Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

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Desafinado
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Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Desafinado »

This may not be the best place to post this question, as it's not strictly about East Asian Buddhism, but I didn't see any general forums. The question is this:

- Has anyone seen, online or otherwise, a genealogy of Buddhist scripture and writing that's known to exist? Also, if possible, a genealogy of lineages.

I'm interested in seeing something like a family tree of Buddhist lineages / scripture, although I know that those two things won't necessarily have a one to one relationship. Reason being is that I'm beginning to read scripture, and I'm curious to see the evolution of Buddhism in the form of a graphic, or maybe textual description.

Does anyone know of anything like this out there? If there is a book available that would be helpful too.

Thanks in advance!
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Ayu
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Ayu »

(I believe, your question is scientific - you're looking for an overview.
Therefore I moved your topic here into the Academic Discussion subforum. I suppose it fits here best.)


I once saw such an overview online. It was not regarding scriptures but teachers. It showed, how e. g. many different lineages have their origin in Nagarjuna.

But sorry, I cannot find that board anymore.
tingdzin
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by tingdzin »

There can never be a full genealogy of Buddhist scriptures. To mention of few of the problems: there are many different versions of some sutras, and there was clearly nothing like a linear progression into the forms now accepted as standard. Early scriptures were translated (or not, in the case of Pali) from a variety of Prakrit languages, and study of some of them exhibit close relationships, like the Pali scriptures and the Chinese Agama literature, without providing much which of these came first or whether they just had some sort of common source that may have been different from either. Many early Mahayana sutras during the early period of translation into Chinese were carried down orally and more or less translated by committees, and later translations clearly reflect different versions of the sutra, and there is no way of knowing the historical relationship between the two versions. These are just a few of the problems among many that make a genealogy impossible.

As far as teaching lineages, a lot of these are of little value to the historical investigator (though significant in indicating how a modern tradition regards itself). Since Nagarjuna was such an important figure after his lifetime (he was not celebrated with open arms by many of his contemporaries) it became almost necessary to include him in teaching lineages when these things started getting important as legitimizing tools.
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Ayu
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Ayu »

I looked on the website where I read that overview on lineages years ago, and it's unfindable for me.

Here on studybuddhism.com I found an overview about only Nagarjuna's works. Quote:
(...)
Among the many texts on sutra topics that Nagarjuna wrote are his Collections of Reasoning (Rigs-pa’i tshogs), Collections of Praises (bsTod-pa’i tshogs), and Collections of Didactic Explanations (gTam-pa’i tshogs).

The Six Collected Works on Reasoning (Rigs-tshogs drug) are:

Root Verses on the Middle Way, Called “Discriminating Awareness” (dBu-ma rtsa-ba shes-rab, Skt. Prajñā-nāma-mūlamadhyamaka-kārikā)
Precious Garland (Rin-chen ’phreng-ba, Skt. Ratnāvalī)
Refutation of Objections (rTsod-pa zlog-pa, Skt. Vigrahavyavarti)
Seventy Verses on Voidness (sTong-nyid bdun-bcu-pa, Skt. Śūnyatāsaptati)
Sutra Called “Finely Woven” (Zhib-mo rnam-’thag zhes-bya-ba’i mdo, Skt. Vaidalya-sūtra-nāma)
Sixty Verses of Reasoning (Rigs-pa drug-cu-pa, Skt. Yuktiṣaṣṭīkā).

As an autocommentary to the first of these, Nagarjuna wrote:

Commentary on “Root (Verses on) Madhyamaka,” (Called) Without Fear of Anything, (dBu-ma rtsa-ba’i ’grel-pa ga-las ’jigs-med, Skt. Mūlamadhyamakavṛtti-akutobhayā).

Included among his Collected Works of Praise are:

Praise to the Sphere of Reality (Chos-dbyings bstod-pa, Skt. Dharmadhātu-stava)
Praise to the Deepest Truth (Don-dam-par bstod-pa, Skt. Paramārtha-stava)
Praise to the Supramundane (Buddha) (’Jig-rten-las ’das-par bstod-pa, Skt. Lokātīta-stava).

Included among Nagarjuna’s Collected Works of Didactic Explanations are:

A Commentary on (the Two) Bodhichittas (Byang-chub sems-kyi ’grel-ba, Skt. Bodhicittavivaraṇa)
Anthology of Sutras (mDo kun-las btus-pa, Skt. Sūtrasamuccaya)
Letter to a Friend (bShes-pa’i spring-yig, Skt. Suhṛllekha).

