Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Discuss and learn about the traditional scriptures.

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Indrajala » Wed Apr 21, 2010 3:59 pm

Aemilius wrote: Honestly, I don't understand how you can have people like Vasubandhu, Nagarjuna, Tsongkhapa etc... , who have attained very high realization and are intimate with the Transcendental reality, who have attained the heavenly eye, the dharma eye , and so on ... and who have attained the 5 or 6 supernormal Powers, who know directly the three times as the palm of their hand, who have relied on the Mahayana sutras, have commented on them, have taught them, praised them and venerated them highly. If You believe they were enlightened , and at the same time you believe these scholars are NOT equipped with transcendental vision and realization, then WHY do you trust their analysis of mere words, when you at the same time have people with true realization, people who know intimately the true reality ??? Perhaps you think that transcendental reality does not exist at all ???
This really amazes me !!!


There isn't anything wrong with employing epigraphical methods to ascertain general dates of texts as well as establishing certain lines of development that occurred over time. Secular scholars with no attainments can do this and do it rather well. We should utilize their findings but also remain critically minded of them of course. These things are always subject to change.

There is no evidence to suggest the flesh and blood Gautama taught any of the Mahayana sutras while he walked the earth.

However, from a practitioner's point of view this isn't necessarily an issue and an honest Buddhist scholar shouldn't have any problems with it either. There are various ways of looking at.

- The Buddha taught the Mahayana to Bodhisattvas and not the Sravaka. The former were not necessarily flesh and blood people sitting on Massed Vulture's Peak. Buddhist cosmology easily allows for this. In fact this is an argument that early Mahayana thinkers, or at least Vasubandhu, employed when opponents said the Mahayana sutras were not heard and recorded by the disciples.

- The Mahayana sutras arouse over time according to the needs and capacities of people. The Bodhisattva-yana becoming available only when people were generally ready for it.

- If disciples can preach sermons on behalf of the Buddha, why can't later disciples do the same? The vehicle of those teachings for much of Buddhist history has been scripture and literature.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:31 pm

"There is no evidence to suggest the flesh and blood Gautama taught any of the Mahayana sutras while he walked the earth."

That amounts to saying that Nagarjuna, Tsongkhapa, Han Shan and a legion of other masters in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea etc... were not enlightened.

But because they were enlightened and were endowed with transcendental vision Buddha Shakyamuni did in fact teach the mahayana Sutras.

There is transcendental evidence, the evidence of enlightenment.

Material world is no true, only Nirvana is true, ( this is according to Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti what Shakyamuni has said ( Reason Sixty & commentary)). Your mistake and the mistake of scholars is taking samsara to be real and trustworthy !!!
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Indrajala » Thu Apr 22, 2010 1:37 pm

Aemilius wrote:"There is no evidence to suggest the flesh and blood Gautama taught any of the Mahayana sutras while he walked the earth."

That amounts to saying that Nagarjuna, Tsongkhapa, Han Shan and a legion of other masters in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea etc... were not enlightened.

But because they were enlightened and were endowed with transcendental vision Buddha Shakyamuni did in fact teach the mahayana Sutras.

There is transcendental evidence, the evidence of enlightenment.

Material world is no true, only Nirvana is true, ( this is according to Nagarjuna and Chandrakirti what Shakyamuni has said ( Reason Sixty & commentary)). Your mistake and the mistake of scholars is taking samsara to be real and trustworthy !!!


You know both the conventional truth and the ultimate truth are true.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Fri Apr 23, 2010 7:19 am

"- The Buddha taught the Mahayana to Bodhisattvas and not the Sravaka. The former were not necessarily flesh and blood people sitting on Massed Vulture's Peak. Buddhist cosmology easily allows for this. In fact this is an argument that early Mahayana thinkers, or at least Vasubandhu, employed when opponents said the Mahayana sutras were not heard and recorded by the disciples."

I think this is misquoting Vasubandhu. There is a work of Vasubandhu named Vyakhyayukti that deals with the origin of the Buddhist Canon. It has not been translated to european languages, I don't know what he says there.
In Anacker's Seven Works of Vasubandhu there isn't anything to that effect.

I think that the sravakayana is a consequence of Indian politics. History is written by the winner. Think what the history of Europe would look like if Soviet Union had conquered it during the II WW??!! -or if the Nazis had won the war??!! Think really hard !!
I think this is the kind of reason that made the partial truth of Sravakayana become prominent in India, and why the real and complete truth of the Mahayana almost disappeared.
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 23, 2010 12:25 pm

Aemilius wrote:"- The Buddha taught the Mahayana to Bodhisattvas and not the Sravaka. The former were not necessarily flesh and blood people sitting on Massed Vulture's Peak. Buddhist cosmology easily allows for this. In fact this is an argument that early Mahayana thinkers, or at least Vasubandhu, employed when opponents said the Mahayana sutras were not heard and recorded by the disciples."

I think this is misquoting Vasubandhu. There is a work of Vasubandhu named Vyakhyayukti that deals with the origin of the Buddhist Canon. It has not been translated to european languages, I don't know what he says there.
In Anacker's Seven Works of Vasubandhu there isn't anything to that effect.


