Indian Buddhism / Chinese Buddhism

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Indian Buddhism / Chinese Buddhism

Postby retrofuturist » Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:49 am

Greetings,

I read some interesting discussion on another forum, that I'd like to pursue here... (original source link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =60#p53141)

Dan74 wrote:Perhaps since the Indians firmly believed in Atman, the Buddha spoke of Anatta and since the Chinese rejected anything enduring and unchanging (believing instead in an ever-changing Dao), the Chan patriarchs spoke of the Mind?

Different medicine for different sickness, but both pointing to the same reality.

OmegA wrote:Sorry Dan74, but I think that that would be not only a gross simplification, but also miss the most important point. That point is not so much about a Dao (whether eternal or changing), but about the manner in which certain forms of Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha Buddhism became much more prominent in China (and the rest of East Asia) than they ever were in India.

Moreover, where in India, when one starts speaking of an "eternal Mind" in Buddhist circles, somebody will always say: "Atmavadi!!" (Soul-Theorist!!), in China, they were much less able to distinguish between the myriad of Indian religious systems. As such, what the Indian Buddhists would quickly discard as heterodox, the Chinese tended to take it all on board.

This did have some bonuses, though. The Chinese tended to be more syncretic and accepting. However, they then had to establish elaborate hermeneutical doxographic systems (known as "pan jiao" - "judge the teaching") to classify the various differences into low, middle and higher teachings. The Indians would either say Dharma and Adharma, but even the later Indian Buddhists made similar structures. (eg. see the various grades in Tibetan Buddhism.)

This difference between China and India is also part of the reason why, from my impressions of this thread, it seems like two groups of people are largely talking at cross purposes. One first needs to establish common ground before dialogue can profitably proceed.


What do you think about the different approaches to Buddhism that have taken place in India & China. Do you agree with OmegA's assessment? Do you agree that the differences in approach on both sides results in people "talking at cross purposes"? Are there fundamental differences in each country's approach to the Dharma that underpin the "failed debate" commonly known as the Council of Lhasa.

Damien Keown wrote:Council of Lhasa. A name used somewhat misleadingly by certain Western Scholars to refer to a debate held at Samyé (and not the Tibetan capital, Lhasa) in the year 742 ce on the disputed question of whether enlightenment (bodhi) was a sudden or gradual process. The two main protagonists were the Indian monk Kamalaśīla, and the Chinese Ch'an master Hvashang Mahāyāna (Chin., Ho-Shang Mo-ho-yen). The latter taught that enlightenment was a spontaneous experience in which all the defilements (kleśa) are destroyed in a single moment. Kamalaśīla defended the traditional Indian gradualist position in terms of which enlightenment is the natural outcome of a long process of personal transformation accomplished by following a pre-ordained religious path. The Tibetan side won the debate and Indian gradualism became the orthodox form of Buddhism there from that time. Soon after the council Kamalaśīla was murdered, allegedly by an assassin dispatched by his defeated Chinese opponent. Although some scholars doubt the historicity of this debate, it epitomizes the rejection of Chinese forms of Buddhism by the Tibetans. Some scholars, however, believe that Ch'an Buddhism continued to exert an influence on the Nyingma and Kagyü schools even after the council


Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O108-C ... Lhasa.html

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

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Re: Indian Buddhism / Chinese Buddhism

Postby Huifeng » Fri Feb 12, 2010 12:07 pm

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings,

I read some interesting discussion on another forum, that I'd like to pursue here... (original source link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =60#p53141)

Dan74 wrote:Perhaps since the Indians firmly believed in Atman, the Buddha spoke of Anatta and since the Chinese rejected anything enduring and unchanging (believing instead in an ever-changing Dao), the Chan patriarchs spoke of the Mind?

Different medicine for different sickness, but both pointing to the same reality.



Does Dan74 know that you are taking his conversation elsewhere, posting it here, and asking for comments? Although these things are in *public space*, they can easily be taken out of context. (Even with a back-link.)

OmegA wrote:Sorry Dan74, but I think that that would be not only a gross simplification, but also miss the most important point. That point is not so much about a Dao (whether eternal or changing), but about the manner in which certain forms of Yogacara and Tathagatagarbha Buddhism became much more prominent in China (and the rest of East Asia) than they ever were in India.

Moreover, where in India, when one starts speaking of an "eternal Mind" in Buddhist circles, somebody will always say: "Atmavadi!!" (Soul-Theorist!!), in China, they were much less able to distinguish between the myriad of Indian religious systems. As such, what the Indian Buddhists would quickly discard as heterodox, the Chinese tended to take it all on board.

This did have some bonuses, though. The Chinese tended to be more syncretic and accepting. However, they then had to establish elaborate hermeneutical doxographic systems (known as "pan jiao" - "judge the teaching") to classify the various differences into low, middle and higher teachings. The Indians would either say Dharma and Adharma, but even the later Indian Buddhists made similar structures. (eg. see the various grades in Tibetan Buddhism.)

This difference between China and India is also part of the reason why, from my impressions of this thread, it seems like two groups of people are largely talking at cross purposes. One first needs to establish common ground before dialogue can profitably proceed.


What do you think about the different approaches to Buddhism that have taken place in India & China. Do you agree with OmegA's assessment?


Basically, seems ok. But OmegA's comments are part of a whole discussion. Wouldn't want to take that out of context and then go too far.

Do you agree that the differences in approach on both sides results in people "talking at cross purposes"?


Of course. This applies to any sort of communication, or attempts at communication. Language is one thing, but more fundamental is deeper systems of thought, worldviews.

Are there fundamental differences in each country's approach to the Dharma that underpin the "failed debate" commonly known as the Council of Lhasa.


That seems like a sudden leap to the Council of Lhasa, don't you think? Once again, how much can we take a conversation about atmavada on a Zen forum and somebodies comments about Chinese Buddhism in general, and then throw it into the so-called Council of Lhasa, which is already a polemic and highly biased pseudo-historical account of events between one Chinese master and one Indian/Tibetan master?

Damien Keown wrote:Council of Lhasa. A name used somewhat misleadingly by certain Western Scholars to refer to a debate held at Samyé (and not the Tibetan capital, Lhasa) in the year 742 ce on the disputed question of whether enlightenment (bodhi) was a sudden or gradual process. The two main protagonists were the Indian monk Kamalaśīla, and the Chinese Ch'an master Hvashang Mahāyāna (Chin., Ho-Shang Mo-ho-yen). The latter taught that enlightenment was a spontaneous experience in which all the defilements (kleśa) are destroyed in a single moment. Kamalaśīla defended the traditional Indian gradualist position in terms of which enlightenment is the natural outcome of a long process of personal transformation accomplished by following a pre-ordained religious path. The Tibetan side won the debate and Indian gradualism became the orthodox form of Buddhism there from that time. Soon after the council Kamalaśīla was murdered, allegedly by an assassin dispatched by his defeated Chinese opponent. Although some scholars doubt the historicity of this debate, it epitomizes the rejection of Chinese forms of Buddhism by the Tibetans. Some scholars, however, believe that Ch'an Buddhism continued to exert an influence on the Nyingma and Kagyü schools even after the council


Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O108-C ... Lhasa.html

Metta,
Retro. :)


The "council of Lhasa" is not that simple. There are other explanations, and one best sort out the sectarian from the historical before proceeding further.

What is it that you actually want to discuss, Paul? It seems you are pulling bits from all over the place on this one, to me. A personal discussion in one context here, a sectarian biased historical account of an event in another context elsewhere ... :shrug:
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