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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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby JC33 » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:34 pm

3. their outflows being dried up

This alone is almost impossible.

Most of us have not yet even recognized the meaning of this, the Outflow.

We don't know the damage of the Outflows, when they flow within. They injure the eyes, and the nose, and the throat, and wreck havoc on the mindstream.

These Arhats truly are kings of the Dharma, shaken only by the Buddah.

God Bless them.
"Then all in the great assembly who had not reached the stage beyond learning were stunned upon hearing these words of the Buddha, and could not perceive where the meaning began or ended. They were agitated and taken aback at the same time, having lost what they had adhered to. 2:127 "
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby devadatta » Sat Aug 16, 2014 1:03 am

cdpatton wrote: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...

I agree.

I would also point out that the opening of the 'Daoxing' (道行 T224), which is earliest translation of the Asta, is completely different from the extant Sanskrit version.

It just mentions:

"a great sangha of innumerable bhiksus, Sariputra and Subhhti, etc." (摩訶比丘僧不可計,諸弟子舍利弗、須菩提等 )

and

"countless mahasattva-bodhisattvas, Maitreya, Manjushri etc." (摩訶薩菩薩無央數,彌勒菩薩、文殊師利菩薩等)

and that's it.


Much more interesting, I think, than the question of why the opening of the (late) Sanskrit version of the Asta is the same as that of the (also late) Sanskrit version of the Saddharma is why bodhisattvas are mentioned among the audience of the early version of the Asta but not in the later version.
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby Leo Rivers » Sat Aug 16, 2014 10:57 pm

Much more interesting, I think,.... is why bodhisattvas are mentioned among the audience of the early version of the Asta but not in the later version.


Good point. The trouble is the same as putting humans down stream of austrailiopiticines... we are downstream... but maybe not of the same limb of branching. What one inherits may come from a different initial set. I honestly think the fragments of records make making too much sense of this may be futile. :namaste:
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby Leo Rivers » Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:19 am

BIG MISTAKE cough, cough
as regards
Much more interesting, I think,.... is why bodhisattvas are mentioned among the audience of the early version of the Asta but not in the later version


I think my cutting off the quote created that impression! :oops:

But my point holds in general anyway.
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby devadatta » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:24 am

Leo Rivers wrote:The trouble is the same as putting humans down stream of austrailiopiticines... we are downstream... but maybe not of the same limb of branching. What one inherits may come from a different initial set. I honestly think the fragments of records make making too much sense of this may be futile. :namaste:

According to Hikata's geneology of Prajñāpāramitā Sūtras (Table 5 in Suvikrāntavikrāmi-Paripṛcchā-Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra. Fukuoka: Kyushu University, 1958) the 道行 is a direct ancestor of the Aṣṭasāhasrikā, though the Aṣṭa does contain some genes from its longer cousins.
Last edited by devadatta on Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby devadatta » Mon Aug 18, 2014 3:32 am

Leo Rivers wrote:BIG MISTAKE cough, cough
as regards
Much more interesting, I think,.... is why bodhisattvas are mentioned among the audience of the early version of the Asta but not in the later version


I think my cutting off the quote created that impression! :oops:

I don't think you cut anything off. The Aṣṭa doesn't explicitly mention bodhisattvas among the assembled audience.

Although bodhisattvas aren't explicitly mentioned, it may be understood that the assembled arhats are bodhisattvas. You may be familiar with the passage in the Abhisamayālaṃkārālokā (Wogihara p.22 ln.13-16) in which Haribhadra explains that mahasattva-bodhisattvas are distinguished from ordinary bodhisattvas, among whom Śrāvakas may be included. On the other hand, it may be understood that the assembled arhats are not bodhisattvas because they are yet to be converted to Mahayana. Probably the latter, IMO.

The whole area of characterised audiences within texts is an immensely interesting topic. AFAIK, no one has applied contemporary theories of audience to Mahayana sutras in an academic work.


Leo Rivers wrote:But my point holds in general anyway.