I was not quoting Vasubandhu.

I'm aware of some of Vasubandhu's ideas of where the Mahayana canon came from and I don't necessarily disagree with him. However, we need to be honest about how and when certain texts came to exist on paper in the physical world. If we do not honestly address this with scholarly precision then we will lose stable ground when attempting to teach the Dharma to, or debate with, those armed with critical knowledge of Buddhist epigraphy. If we Buddhists do not conduct ourselves in a way that generally satisfies the demands of the present day intelligentsia, then we shall not thrive. This has always been the case. Whether it be accurately dating texts or debating with materialists, we must be armed with critical thinking and both secular and spiritual knowledges.

I think that the sravakayana is a consequence of Indian politics. History is written by the winner. Think what the history of Europe would look like if Soviet Union had conquered it during the II WW??!! -or if the Nazis had won the war??!! Think really hard !!
I think this is the kind of reason that made the partial truth of Sravakayana become prominent in India, and why the real and complete truth of the Mahayana almost disappeared.


Why do you think the Sravaka-yana was prominent in India? Are you aware of how the Mahayana thrived for many centuries in India? Why do you propose that Sravaka-yana was "the winner"?

When Faxian visited India and Sri Lanka in the early 5th century he recorded that both Sravaka and Bodhisattva groups co-existed peacefully in the same monasteries. Some kingdoms were strictly Sravaka-yana, but this was not universal. The Mahayana outnumbered the Sravaka in many places as well including Sri Lanka which as I am sure you are aware of now is entirely Theravada. Throughout many centuries Mahayana thrived and Buddhism spread into neighbouring regions as far as Parthia (Persia) in the west. As time went on the Mahayana groups developed, evolved and eventually the Tantra masters like Padmasambhava and Atisha appeared and went into Tibet. In other words, Mahayana thrived and probably overshadowed the Sravaka-yana groups on the Indian subcontinent.

It was the Muslim invasions that finally crushed the last major Buddhist institutions in India. It was not Sravakayana. I do not know where you got that idea from.

In Sri Lanka and SE Asia, indeed the Sravaka-yana became dominant and the Mahayana eventually wiped away, but India was a completely different story.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:29 pm

[ If we Buddhists do not conduct ourselves in a way that generally satisfies the demands of the present day intelligentsia, then we shall not thrive. This has always been the case. [quote]

Are you referring to the Six Heterodox Teachers of ancient India, when you say that ??

In China there was Taoism and Confucianism that buddhism encountered as is well known. What there was in Korea, Japan, Mongolia etc at the time of buddhism's arrival is not well known. Besides Persia (Parthia) I think it is quite certain that Buddhism had a substantial contact with greek culture and greek philosophy.
At one time Greece had a common border with India, they were neighbouring countries for a while, when Greece was at its largest. Thus greek intellectuals did factually encounter buddhism, but it became politically incorrect to admit it, the existence of buddhism was altogether denied.
I think Fig-tree is a symbol that represents Buddhism in occidental culture, ( Fig tree refers to Ficus Religiosa which is Bodhitree and belongs to Ficus family of trees), Fig-tree appears even in Koran in this role!!

best wishes !
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Mon Apr 26, 2010 1:51 pm

"Why do you think the Sravaka-yana was prominent in India? Are you aware of how the Mahayana thrived for many centuries in India? Why do you propose that Sravaka-yana was "the winner"?"

I think that Buddha Shakyamuni did in reality teach the Three different Dharmachakras, Turnings of the Wheel of the Law. Its effect on world history was more profound than the Second World War. I think it is evident that there were numerous different political parties that gave their own interpretations of what had actually happened. This started already during the Tathagata's life time. There were numerous different oral lineages, you must not forget this !!
Why is the date of writing down the sutras so important ?? I don't think it is at all important .
You can find traces of nationalistic and patriotic propaganda in the exiting sutras and suttas. For example, I feel that the list of Tathagata Shakyamuni's rainy season retreat places stinks!! I don't know exactly why,but I think it is impossible. It is far too narrow in scope. I think that Tathagata Shakyamuni visited even countries outside Indian subcontinent!
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Indrajala » Mon Apr 26, 2010 8:14 pm

Aemilius wrote: I think that Buddha Shakyamuni did in reality teach the Three different Dharmachakras, Turnings of the Wheel of the Law.


Okay, but there is no evidence to support this other than your opinion?

Why is the date of writing down the sutras so important ?? I don't think it is at all important .


The dates are important so we can chronologically date their development for comparative and analytical purposes.

It is far too narrow in scope. I think that Tathagata Shakyamuni visited even countries outside Indian subcontinent!


If you could prove this you would become world famous.

However, you probably cannot.

I don't know if you're seriously making such arguments or you're just being a troll at this point.
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:59 am

Greetings Huseng,

Huseng wrote:I don't know if you're seriously making such arguments or you're just being a troll at this point.


I see nothing in Aemilius' statement to indicate troll-like behaviour. Please try to address the arguments in question without resorting to ad-hominem argumentation.

