Age of Mahayana Schools

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Aryjna
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Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Aryjna »

[Mod note: This topic has been split from here: viewtopic.php?f=39&t=34144 ]

akuppa wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 9:33 am I have a background in Theravada, and I'm trying to understand Madhyamaka philosophy. As I understand it, according to Madhyamaka all phenomena are empty of inherent existance (svabhava) meaning they exist only nominally, or dependently. This applies to the Self, Brahman as well as aggregates like consciousness or perception, arising and ceasing - the whole lot. My problem is that it seems from a Madhyamaka point of view belief that a Self exists is equally wrong as belief that the consciousness aggregate arises and ceases based on causes and conditions (the dhamma theory). So the early Buddhist schools are just as misguided as non-Buddhists?
This is not exactly on topic, but one of my pet peeves:
As has been discussed several times, the Pali sources and the schools associated with them, have not been established to be earlier than Mahayana schools and non-Pali sources. If anything, the oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts. This idea is simply a residue of 19th century terrible 'academic' works, which have been the source of many similar misconceptions in other fields, including moronic theories on Indoeuropean races and languages, the origin of the Finnish language, and many more.

Other than that, Pali texts are not discarded as wrong by any Mahayana school as far as I know.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amAs has been discussed several times, the Pali sources and the schools associated with them, have not been established to be earlier than Mahayana schools and non-Pali sources. If anything, the oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
Mahayana relies on for instance ideas present in abhidharmika texts, and the abhidharmas necessarily succeed the agamas/nikayas. That is regardless of what specific text has the oldest manuscript.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Are all phenomena equally empty in Madhyamaka?

Post by Aryjna »

Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:46 pm
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amAs has been discussed several times, the Pali sources and the schools associated with them, have not been established to be earlier than Mahayana schools and non-Pali sources. If anything, the oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
Mahayana relies on for instance ideas present in abhidharmika texts, and the abhidharmas necessarily succeed the agamas/nikayas. That is regardless of what specific text has the oldest manuscript.
Is there concrete evidence that conclusively proves this succession? It would be interesting to read a good book or paper on the subject, if it exists.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:14 pmIs there concrete evidence that conclusively proves this succession?
The agamas/nikayas do not contain the various abhidharma ideas. In the abhidharmas there is a distinction between sutra and abhidharma teachings. Mahayana sutras talk of dharmas as the ultimate constituents of reality (and how they are empty), and that is a theory not explicit even in the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself but only in the commentaries.
Here is an essay on the matter: Abhidharma in Early Mahayana.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Aryjna »

Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:43 pm
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:14 pmIs there concrete evidence that conclusively proves this succession?
The agamas/nikayas do not contain the various abhidharma ideas. In the abhidharmas there is a distinction between sutra and abhidharma teachings. Mahayana sutras talk of dharmas as the ultimate constituents of reality (and how they are empty), and that is a theory not explicit even in the Abhidhamma Pitaka itself but only in the commentaries.
Here is an essay on the matter: Abhidharma in Early Mahayana.
Thanks. I read it quickly. I may read it more carefully later, though I am not really crazy about reading academic papers nowadays. Apparently the 'rhetoric' of later Mahayana sutras and Madhyamaka, in regards to emptiness is not found in early texts. That does not oppose the early existence of the actual Mahayana though, as is also specifically mentioned in the article. However, the OP was talking specifically about Madhyamaka, not Mahayana in general, so my first post was a bit out of place.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amthe oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
This doesn't seem to be the case, at least not according to Richard Salomon, a leading scholar in the field of Gandhari manuscripts. In his The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra he concludes:
The earliest Buddhist texts in Gāndhārī can now be securely dated to the first century BCE, or possibly even earlier, while most of the others date from the first and second centuries CE... The [Mahāyāna] Gāndhārī scroll has been subjected to radiocarbon testing, which indicated a probable range of dates between 47 and 147 CE. This falls well within the range that has been generally suggested for the earliest Mahāyāna texts, namely in or around the first century CE... the discovery of [Gāndhārī] manuscripts of several Mahāyāna texts, some dating back to the second or possibly even the first century of the Common Era, supports the previous consensus that Mahāyāna ideas and texts arose at about this period.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Aryjna »

sitzen wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 8:42 am
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amthe oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
This doesn't seem to be the case, at least not according to Richard Salomon, a leading scholar in the field of Gandhari manuscripts. In his The Buddhist Literature of Ancient Gandhāra he concludes:
The earliest Buddhist texts in Gāndhārī can now be securely dated to the first century BCE, or possibly even earlier, while most of the others date from the first and second centuries CE... The [Mahāyāna] Gāndhārī scroll has been subjected to radiocarbon testing, which indicated a probable range of dates between 47 and 147 CE. This falls well within the range that has been generally suggested for the earliest Mahāyāna texts, namely in or around the first century CE... the discovery of [Gāndhārī] manuscripts of several Mahāyāna texts, some dating back to the second or possibly even the first century of the Common Era, supports the previous consensus that Mahāyāna ideas and texts arose at about this period.
This quote only talks about the dates of these Mahayana texts. I don't see it being compared to the dates of other possibly earlier manuscripts. Not that it matters, as physical manuscript dates are of little importance, as Astus mentioned.
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Re: Are all phenomena equally empty in Madhyamaka?

