Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

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Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby Leo Rivers » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:16 pm

Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared


The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law
Translated By H. Kern (1884)
HOMAGE TO ALL THE BUDDHAS AND BODHISATTVAS.
CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY

Thus have I heard. Once upon a time the Lord was staying at Râgagriha,
on the Gridhrakuta mountain,
1. with a numerous assemblage of monks,
2. twelve hundred monks,
3. all of them Arhats,
4. stainless,
5. free from depravity,
6. self-controlled,
7. thoroughly emancipated in thought and knowledge,
8. of noble breed,
9. (like unto) great elephants,
10. having done their task,
11. done their duty,
12. acquitted their charge, reached the goal;
13. in whom the ties which bound them to existence were wholly destroyed,
14. whose minds were thoroughly emancipated by perfect knowledge,
15. who had reached the utmost perfection in subduing all their thoughts;
16. who were possessed of the transcendent faculties;
eminent disciples, such as


Perfection of Wisdom Sutra in Eight Thousand Lines (Skt. Aṣṭasāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā)

Chapter I The Practice of the Knowledge of All Modes

1. INTRODUCTION

Thus I now hear at this time. The Lord, dwelling at Rajagriha,
on the Vulture Peak,
1. together with a great gathering of 1,250 beings,
2. all of these Arhats,
3. their outflows being dried up,
4. undefiled,
5. fully controlled,
6. quite free in heart,
7. well free and wise,
8. thoroughbreds,
9. great Serpents,
10. their work being done,
11. their task getting accomplished,
12. their burdens laying down,
13. their own weal becoming accomplished,
14. ‍with fetters which bound these to becoming extinguished,
15. hearts quite free by right understanding,
16. in perfect control of whole mind
with the exception of one single person, i.e., the Venerable Ananda.

:buddha1:
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby plwk » Sat Apr 12, 2014 5:43 pm

Interesting Leo. The Ven Ananda was a srotapanna by then...though tradition has him as an Arhat just before the First Council...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... #section-1
He was a willing and diligent pupil and was able to attain the fruit of stream-entry already during his first rains retreat (Cv VII.1).
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby cdpatton » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:33 am

These lists of the arhats' quality are actually identical. Even the apparent disparity between elephant and serpent is just the amiguity of the word naga.

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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby cdpatton » Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:33 am

These lists of the arhats' quality are actually identical. Even the apparent disparity between elephant and serpent is just the ambiguity of the word naga. Its all lifted out of the agamas I think.

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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby Leo Rivers » Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:03 pm

But WHY are they identicle? The Lotus is (wholesome) propagaganda for two important very Mahayana concepts, the single vehicle and the limitlessness of Buddha in space and time, referring to the (technical) process of emptiness only twice and the Asta is a emptiness meditation rapsody that in the earliest attested versions are likely sastra on the cusp of Mahayana. Its hard seeing these two out of the same mindset.
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby cdpatton » Fri Apr 18, 2014 5:40 pm

Leo Rivers wrote:But WHY are they identicle? The Lotus is (wholesome) propagaganda for two important very Mahayana concepts, the single vehicle and the limitlessness of Buddha in space and time, referring to the (technical) process of emptiness only twice and the Asta is a emptiness meditation rapsody that in the earliest attested versions are likely sastra on the cusp of Mahayana. Its hard seeing these two out of the same mindset.


I don't think it has that much to do with the topics of the two sutras. The description of the arhats is a stock passage that was cut-and-pasted wherever it seemed appropriate. This is a practice that aids the memorization of large numbers of texts. It's almost like mnemonic hypertext--a linkage of a standard definition to a headword, like "arhat." Remember, these texts existed in an oral tradition. Also the extant Sanskrit texts often show signs to me of "polishing"--filling in all the formal details and standardizing passages that seem to stray from the usual readings.

It's interesting as one of those little details that Kumarajiva's Lotus has an assembly of twelve thousand arhats, while an older Chinese translation has twelve hundred like the extant Sanskrit text. It's likely his text was one that was going even further in departing with the standard introduction by breaking with the fixed number of 1,250 arhats. But there were probably some editors who rejected the change and so other texts of the Lotus have twelve hundred. It was probably a fluid kind of situation as texts were copied by different groups in different places.

Plus, these introductions are quite different if we continue to read. The Asta has no mention of bodhisattvas, whereas the Lotus does have a bodhisattva assembly, as well as an assembly of devas and other mythical beings. It represents a further development of Mahayana literature: the introductions begin with a normal, human setting like the agama sutras and then segue into a supernatural setting of heavenly beings and miracles.

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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby JonJay » Sat Jun 07, 2014 2:24 am

Hello! My name is John, and I have recently left a sect of Nichiren Buddhism. As you probably know, the Nichirens revere the Lotus Sutra as the Buddha's primary teaching, and tend to consider all other teacings as "provisional."
I am very curious about mainstream Buddhist thought of the Lotus Sutra. Can you recommend any commentaries on this Sutra that may give me an alternative point of view (perhaps from a Tibetan view?) Thank you!
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby Leo Rivers » Sat Jun 07, 2014 5:16 am

Vasubandhu's.