Thanks.

Metta,
Retro. :)
Live in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kindly eyes

Dhamma Wheel (Theravada forum) * Here Comes Trouble
User avatar
retrofuturist
Founding Member
 
Posts: 1261
Joined: Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:54 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Anders » Tue Apr 27, 2010 10:27 am

Aemilius wrote: That amounts to saying that Nagarjuna, Tsongkhapa, Han Shan and a legion of other masters in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea etc... were not enlightened.


Surely it amounts only to saying that they are not omniscient Buddhas.

Last time I checked, realisation of emptiness did not come automatically with the divine and buddha eye.
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra
User avatar
Anders
 
Posts: 728
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:32 pm

I think that Buddha Shakyamuni did in reality teach the Three different Dharmachakras, Turnings of the Wheel of the Law.

"Okay, but there is no evidence to support this other than your opinion?"


There is.
because Dharma is words and meaning,
Dharma is a means to enlightenment,
then because there has been thousands, hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of people, who have relied on mahayana sutras of the three turnings and have attained enlightenment thereby, this is the proof that the Three Turnings of the Wheel Of Dharma are genuine and authentic teaching of Buddha Shakyamuni.

There is also scriptural evidence, if you insist on that, but it is an unpleasant topic:
I think that the Diamond sutra has existed from the beginning period of BuddhaSangha, then its idea that Shakyamuni can not be seen through his form body was copied into the Pali Scriptures.
Then again at one period Shakyamuni taught the Amitabha Sutras several times,
during the centuries some of its ideas were copied into the Pali Scriptures as the Suddhavasa (the PureAbodes). And so on... The very idea of three turnings also found its way into the Pali suttas, the dhammacakka parivattana sutta.



Why is the date of writing down the sutras so important ?? I don't think it is at all important .


"The dates are important so we can chronologically date their development for comparative and analytical purposes."



Is that a means to enlightenment ? Or do you just get paid for it ? If not I think it is useless.


It is far too narrow in scope. I think that Tathagata Shakyamuni visited even countries outside Indian subcontinent!
[/quote]

"If you could prove this you would become world famous.

However, you probably cannot."


Venerable Shravasti Dhammika has found from Pali Scriptures a passage where the Bhagavan describes his travels in far away and unknown countries.
The Lankavatra Sutra is spoken outside India, and possibly also the Avatamsaka sutra, I don't know the grounds for this claim, the idea exists in some tradition.
I think that the character of Buddha Shakyamuni makes it impossible that he would have stayed more or less in the same place all His rainy season retreats.


Finally, there is no independent material world studying which you could find a true history, do you see ?
Last edited by Aemilius on Wed Apr 28, 2010 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Indrajala » Tue Apr 27, 2010 2:35 pm

There was also a "sutra" composed in China by Daoists entitled Laozi Teaches the Barbarians 老子化胡經 which claims it was Laozi who went to India to teach the barbarians over there a simplified version of Daoism.

What evidence do you think there is for Laozi actually having to gone to India?
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
 
Posts: 5914
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Nepal

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:42 am

Huseng wrote:There was also a "sutra" composed in China by Daoists entitled Laozi Teaches the Barbarians 老子化胡經 which claims it was Laozi who went to India to teach the barbarians over there a simplified version of Daoism.

What evidence do you think there is for Laozi actually having to gone to India?


The evidence, the evidence! I think it is possible that Latzu or someone else from China went there during the early phase of BuddhaSasana. It was a period in history that attracted like a pot of honey people from all over the World to India. Kerala State had an official web page containing most interesing historic information, namely: there has been substantial immigration to India in ancient times, from that there remains minority populations in Kerala and the origin of these minorities are : Australia, Africa ( two different types) and Europe ( what they call Mediterranean type)!! Now the thing is that after having read this, about 4 or 5 years ago, some unknown agency has decided to make it disappear, and it has been replaced with a "new history" !! When you see these kind of things happen you start to think that maybe there is something in what David Icke and George Orwell say. There is no evidence that can't be destroyed or changed. And thus our common reality is also changed and altered.
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Historicity of Mahayana Sutras -- Does it matter?

Postby Aemilius » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:51 pm

Anders Honore wrote:
Aemilius wrote: That amounts to saying that Nagarjuna, Tsongkhapa, Han Shan and a legion of other masters in Tibet, China, Japan, Korea etc... were not enlightened.


Surely it amounts only to saying that they are not omniscient Buddhas.

Last time I checked, realisation of emptiness did not come automatically with the divine and buddha eye.


There are three doors to liberation: emptiness, singlessness, and wishlessness.
There are five eyes: flesh eye, divine eye, dharma eye, prajna eye and buddha eye. You attain the divine eye through mundane dhyana, the rest three are attained through liberation. Liberation is attained through one of the three doors to liberation.
The scope of these eyes is an other matter, it has been described in Nagarjuna's Prajnaparamita shastra for example.
svaha
User avatar
Aemilius
 
Posts: 1501
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Previous

Return to Sūtra Studies

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

>