Post by Caoimhghín »

Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:14 pm
Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:46 pm
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amAs has been discussed several times, the Pali sources and the schools associated with them, have not been established to be earlier than Mahayana schools and non-Pali sources. If anything, the oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
Mahayana relies on for instance ideas present in abhidharmika texts, and the abhidharmas necessarily succeed the agamas/nikayas. That is regardless of what specific text has the oldest manuscript.
Is there concrete evidence that conclusively proves this succession? It would be interesting to read a good book or paper on the subject, if it exists.
The "Abhidharma" is a bunch of texts from different schools all written by members of the saṁgha. Only the Theravādins AFAIK claim the Buddha taught their Abhidhamma in the heavens. The sūtras are Buddhavacana in a more direct way.
savi saghara aṇica di, savi saghara dukha di, savi dhama aṇatva di:
yada paśadi cakhkṣuma tada nivinadi dukha eṣo mago viśodhia.

"All formations are inconstant," he said.
"All formations are stressful," he said.
"All phenomena are selfless," he said.
When one sees this, one becomes adverse to stress, and this is the path of purity.

(Gāndhārī Dharmapada fragments)
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Re: Are all phenomena equally empty in Madhyamaka?

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Caoimhghín wrote: Mon Jul 06, 2020 10:44 am
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 4:14 pm
Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:46 pm

Mahayana relies on for instance ideas present in abhidharmika texts, and the abhidharmas necessarily succeed the agamas/nikayas. That is regardless of what specific text has the oldest manuscript.
Is there concrete evidence that conclusively proves this succession? It would be interesting to read a good book or paper on the subject, if it exists.
The "Abhidharma" is a bunch of texts from different schools all written by members of the saṁgha. Only the Theravādins AFAIK claim the Buddha taught their Abhidhamma in the heavens. The sūtras are Buddhavacana in a more direct way.
Sankashya is and was a major place of pilgrimage for all schools of Buddhism for more than a thousand years. It is the place where Shakyamuni descended from the Tushita heaven after teaching Abhidharma (or something else) for his mother. See viewtopic.php?f=102&t=32943
The issue is thus a bit more complicated, as usual.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 5:43 pm The agamas/nikayas do not contain the various abhidharma ideas.
This is one of the ways we can tell if a text is later, if it has abhidharma like lists in it.

Alot of mahayana, like yogacara partially came about as a response to abhidharma. You can even see this in the tibetan presentation of their 4 tenets.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Malcolm »

Mahayana arose at the same time as Hinayana.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:16 pmMahayana arose at the same time as Hinayana.
That is a bit ambiguous. For instance, the term hinayana is used by mahayana in order to distinguish itself, and since these terms depend on each other, like low and high, they cannot exist separately.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Ayu »

My Tibetan teacher, a Geshe, says the same: the Buddha taught Sutra and then Tantra as well. Tantra is not a teaching that was 'invented' in later centuries.
For the benefit and ease of all sentient beings. :heart:
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:29 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:16 pmMahayana arose at the same time as Hinayana.
That is a bit ambiguous. For instance, the term hinayana is used by mahayana in order to distinguish itself, and since these terms depend on each other, like low and high, they cannot exist separately.
Correct, hence, they arose at the same time.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:31 pm
Astus wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:29 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:16 pmMahayana arose at the same time as Hinayana.
That is a bit ambiguous. For instance, the term hinayana is used by mahayana in order to distinguish itself, and since these terms depend on each other, like low and high, they cannot exist separately.
Correct, hence, they arose at the same time.
So like i thought the Buddha taught out loud stuff we termed theradavia .
then the Mahayana was instructed to various people through the means of Dharmakaya stuff.

so are you just talking semantics here. like there is negative because there is positive.

A lot of the Tantra and various meditations are termed Buddhist but they came from a Teacher , who all claim that it is like a dharmakaya thing??

am i clear in my statement?...i'm not saying i'm right ..but i bet a few others think the same from what we have learned over our lifetimes.


back on Esangha you made a statement that went something like this. "so many hindu teachings add on that they are from Krisna in order to validate the teaching "

this has always stuck with me...but the words are not exactly correct quote.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Malcolm »

Minobu wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:14 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:31 pm
Astus wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 12:29 pm

That is a bit ambiguous. For instance, the term hinayana is used by mahayana in order to distinguish itself, and since these terms depend on each other, like low and high, they cannot exist separately.
Correct, hence, they arose at the same time.
So like i thought the Buddha taught out loud stuff we termed theradavia .
then the Mahayana was instructed to various people through the means of Dharmakaya stuff.
No, that is not what I mean. According to Mahāyāna tradition, the Mahāyāna Sūtra were collected by Mañjuśṛī and Samantabhadra. Ānanda's secret identity is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.