Also attributed to Nagarjuna are several commentaries to The Guhyasamaja Tantra, including:

Abbreviated Means for Actualization (sGrub-thabs mdor-byas, Skt. Piṇḍīkṛta-sādhana)
Method for Meditating on the Generation Stage of the Mahayoga Tantra Guhyasamaja Mixed with Its Textual (Sources) (rNal-’byor chen-po’i rgyud dpal gsang-ba ’dus-pa’i bskyed-pa’i rim-pa’i bsgom-pa’i thabs mdo-dang bsres-pa, Mdo-bsres, Skt. Śrī-guhyasamāja-mahā­yoga­tantra-utpattikrama-sādhana-sūtra-melāpaka)
The Five Stage (Complete Stage) (Rim-pa lnga-pa, Skt. Pañcakrama).

Nagarjuna’s most famous disciple was Aryadeva (’Phags-pa lha), author of Four Hundred Verse Treatise on the Actions of a Bodhisattva’s Yoga (Byang-chub sems-dpa’i rnal-’byor spyod-pa bzhi-brgya-pa’i bstan-bcos kyi tshig-le’ur byas-pa, Skt. Bodhisattvayogacārya-catuḥśatakaśāstra-kārikā) and several commentaries on The Guhyasamaja Tantra.
I assume, if we had an overview over lineages, teachers and their complete works, it would be a booklet of quite huge volume. And it's still growing, because every modern teacher as well publishes comments on the old scriptures.
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Linguistic Mystic
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Linguistic Mystic »

This is one of the main topics of Tibetan chos 'byung or Dharma history texts. You might read Buton's "History of Buddhism in India and Its Spread to Tibet" (https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/book ... ng-zangpo/).
Desafinado
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Desafinado »

Thanks all for the replies, very helpful. It looks like I'll need to piece together some of the history myself.

So far I've seen enough - Pali, early Mahayana, and Zen, that I've got a general sense of at least the Zen lineage, tracing back to the Buddha. So from that perspective you can see a progression of doctrine.

It sounds like I'm out of luck for any kind of family tree, but if anyone has further resources they can share about scripture I'm definitely open to that.
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Zhen Li
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Zhen Li »

I believe the scholarship is out there for someone to piece together a good genealogy. While I think Yinshun's work on this topic is some of the best, it is only available in Chinese for now. In terms of English language studies of Buddhist history, you can find decent explanations on potential avenues of development if you look at Lamotte's History of Indian Buddhism or similar works.

I have a few working theories on the development of at least the āgamas and prajñāparamitā literature, but to piece together all of the Mahāyāna scriptures and their genealogical relationships would require a lot of footwork. But there are some clues we can gather based on intertextual references. Here's one example: the Laṅkāvatāra references the Tathāgataguhya and appears to have knowledge of the Nirvāṇa Sūtra, and the Gaṇavyūha references the Śrīmaladevī and the Laṅkāvatāra. So, we can at least map out some genealogies based on what text shows knowledge of which other text. Some texts, like the Aṣṭasahasrikā, seem to mainly refer to the āgamas, and thus is probably more primary. The Nirvāṇa Sūtra, too, seems to be a development from some āgama-related prototypes, as Shimoda has shown.

To fully create a genealogy is already possible, but it would take time, and a work that is well cited and argued, along the lines of an updated version Lamotte's History, which goes into the Mahāyāna a bit more.

While not entirely unrelated, a genealogy of lineages is a different matter. However, a proper history would spell out which texts appear to belong to which lineage. For example, the Lalitavistara is supposed to be a Mahāsaṅghika text, whereas the Prajñāpāramitā supposedly developed first among Dharmaguptakas. However, it seems either lineage accepted the texts of other lineages—so these are not "sectarian" texts, as far as we can see, except for sects that actively exclude other scriptrues like the Theravāda.

So, I think more than an infographic of any kind, you are really looking more for a thorough history of Buddhism.
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Queequeg
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Re: Looking for a genealogy of scripture / lineages

Post by Queequeg »

I suspect machine learning will be able to do for the Buddhist canon what 23andme and other genetic tests have done for mapping human evolution/migrations. It will also be interesting to see the non-Buddhist influences. We might get some surprises.
There is no suffering to be severed. Ignorance and klesas are indivisible from bodhi. There is no cause of suffering to be abandoned. Since extremes and the false are the Middle and genuine, there is no path to be practiced. Samsara is nirvana. No severance achieved. No suffering nor its cause. No path, no end. There is no transcendent realm; there is only the one true aspect. There is nothing separate from the true aspect.
-Guanding, Perfect and Sudden Contemplation,
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