What are some "must have" books?

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Jnana » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:44 pm

Virgo wrote:What I am saying is, in Theravada paramattha dhammas have sabhava. They are said to really exist.

Ah yes, you adhere to the doctrine of the "big four." Good thing that Ven. Ñāṇananda has sufficiently shredded that nonsensical commentarial tenet!

But again, none of this pertains to this thread. If you want dhammas to have sabhāva -- even though the Paṭisambhidāmagga explicitly states that dhammas are empty of sabhāva -- then that's fine by me.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Virgo » Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:48 pm

Jnana wrote:
Virgo wrote:What I am saying is, in Theravada paramattha dhammas have sabhava. They are said to really exist.

Ah yes, you adhere to the doctrine of the "big four." Good thing that Ven. Ñāṇananda has sufficiently shredded that nonsensical commentarial tenet!

But again, none of this pertains to this thread. If you want dhammas to have sabhāva -- even though the Paṭisambhidāmagga explicitly states that dhammas are empty of sabhāva -- then that's fine by me.

Geoff,

I don't really care if you adhere to it or not. It means nothing to me. But my point is that if you are going to compare teachings in the Theravada Abhidhamma with Madhyamaka, you should represent those teachings in their proper traditional contexts.

No offense. :)

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Jnana » Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:19 pm

Virgo wrote:I don't really care if you adhere to it or not. It means nothing to me.

Your interpretation of Theravāda postdates the Tipiṭaka by hundreds of years and is no more representative of the Theravāda than the Abhidharmakośabhāsya is representative of the Sarvāstivāda.

Virgo wrote:But my point is that if you are going to compare teachings in the Theravada Abhidhamma with Madhyamaka, you should represent those teachings in their proper traditional contexts.

I have. Chapter and verse. Every word is explicitly supported by the Theravāda Tipiṭaka.

Virgo wrote:No offense.

None taken. But aren't you the fellow who insists that a Theravādin cannot be a mahāyānika, i.e. cannot accept, study, or practice in accord with any bodhisattvapiṭaka sūtras? And aren't you also the fellow who's previously said that any Theravādin who doesn't agree with your interpretation of the Theravāda isn't really a Theravādin?
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Huifeng » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:40 am

If one is going to study some Abhidharma for a line into certain Mahayana teachings, then the text would probably be the Vibhasa, not the Kosa. The Vibhasa was around at the time when the main inflow of Mahayana sutras began, and just predates Nagarjuna, too. By the time of Vasubandhu's Kosa, most of the Mahayana sutras had already been compiled. Therefore, it can't be used as a lead in, as that would be anachronistic. Moreover, the Kosa often argues against the Vibhasa, and the Sarvastivadin teachers criticized the Kosa for not representing the school.

Despite this, I still think that the Kosa is an amazing text. But it is as much Sautrantika as it is Vibhasika. If one wishes to get into late Mahayana, especially the Yogacara / Vijnaptimatra system(s), then of course it is an excellent text.

If one finds the Kosa too long, then something like the Abhidharma Avatara, the Sara / Hrdaya, or the like, would be very useful, too.

Though in the end, I would hesitate to put any on a "must have" list for Mahayana study. After all, none of them are Mahayana texts. (Though Vasu's bits at the end on the bodhisattva path are helpful. But why not just read the Prajnaparamita Upadesa?)

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Virgo » Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:26 am

Jnana wrote:Your interpretation of Theravāda postdates the Tipiṭaka by hundreds of years and is no more representative of the Theravāda than the Abhidharmakośabhāsya is representative of the Sarvāstivāda.


Hi Geoff.

I disagree. What the "Theravada" school is is precisely defined by it's commentarial literature. Following your line of logic, Mahayana schools cannot be understood or defined by their specific Commentaries either. So your thinking just doesn't add up. You can interpret Theravada however you like though. That is fine with me. I don't care man.

Jnana wrote:I have. Chapter and verse. Every word is explicitly supported by the Theravāda Tipiṭaka.

I disagree. But this is where I have to end this conversation. Please don't take it as anything personal, because it really isn't (and yes I do have the texts to back up my point of view and am fully capable of doing so).