Mahāyāna teachings arose at the same time as Hinayāna teachings, but because no one could understand them, they were cached away. This is the traditional point of view.

Of course, if people wish to believe whatever text critical scholars are saying today (and that will change tomorrow), they are welcome to it.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

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Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:46 pm
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amAs has been discussed several times, the Pali sources and the schools associated with them, have not been established to be earlier than Mahayana schools and non-Pali sources. If anything, the oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
Mahayana relies on for instance ideas present in abhidharmika texts, and the abhidharmas necessarily succeed the agamas/nikayas. That is regardless of what specific text has the oldest manuscript.
This assumes that (all) the nikayas/agamas are the earliest Dharma texts.

Is there any historical evidence for this?
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Fortyeightvows »

Grigoris wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:18 pm
Astus wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:46 pm
Aryjna wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 10:57 amAs has been discussed several times, the Pali sources and the schools associated with them, have not been established to be earlier than Mahayana schools and non-Pali sources. If anything, the oldest existing texts apparently are Gandharan Mahayana texts.
Mahayana relies on for instance ideas present in abhidharmika texts, and the abhidharmas necessarily succeed the agamas/nikayas. That is regardless of what specific text has the oldest manuscript.
This assumes that (all) the nikayas/agamas are the earliest Dharma texts.

Is there any historical evidence for this?
So first thing is that some of the Agamas and Nikayas are older than others. The quick example is the ones that are asoka themed.

Another thing to note is that there are texts that have early content, but later organization. Quick example -DN 22 is a combination of MN 10 & MN 141.
This is worth keeping in mind.

Most buddhist traditions themselves hold that abhdihamra came later. (Upali recited vinaya, Ananda recited sutta, who recited abdhidrahma ?)

By looking at a text that show influences of abhidharmic content, thats one thing that suggests lateness. (Generally, tradition holds that the sutras were recited from memory- long exhaustive lists don't lend them selves to memorization)

Another good way to figure out the lateness of a text is to see if the same texts appears in the canons of the different schools.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Minobu »

Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:01 pm
Minobu wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:14 pm
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 5:31 pm

Correct, hence, they arose at the same time.
So like i thought the Buddha taught out loud stuff we termed theradavia .
then the Mahayana was instructed to various people through the means of Dharmakaya stuff.
No, that is not what I mean. According to Mahāyāna tradition, the Mahāyāna Sūtra were collected by Mañjuśṛī and Samantabhadra. Ānanda's secret identity is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.

Mahāyāna teachings arose at the same time as Hinayāna teachings, but because no one could understand them, they were cached away. This is the traditional point of view.

Of course, if people wish to believe whatever text critical scholars are saying today (and that will change tomorrow), they are welcome to it.

ok but when you say this
No, that is not what I mean. According to Mahāyāna tradition, the Mahāyāna Sūtra were collected by Mañjuśṛī and Samantabhadra. Ānanda's secret identity is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.
Are these not Dharmakaya mythology characters?



or do you have archaeological or what ever stuff like records that these people wandered around our earth..like 2500 years ago?
Which is where I was at in these quotes.
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Re: Age of Mahayana Schools

Post by Malcolm »

Minobu wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 12:15 am
Malcolm wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 10:01 pm
Minobu wrote: Tue Jul 07, 2020 6:14 pm
So like i thought the Buddha taught out loud stuff we termed theradavia .
then the Mahayana was instructed to various people through the means of Dharmakaya stuff.
No, that is not what I mean. According to Mahāyāna tradition, the Mahāyāna Sūtra were collected by Mañjuśṛī and Samantabhadra. Ānanda's secret identity is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.

Mahāyāna teachings arose at the same time as Hinayāna teachings, but because no one could understand them, they were cached away. This is the traditional point of view.

Of course, if people wish to believe whatever text critical scholars are saying today (and that will change tomorrow), they are welcome to it.

ok but when you say this
No, that is not what I mean. According to Mahāyāna tradition, the Mahāyāna Sūtra were collected by Mañjuśṛī and Samantabhadra. Ānanda's secret identity is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.
Are these not Dharmakaya mythology characters?



or do you have archaeological or what ever stuff like records that these people wandered around our earth..like 2500 years ago?
Which is where I was at in these quotes.
We don’t even have actual evidence that the Buddha is a historical person.
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