Sorry, what was your point, again?
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby Leo Rivers » Fri Aug 22, 2014 4:57 pm

In the deep past In human evolution at any point there can be perhaps 4 paralell distict human species "at a paralell point" in evolution.
That means that for a while neanderthals of their 3 sorts, Homo Hobit, and Sapians were all homonids existing at the same point in history.
Imagine millions of years from now - Homo Galacticus that looks like us is looking back. They can't decide which of the 5 is their ancestor.
All 5 are equally likely to have become THEM as far as THEY can tell.
Now look at Lucy. She represents that level of development that would be prior to us - but we don't know for certain if there were not 4 more species 'at that place' equally likely to have been our direct ancestor. They may have dissapeared. Accident has preserved Lucy.

The same is true for evolving Buddhist texts.
We can tell a texts would be a likely candidate for a preious form of that text - but we may have no way to be certain that any particual text was its ancestor.
What we can tell is texts evolve as situations in which people using those texts percieve changing needs and social settings.

Early texts we now call Mahayana may not use that word, or use it in the way we do. As conservitive attitudes and innovative attitudes became stressed with each other, self identified innovative texts may start to use Mahayana as a political party form rather than a attitude focus, so the folks who call themselves Liberal may prefer to self identify as Democrat. Then a Manichian mind set sets in. We may claim we stand for for FREEDOM and everyone else for COMMUNISM.

The word Hinayana starts being uses as a term of denigration rather than distiction. The word Mahayana shows us in donation inscriptions. A Bodhisattva ordination ceremony appears in China.

Without concidering it a second time I saw no reason a particular Mahayana text might not talk about bodhisattvas the way I would. It was a dumb goof to not realize the question was based on my editing. I was interested in pointing out showing identical text, not the way they diverge.

For instance... a (Dharmaraksa?) translation of the Bodhisattva-bhumi was "sutrafied" by slapping the intro to a Ratnakuta sutra onto it.

These texts were beliefs circulated with propaganist motives - not a bad thing - but it means they employed all literary tolls that seemed to work. :namaste:
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Re: Lotus Sutra - Prajna 8000 Intro compared

Postby cdpatton » Sun Oct 19, 2014 12:38 am

devadatta wrote:
cdpatton wrote: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...

I agree.

I would also point out that the opening of the 'Daoxing' (道行 T224), which is earliest translation of the Asta, is completely different from the extant Sanskrit version.

It just mentions:

"a great sangha of innumerable bhiksus, Sariputra and Subhhti, etc." (摩訶比丘僧不可計,諸弟子舍利弗、須菩提等 )

and

"countless mahasattva-bodhisattvas, Maitreya, Manjushri etc." (摩訶薩菩薩無央數,彌勒菩薩、文殊師利菩薩等)

and that's it.


Much more interesting, I think, than the question of why the opening of the (late) Sanskrit version of the Asta is the same as that of the (also late) Sanskrit version of the Saddharma is why bodhisattvas are mentioned among the audience of the early version of the Asta but not in the later version.


I'm glad someone brought this up. I spent my summer vacation this year studying the Asta in Chinese and comparing it to Sanskrit as well, and yes, there are two versions of it. They are both translated in Hsuan-tsang's compendium (Taisho 220, nos. 4 & 5), and one seems to be an earlier version (it was the first version translated into Chinese) and then a later version arrived--but Hsuan-tsang translated them both, so the earlier version didn't disappear later on. The later version that removed the bodhisattvas from the introduction actually reads strangely when the Buddha tells Subhuti to teach the bodhisattvas (when you stop and think about it). Wait, what bodhisattvas? But in the earlier version, it looks perfectly okay. They were just mentioned as present in the audience.

My first thought on this particular passage is that I think the Asta and the Vajracchedika have a clear relationship to each other. The Chinese Vajracchedika didn't have bodhisattvas in the audience either. I've wondered if keeping bodhisattvas out of the narrative was a way of making these text acceptable to a wider Buddhist audience? But I haven't gotten so far as to closely compare the two Chinese Astas to say if that actually makes any sense. It's just a thought about the intro.

Generally speaking, though, I would expect that texts were sometimes taken as a group and edited for consistency, so to speak. It would make memorization easier and also make them read like they all came from the same source and belonged to a homogenous genre of texts. A textual lineage with a period of over a thousand years probably had this done to it more than once, as part of multiple groups of texts. Or not. At the end of day, all I'm ever sure of is a *shrug*.

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