Jnana wrote:aren't you the fellow who insists that a Theravādin cannot be a mahāyānika, i.e. cannot accept, study, or practice in accord with any bodhisattvapiṭaka sūtras? And aren't you also the fellow who's previously said that any Theravādin who doesn't agree with your interpretation of the Theravāda isn't really a Theravādin?

Yes (that would put then outside of the realm of how things are explained in the Theravada Abhidhamma and commentaries to the three baskets) and yes.

All the best,

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Jnana » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:38 am

Virgo wrote:I disagree.

I know you disagree. We've been down this road at least once before.

Virgo wrote:What the "Theravada" school is is precisely defined by it's commentarial literature.

The Theravāda is a diverse living tradition, with far more variations than you are willing to accept. The only common ground is the Tipiṭaka. By your criteria, most of the learned Theravāda monks who I've listened to and read would not be "Theravāda." It should be quite obvious that I consider your criteria too limited to be taken seriously (and I think that monks as diverse as Ven. Bodhi, Ven. Ñāṇananda, Ven. Sumedho, & Ven. Ṭhānissaro would agree with me).

Virgo wrote:Following your line of logic, Mahayana schools cannot be understood or defined by their specific Commentaries either. So your thinking just doesn't add up.

Most of the Mahāyāna schools are every bit as diverse as the living Theravāda tradition.

Virgo wrote:
Jnana wrote:aren't you the fellow who insists that a Theravādin cannot be a mahāyānika, i.e. cannot accept, study, or practice in accord with any bodhisattvapiṭaka sūtras?

Yes (that would put then outside of the realm of how things are explained in the Theravada Abhidhamma and commentaries to the three baskets).

By your criteria no Sarvāstivādin (or Mūlasarvāstivādin) would be able to be a mahāyānika either.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Jnana » Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:58 am

Huifeng wrote:Though in the end, I would hesitate to put any on a "must have" list for Mahayana study. After all, none of them are Mahayana texts.

Yes. And if one is going to look for some sort of doctrinal continuity, there would probably be more doctrinal resonance with the (extinct) Lokottaravāda than with most tenets of the Sthaviravāda sects.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby maybay » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:11 pm

Huifeng wrote:By the time of Vasubandhu's Kosa, most of the Mahayana sutras had already been compiled. Therefore, it can't be used as a lead in, as that would be anachronistic.

Vasubandhu was writing Hinayana after Mahayana had entered the world.
Jaidyn is reading Hinayana after Mahayana has entered the world.
The door to Mahayana is open but the rope to lower scriptures is still tied.
You know you can get the Kosa in French?
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Malcolm » Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:24 pm

Jnana wrote:
Namdrol wrote:This is not really the case. There is a continuity of ideas that run through Sarvastivada right up through both wings of Mahāyāna and on into Vajrayāna.

Thervāda and Sarvastivāda tenets are very different in a number of important ways.

The only Sarvāstivāda ideas that a bodhisattva aspirant would need to understand on any level is the Sarvāstivāda version of causes and conditions and the Sarvāstivāda version of the intermediate state. And in each case, one doesn't have to be a Sarvāstivāda scholar. Other areas such as the sixteen aspects of the four noble truths and the defilements eliminated at each of the four arya stages aren't really relevant to the Mahāyāna.



You are down playing something very critical.

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby alwayson » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:17 pm

I don't get it.

Mahayana was a reaction to whose Abhidharma?
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby maybay » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:40 pm

Mahayana was a change in attitude.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby alwayson » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:43 pm

From Nagarjuna in Context by Joseph Walser:


"For example, many scholars assume that Nagarjuna's opponents were Sarvastivadins, and many modern works investigate his arguments against this opponent. Yet no one has so far given a plausible reason why he singled out the Sarvastivadins for refutation and not, say, the Theravadins."
Last edited by alwayson on Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby alwayson » Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:44 pm

maybay wrote:Mahayana was a change in attitude.



If by change of attitude, you mean a return to the original attitude of early Buddhism by claiming that aggregates themselves were empty, then yes.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Jnana » Sat Sep 24, 2011 6:41 pm

Namdrol wrote:You are down playing something very critical.

