Tibetan vs a Chinese sutra's 5 acts of immediate retribution

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JKhedrup
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Tibetan vs a Chinese sutra's 5 acts of immediate retribution

Postby JKhedrup » Sun Nov 10, 2013 8:25 am


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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby dharmagoat » Sun Nov 10, 2013 9:51 am


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sukhamanveti
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby sukhamanveti » Sun Nov 10, 2013 12:32 pm

Prof. Jonathan Silk writes that the five ānantarya-karma are enumerated in Abhidharma literature, the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra, and the Ākāśagarbha Sūtra and that they agree with the Pali list in the Aṅguttara Nikāya. The Brahma Net Sutra adds 2 more: murdering a Dharma Teacher and murdering a Precept Master (in secondary precept 40), but is otherwise the same. Some Abhidharma texts give a different order.

As far as I can tell, the list in "The Buddha Speaks the Dharani Sutra of Long Life and the Protection of Pure Youths" appears to be unique. All of my sources give the usual list. I suspect that the Chinese translation relied on a text with a copyist's error.

Interestingly, footnote 28 on page 304 of the current (2009) edition of The Buddhist Text Translation Society's translation of The Śūraṅgama Sūtra also gives the usual list. This is a product of the late Venerable Master Hsuan Hua's translation organization and the president of the organization is his senior disciple.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra

JKhedrup
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:05 am

Since I am not literate in Chinese I am not the right person to do it, but should this indeed be an error it must certainly be brought to the attention of the BTTS- the 5 Acts of Immediate Retribution are a key doctrine and such a serious discrepancy is not good.

Son of Buddha
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:26 am


JKhedrup
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 11, 2013 8:21 am

Thanks Son of Buddha! It is good to have input from people with experience with the favoured sutras in the Chinese canon! I am glad I asked for feedback here rather than writing to them- the benefit of DW is that people with different knowledge post, so you can always learn something.

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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Michael_Dorfman » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:07 am


Qianxi
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Qianxi » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:40 am


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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Son of Buddha » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:56 am


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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:14 pm

The plot thickens.

Killing is of course a non-virtuous action. I don't think there is a sound scriptural basis anywhere in Buddhism for saying that one does not incur negative karma from abortion, although the social considerations behind it are a whole other topic (one I hope is no reopened again here, as it inevitably leads to discord.)

However, the 5 Acts of Immediate Retribution are a class of the very heaviest of the heavy. So if changing something in the list was motivated by an agenda by the translator or commentator, that is something to be concerned about.

It seems that these 5 acts are found across the traditions in similar formula- in the Anguttara Nikaya and Abhidharmakosha for example. This article is of interest regarding the subject:http://www.academia.edu/534440/Good_and_Evil_in_Indian_Buddhism_The_Five_Sins_of_Immediate_Retribution

Why are these 5 Actions of particular concern? As they are considered so heavy that one will be reborn in hell in the next life (barring, in the Mahayana tradition, sincere purification).

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sukhamanveti
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby sukhamanveti » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:33 pm

I'd like to clarify what my concerns were, because I gather that they were unclear, although it looks as though Qianxi may have solved the mystery. It is common for ancient texts that were copied by hand to contain some errors (or even attempts at explanation inserted into the text). These may even accumulate over time. This occurred whether they were popular or obscure and regardless of religious tradition. The copyists were human after all. When they can, translators will often compare variations in different copies in order to produce the most accurate text possible.

For example, when Bhikkhu Bodhi translated the Saṃyutta Nikāya, he says he compared three different editions of the collection ("the Burmese-script Sixth Buddhist Council Edition," "the Sinhala-script Buddha Jayanti Edition," and the Pali Text Society "roman-script edition"). Each of these editions was itself the product of comparisons between different copies. He "also consulted footnotes on variants in the PTS edition." He did not regard any of these editions as absolutely perfect in all respects.

Or take a popular sutra that was translated into Chinese, The Buddhāvataṃsaka-mahāvaipulya Sūtra, commonly known as the Avataṃsaka Sūtra . The Indian monk Buddhabhadra translated it into Chinese in 420 C.E. The Khotanese monk Shikshananda translated it around 699 C.E. The Gandharan monk Prajñā translated it circa 798 C.E. Each "complete" translation was based on a copy with significant differences. The second translation, which is the most popular of the three, is "more than ten percent longer" than the first. The third translation, which is shorter than the first two, contains a 40th chapter, highly regarded by some, that is not found in the others.

Now it is surprising that "The Buddha Speaks the Dharani Sutra of Long Life and the Protection of Pure Youths" contains a common list of grievous misdeeds, but unlike all of the other sutras, omits "killing an arhat," replacing it with "killing an unborn child." In an instance like this, the most likely explanation would typically be that the Chinese text or the Sanskrit text from which it was translated (if there was one) is flawed, that an error was introduced into a copy at some point by an ancient copyist. This still seems like it may be a possibility. Perhaps this is truly an ancient sutra, but one that was discovered in the early 20th century. I don't know.
namo bhagavate śākyamunaye tathāgatāyārhate samyaksaṁbuddhāya | namaḥ sarvabuddhabodhisattvebhyaḥ ||

"Bodhisattva-mahāsattvas love all beings in the world equally, as if each were their only child..." Buddhāvataṃsakamahāvaipulya Sūtra

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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 11, 2013 12:49 pm

When I was studying at the Buddhist College one of our monastic teachers referred to this text as apocryphal.
Can't say I've read it myself to make any further comment, however.
If it's not in the Taisho, then chances are it's not a classic translation.

~~ Huifeng


JKhedrup
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:05 pm

Thanks Ven. Huifeng!

Are there many similar texts not including in the Taisho canon but named as "Sutras" and considered Apocryphic by scholars?

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Huifeng
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Huifeng » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:22 pm



JKhedrup
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:38 pm

Tibetan Buddhism of the scholastic variety is largely a sastric tradition rather than sutric if one looks at it objectively. Certain lists such as the 5 Acts seem to be universal and are quoted from Sutras or such hallowed texts as the Kosha. It is healthy, though, to have one's illusion of something "seemingly" set in stone challenged by people who have extensively read the sutras of the Mahayana canon. I learn more all the time!

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Re: Tibetan vs. a Unique sutra's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:06 pm

Since it has become clear now that it was not "Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts", but a unique sutra's rendering, could the thread title be changed?
A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

JKhedrup
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Re: Tibetan vs. Ven. Hsuan Hua's Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:24 pm

I have no objection. I don't think the title is at all offensive though, as it merely indicates two different viewpoints, according to two different sources which are cited, one of which was contained in and referred to by Master Hsuan Hua in his teachings. I am a fan of most of his books BTW.

In short, if people really see it as offensive I as the OP have no objection if it is deemed necessary to shift the title. I don't get how it could cause any problems though, to be honest.

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Re: Tibetan vs. a Sutra's list of Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:42 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Re: Tibetan vs. a Sutra's list of Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby Arnoud » Mon Nov 11, 2013 11:45 pm


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yan kong
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Re: Tibetan vs. a Sutra's list of Acts of Immediate Retribut

Postby yan kong » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:17 am

"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun


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