tibetan theological perspectives on the Heart Sutra won't help him with historical criticism of the text.
Have you interacted with Jayarava? He posts in forums from time to time, he's like an actual idiot.

I had a discussion with him where he completely misunderstood the two truths and butchered their meaning and intention, and then he had the audacity to blame Nāgārjuna when the principles no longer made sense due to being crippled with Jayarava's own ineptitude. It was one of the most insane conversations I've had in these forums. The entire thing tinged with this false confidence and authority in the attack on Nāgārjuna.
I haven't, but none of this determines whether his arguments about the Heart sutra have merit from a historical critical POV.

I don't have anything to say re: Nagarjuna, but based on your description of Jayarava I am familiar with types like him (Jayarava), and I don't doubt that it's good to be very wary of the things he says. Hopefully mere bravado on his part won't convince people to take up his stances without doing their own research and thinking.
By briefly looking at some of his blog posts, it seems the whole argument is based on what he considers to be evidence that the Sanskrit version appears to be translated from the Chinese version. Because it lacks idiomatic expressions, which are common in Sanskrit Prajnaparamita literature. That in itself cannot by any means be considered evidence 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the sutra itself is a Chinese 'invention'. Adding to that the apparent fact that he has no idea about the dharma, and the conclusion is that all his analysis about everything other than a purely grammatical approach, and common sense which is not at all certain he possesses, can be safely ignored. I admit I did not really read his complete posts though.

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

Post by Temicco » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:34 am

Aryjna wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:15 am
By briefly looking at some of his blog posts, it seems the whole argument is based on what he considers to be evidence that the Sanskrit version appears to be translated from the Chinese version. Because it lacks idiomatic expressions, which are common in Sanskrit Prajnaparamita literature. That in itself cannot by any means be considered evidence 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the sutra itself is a Chinese 'invention'. Adding to that the apparent fact that he has no idea about the dharma, and the conclusion is that all his analysis about everything other than a purely grammatical approach, and common sense which is not at all certain he possesses, can be safely ignored. I admit I did not really read his complete posts though.
Does he say somewhere that lack of idiomatic expressions alone is his grounds for saying the Chinese origin is beyond reasonable doubt?

Having no idea about "the dharma" doesn't make historical criticism impossible.
"Deliberate upon that which does not deliberate."
-Yaoshan Weiyan

"Right now if students are in fact truly genuine, source teachers can contact their potential and activate it with a single word or phrase, or a single act or scene."
-Yuanwu Keqin

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

Post by Tolya M » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:35 am

This sutra says that there is not only sunya of pudgala as Lesser Vehicle states but also absence of bhava\abhava dichotomy as nirvana\samsara related to the 5 skandhas of bodhisattva\apratisthita nirvana. That is why there is no Path of Lesser Vehicle etc. So it is not sufficient to prove HS as chinese apocrypha or not. It's only by reasoning one may know that it is true mahayana teaching :?

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

Post by Aryjna » Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:38 am

Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:34 am
Aryjna wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:15 am
By briefly looking at some of his blog posts, it seems the whole argument is based on what he considers to be evidence that the Sanskrit version appears to be translated from the Chinese version. Because it lacks idiomatic expressions, which are common in Sanskrit Prajnaparamita literature. That in itself cannot by any means be considered evidence 'beyond reasonable doubt' that the sutra itself is a Chinese 'invention'. Adding to that the apparent fact that he has no idea about the dharma, and the conclusion is that all his analysis about everything other than a purely grammatical approach, and common sense which is not at all certain he possesses, can be safely ignored. I admit I did not really read his complete posts though.
Does he say somewhere that lack of idiomatic expressions alone is his grounds for saying the Chinese origin is beyond reasonable doubt?

Having no idea about "the dharma" doesn't make historical criticism impossible.
But it makes his analyses which are based even slightly on philosophical points invalid. Leaving us with his linguistic arguments. But as I said I did not read them all, just looked quickly through the links in the OP.

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

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:13 am

Jayarava plainly has a barrow to push, as he’s trying to make a name for himself as a kind of freelance Buddhist scholar. I have interacted with him on this forum in the past, and in my view while he is well-educated, he tends to favour a naturalistic philosophy with I think is out of sync with the transcendent meaning of Dharma. However the idea that the Heart Sutra is of Chinese origin did not originate with him, it goes back to Jan Nattier, as he says, who published it in 1992 or so. I am unable to find this notion shocking, myself. I think it’s quite probable that the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana is also of Chinese origin, but also a profound scripture in it’s own right. It’s the meaning that is significant. (Although I do recall reading that Nattier seems to say that the celebrated and central phrase of ‘form is emptiness and emptiness form’ might have been introduced in a later redaction of the Sutra - I would be interested in following up on that.)
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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

Post by krodha » Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:56 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:13 am
Jayarava... tends to favour a naturalistic philosophy with I think is out of sync with the transcendent meaning of Dharma.
True, and not only that, Jayarava often heaves the view of modern science onto the adepts of the past and pities them for their "primitive" world views that "failed" to properly align with the reigning paradigm of materialism. He attempts to decipher principles like emptiness through the that narrow lens, and again blames the teachings themselves when he fails.

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

Post by jkarlins » 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

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

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:58 am

Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:34 am
... the rigid emicness in here is a bit hilarious.

:smile:
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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

Post by krodha » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:08 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:58 am
Temicco wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:34 am
... the rigid emicness in here is a bit hilarious.
:smile:
If you want eticness the search option is fully functional.

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