Developing an understanding of the foundational teachings is important. Whether this is interpreted through a classical Indian Sarvāstivāda filter or a Theravāda filter is not so important. By the time of the classical period (i.e. the first few centuries of the common era) both of these exegetical systems had accreted to a point where they were unnecessarily complex. Old Guatama likely wouldn't have been very impressed with any of their large classical treatises.
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Sep 25, 2011 12:33 am

Jnana wrote:
Namdrol wrote:You are down playing something very critical.

Developing an understanding of the foundational teachings is important. Whether this is interpreted through a classical Indian Sarvāstivāda filter or a Theravāda filter is not so important. By the time of the classical period (i.e. the first few centuries of the common era) both of these exegetical systems had accreted to a point where they were unnecessarily complex. Old Guatama likely wouldn't have been very impressed with any of their large classical treatises.



In general, the point of departure for most Sanskrit-writing Mahayana Indian authors which have any relevance at all in Tibetan Buddhism, whether sutra or tantra, is the Kosha.

Perhaps it is merely a Tibetan Buddhist thing.

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Huifeng » Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:53 am

Namdrol wrote:
Jnana wrote:
Namdrol wrote:You are down playing something very critical.

Developing an understanding of the foundational teachings is important. Whether this is interpreted through a classical Indian Sarvāstivāda filter or a Theravāda filter is not so important. By the time of the classical period (i.e. the first few centuries of the common era) both of these exegetical systems had accreted to a point where they were unnecessarily complex. Old Guatama likely wouldn't have been very impressed with any of their large classical treatises.



In general, the point of departure for most Sanskrit-writing Mahayana Indian authors which have any relevance at all in Tibetan Buddhism, whether sutra or tantra, is the Kosha.

Perhaps it is merely a Tibetan Buddhist thing.

N


It may just be. The Chinese and East Asian systems in general had a range of stuff across the strict Vaibhasika / Sarvastivadin to Sautrantika spectrum, such as the various sastras, the Kosa, Sara, Avatara, as well as the *Satyasiddhi and *Catursatyani sastras; not to mention the PP Upadesa.

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:08 pm

Jnana wrote:
Virgo wrote:What I am saying is, in Theravada paramattha dhammas have sabhava. They are said to really exist.

Ah yes, you adhere to the doctrine of the "big four." Good thing that Ven. Ñāṇananda has sufficiently shredded that nonsensical commentarial tenet!

But again, none of this pertains to this thread. If you want dhammas to have sabhāva -- even though the Paṭisambhidāmagga explicitly states that dhammas are empty of sabhāva -- then that's fine by me.


Paṭisambhidāmagga is definitely post-Prajñāpāramita and likely post-Nāgārjuna.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Malcolm » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:12 pm

Huifeng wrote:
It may just be. The Chinese and East Asian systems in general had a range of stuff across the strict Vaibhasika / Sarvastivadin to Sautrantika spectrum, such as the various sastras, the Kosa, Sara, Avatara, as well as the *Satyasiddhi and *Catursatyani sastras; not to mention the PP Upadesa.

~~ Huifeng



This still means that Sarvastivada is the gold standard for Mahāyāna authors. The Mahāvibhaṣa was the dominant abhidharma text in India for centuries. The only reason Vasubandhu's Kośa became so famous is that he did such and excellent job of summarizing it's many details in a short form.

There was an attempt by Tibetans to translate the Mahāvibhaṣa, but according to tradition, only Bagor Vairocana was capable of finishing his section. This translation supposedly still existed as of early twentieth century.

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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Will » Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:12 pm

Jaidyn wrote:Simply: What books are in the serious Mahayana-students (lay or not) bookshelf?

I have a sense that Mahayana has much to offer that I have missed.

Kind regards!


There are many sutras inspired by Buddha; some of the influential ones are the Lotus, Avatamsaka, Prajnaparamita, & Vimalakirti. Pray that you will find one that appeals to you and study & recite it. http://www.fodian.net/world/
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: What are some "must have" books?

Postby Jnana » Sat Oct 01, 2011 1:00 am

Namdrol wrote:Paṭisambhidāmagga is definitely post-Prajñāpāramita and likely post-Nāgārjuna.

Yes, post earliest strata of Prajñāpāramita. Likely informed by both.

All the best,

Geoff
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