Treatise on the Lotus Sutra, The
[法華論・法華経論] (Skt Saddharma-pundarika-upadesha; Chin Fa-hua-lun or Fa-hua-ching-lun; Jpn Hokke-ron or Hokekyoron )

A Chinese translation of Vasubandhu's commentary on the Sanskrit Lotus Sutra, Saddharma-pundarika-sutra. The full title is The Treatise on the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. The Sanskrit text of Vasubandhu's treatise no longer exists, but two Chinese versions are extant, one by Bodhiruchi and T'an-lin, and the other by Ratnamati and Senglang. Both were produced in the sixth century. According to tradition, Ratnamati, who was from central India, went to Lo-yang, China, in 508 and translated the Saddharma-pundarika-upadesha with the assistance of Senglang. Bodhiruchi, a native of northern India, went to Lo-yang in the same year and produced another Chinese version at Yung-ning-ssu temple with the assistance of T'an-lin.

In this work, Vasubandhu asserts the superiority of the Lotus Sutra over all the other sutras based on three aspects of its content, which he terms the seven parables, the three equalities, and the ten peerlessnesses. The seven parables are the parables related in the Lotus Sutra to illustrate the superiority of the sutra's teaching. The three equalities are: (1) The equality of the vehicle. The one supreme vehicle is given equally to all people, and the Lotus Sutra unites the three vehicles into the one supreme vehicle. (2) The equality of the world and nirvana. There is no fundamental distinction between the world of delusion and nirvana, or enlightenment. (3) The equality of the body. "Body" here refers to the body of the Buddha. Although the Buddha assumes various forms (or bodies) to lead people to enlightenment, the state of Buddhahood equally pervades them all. Vasubandhu established these three viewpoints to show that the Lotus Sutra is a teaching of absolute equality. The ten peerlessnesses are ten viewpoints from which Vasubandhu asserted the superiority of the Lotus Sutra over all other sutras. One of them, for example, is that the seeds of enlightenment imparted by the Lotus Sutra are without peer. Chi-tsang, Dengyo, and Chishowrote commentaries on this work. According to Paramartha's account, more than fifty scholars wrote commentaries on the Lotus Sutra in India, but only Vasubandhu's was brought to China and translated into Chinese. For this reason, The Treatise on the Lotus Sutra was regarded in China as the primary text for the study of the Lotus Sutra. Some scholars today maintain that the Lotus Sutra referred to in the Chinese versions of Vasubandhu's work is different in many respects from the sutra that Kumarajiva translated under the title Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, and bears similarity to a Sanskrit text of the Lotus Sutra found in Nepal. See also seven parables; ten peerlessnesses.
from http://www.sgilibrary.org/search_dict.php?id=2440 :sage:

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CDAQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.elb-studycenter.org%2Fimages%2Fwatanabe.pdf&ei=-JCSU8rSEcq9oQTqjIAY&usg=AFQjCNFvcVjzNRq1Dfv5thDJior9LTH6Qw&bvm=bv.68445247,d.cGU

I have read this English presentation of Vasubandu's commentary:

Author Abbott, Terry Rae
Broad Subject Philosophy
Summary The Saddharmapundar(')ika-sutra-upadesa (SPU), composed by the eminent Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu in the fourth or fifth century A. D., has the important distinction of being the only Indian commentary on the Lotus Sutra to be preserved in any Buddhist canon. The LotusSutra, with a 2,000 year history spanning India, Central Asia, China and Japan, still remains one of the most important of all the Mahayana Sutras.

This dissertation on Vasubandhu's commentary to the Lotus Sutra is comprised of three parts: Part I contains a survey of its history and significance; Part II covers various philological issues regarding it;Part III is an annotated English translation of its Chinese version. Appendixes covering certain issues involving the quotations from the Lotus Sutra found in the Chinese manuscript of the SPU and a Chinese-English glossary for its translation are also included.

In Part I, background information regarding the Lotus Sutra as well as the development of Mahayana Buddhism and its Sutra tradition is provided. New terminology for the historical periods of Mahayana Buddhism, a new model for its development in India and a chronology for some of the major Mahayana Sutras, all of which take into consideration modern Japanese scholarship on the subject, are presented. The formation of the Lotus Sutra and its major doctrines, primarily that of Ekayana (Single Vehicle to enlightenment), is also introduced.

In Part II, philological issues regarding the Chinese SPU manu-script, such as various linguistic peculiarities and authenticity, are discussed. Although Chinese tradition proposes several translations of the SPU only two are extant: No. 1519 in Vol. 26 of Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo (T.) attributed to Bodhiruci and T. 1520 by Ratnamati. Actually a study of the various versions of the SPU, that is T. 1519, 1520 and the versions quoted verbatim in Enchin's (Nihon Daizokyo,Vol. 49) and Chi-tsang's (T.1818) commentaries indicates that there is just one translation.

The manuscript of the Lotus Sutra which Vasubandhu used was closer to the present Sanskrit manuscripts than to the manuscript Kumaraj(')iva used for his translation of the Lotus Sutra (T.262). It may well have been a more expanded version of the Lotus Sutra when compared to the present Sanskrit manuscripts. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
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