Mahayana earliest origins ?

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steveb1
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Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby steveb1 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 3:57 am

Around the Web I've been encountering the claim that Mahayana did not stem from or diversify from Hinayana. Rather, there was always a kind of proto-Mahayana that grew up along with those who held what we now call Hinayana ideas. Some Mahayanists therefore claim that a kind of early Mahayana has as much claim to religious and historical validity as does Hinayana.

My confusion arises from the fact that some declare the independence of the Mahayana from the very beginning, while others do not. This cite from Wiki isn't helpful but I quote it for discussion's sake:

The origins of Mahāyāna are still not completely understood.[16] The earliest Western views of Mahāyāna assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the so-called "Hīnayāna" schools. Due to the veneration of buddhas and bodhisattvas, Mahāyāna was often interpreted as a more devotional, lay-inspired form of Buddhism, with supposed origins in stūpa veneration,[17] or by making parallels with the history of the European Protestant Reformation. These views have been largely dismissed in modern times in light of a much broader range of early texts that are now available.[18] These earliest Mahāyāna texts often depict strict adherence to the path of a bodhisattva, and engagement in the ascetic ideal of a monastic life in the wilderness, akin to the ideas expressed in the Rhinoceros Sūtra.[19] The old views of Mahāyāna as a separate lay-inspired and devotional sect are now largely dismissed as misguided and wrong on all counts.[20]



I was hoping that someone would be so kindly and helpful to verify or disconfirm this claim about Mahayana's earliness and perhaps point me to some websites, books, and/or articles that discuss this subject.

Thanks in advance for any assistance :)

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kirtu
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby kirtu » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:30 am



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Huifeng
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:34 am

"The earliest Western views of Mahāyāna assumed that it existed as a separate school in competition with the so-called "Hīnayāna" schools."

Not really, the earliest Western views of Mahayana thought it was a totally different religion... It took them a while to connect "Fo" and "Buddha".

~~ Huifeng


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Rakshasa
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Rakshasa » Mon Dec 24, 2012 8:37 am

The Prajnaparamita Sutras first appeared, according to some scholars, from the Caitika sect of Early Buddhism, which was the southern branch of the Mahasamghikas.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caitika

Also, there was an early Buddhist sect called "Prajnaptivada" which believed in the doctrine of "two truths".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prajnaptivada

Here are some facts, and you need to connect the dots:

1. Prajnaptivada and Caitika sects were primarily found in Andhra region.
2. Andhra was once called the "abode of the Nagas" because the Naga people lived there (along with Kashmir and some Himalayan regions).
3. Nagarjuna was known to have recovered the Prajnaparamita texts from the Naga realm.

I personally see a lot of connection and I believe that Nagarjuna was a member of the Andhaka sect of Buddhism and popularized the Prajnaparamita texts which originated among these Buddhists. Thus the legend that these texts were brought from "Naga realm".

In Brahmanic and Buddhist literature, "Naga" is both a reference to half-men-half-dragon beings and also the people/race who worshiped Serpents. I would recommend "Naga cults of the western Himalayas" by Omcanda Handa.
Last edited by Rakshasa on Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Skydancer
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Skydancer » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:00 am

But these are our Western academic explanations. Correct me if I'm wrong, but according to traditional Buddhist doctrine Buddha Śakyamuni thought all three yanas during his lifetime and people heard the teachings according to their capacity.

steveb1
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby steveb1 » Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:37 pm

Thanks to everyone for replying and for the interesting url links :)

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Huifeng
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Huifeng » Mon Dec 24, 2012 1:23 pm



Norden
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Norden » Thu Dec 27, 2012 3:49 am


steveb1
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby steveb1 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 5:33 am

Norden thanks to you - and everyone else - for your thoughts in reply to my question. I keep monitoring this thread for more information as it may arrive :)

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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:20 am


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dzogchungpa
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Dec 28, 2012 1:02 am


Through Dzogchen we can really understand what God is and we don’t have to worry if there is a God or not. God always exists as our real nature, the base, for everybody. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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Huifeng
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Huifeng » Fri Dec 28, 2012 3:57 am



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Indrajala
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Re: Mahayana earliest origins ?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 28, 2012 6:06 am

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |


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