where did the mahayana come from

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jcsuperstar
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by jcsuperstar » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:23 pm

the reason i asked the question here was/is i wanted the mahavihara answer, i know mahayana conspects came to sri lanka and had to be driven out, so i assumed they would have had to come up with a pretty good argument not only against these new trends but why they came to be..

i hae never really seen any modern institutional attacks on the mahayana
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the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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tiltbillings
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by tiltbillings » Fri Jan 16, 2009 11:37 pm

i know mahayana conspects came to sri lanka and had to be driven out, so i assumed they would have had to come up with a pretty good argument not only against these new trends but why they came to be..

I don't remember the details, but the period we are talking about the Mahayana was forcefully imposed and the forcefully deposed. It had more to do with politics of having something imposed upon a people than anything else.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Element » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:39 am

tiltbillings wrote: I don't remember the details, but the period we are talking about the Mahayana was forcefully imposed and the forcefully deposed. It had more to do with politics of having something imposed upon a people than anything else.
Indeed. The history of change, rise & fall of religions, sects, interpretations, etc, is strongly linked to secular politics.

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Ben
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Ben » Sat Jan 17, 2009 12:42 am

tiltbillings wrote:
i know mahayana conspects came to sri lanka and had to be driven out, so i assumed they would have had to come up with a pretty good argument not only against these new trends but why they came to be..

I don't remember the details, but the period we are talking about the Mahayana was forcefully imposed and the forcefully deposed. It had more to do with politics of having something imposed upon a people than anything else.
Hi Tilt

The introduction of Ven Nanamoli's translation of the Vissudhimagga mentions this period of Sinhalese history. For anyone who has a copy,it is well worth reading. However, the introduction concerns itself with the pali tradition within sri lanka and only briefly mentions the rise of sanskrit and mahayana on the mainland sub-continent.
Cheers

Ben
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Dhammanando » Sat Jan 17, 2009 1:54 am

Hi Manapa,
Manapa wrote:I remember reading about Maha-kassapa hearing about the Buddhas death! and one of his followers then suggesting a more lax attitude to the vinaya,
Yes, that's the incident that prompted Mahākassapa to convene the Council of Rājagaha. But the Council of Vesālī that I mentioned happened a century later. This was prompted by the monks of Vesālī adopting various corrupt practices and trying to gain acceptance for ten novelties that served to make the Vinaya laxer.
and another during the Buddhas life before the Buddha retreated to the forrest for some months and again imediately after! sorry I don't know the exact referances in the suttas but seams relevant as a back story to the discussion here?
That's the schism of Kosambī, prompted by two rather stiff-necked monks and their respective disciples.

Best wishes,
Dhammanando Bhikkhu
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

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fig tree
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by fig tree » Sat Jan 17, 2009 6:15 am

Dharmajim wrote: Historically I think what gave birth to this tradition is the placement of the paramitas at the center of practice and interpretation; this would necessarily replace such practice structures as the 37 limbs.
I've long been curious about the origin of the paramitas as a grouping. To me it seems anomalous for it to occupy a special place in the career of the Bodhisatta. Does it appear anywhere else that might hint at a separate origin? Is it explained anywhere why such a practice would be especially suitable for a bodhisatta?

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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Cittasanto » Sat Jan 17, 2009 9:50 am

fig tree wrote:
Dharmajim wrote: Historically I think what gave birth to this tradition is the placement of the paramitas at the center of practice and interpretation; this would necessarily replace such practice structures as the 37 limbs.
I've long been curious about the origin of the paramitas as a grouping. To me it seems anomalous for it to occupy a special place in the career of the Bodhisatta. Does it appear anywhere else that might hint at a separate origin? Is it explained anywhere why such a practice would be especially suitable for a bodhisatta?

Fig Tree
Hi Fig Tree

My Last retreat the Monk (Tahn Manpo) spoke about these in the talks!
they aren't actually a list found in the suttas but individually they are talked about in them, but my guess is that they are perfected by perfecting the 8-fold Path, not through any specific practice although some are tools to aid the practice or be mindful of the practice!

disclamer :- this is a mix between what was said and what I think on them which may not be 100% accurate to the actual topic :soap:
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by jcsuperstar » Sat Jan 17, 2009 10:20 am

from what i've gathered, the perfections were perfected over many many life times as a bottisatta, these stories are laid out in the jataka tales

the buddha chose to take a billion life times to do this, but since he did it theres no need for us to, though i guess you could if you wanted to. the difference i see here in mahayana and theravada is the mahayana take these vows as if they have some sort of control over their lives simple by vowing, i think think now of when i was a mahayana buddhist, i couldnt keep my marraige together how was i expected to keep an untold number of future lives together... :jawdrop:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat

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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Bankei » Mon Feb 09, 2009 4:54 am

One of the more recent theories on the origin of the Mahayana is that it was a 'back to basics' movement by forest monks who tried to move away from the up and coming Abhidhammist approach and back to the teachings of the Buddha. The laxness of vinaya was only a later characteristic.

Another theory by Hirakawa, is that the Mahayana arose out of lay communities that grew up around Stupas. I think this theory has been discredited my many scholars now.

Bankei
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Heavenstorm » Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:16 am

For a start, the development of Mahayana was never a single movement or one event thingy as portrayed by some in this thread. It was a group of reactionary movements that span over centuries. So, the causes for the rising of Mahayana are numerous although they carry a similar motivation.

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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Bankei » Mon Feb 09, 2009 10:49 pm

Yes, very good point Heavenstorm

I am recall now that Gregory Schopen has commented that there is a strange lack of Mahayana inscriptions in India until much later - maybe 400AD. Mahayana is supposed to have arisen around the 1st century and there are plenty of inscriptions from this time, but nothing 'mahayana' about them.
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:58 am

"... even after its initial appearance in the public domain in the 2nd century
[Mahayana] appears to have remained an extremely limited minority movement - if
it remained at all - that attracted absolutely no documented public or popular
support for at least two more centuries. It is again a demonstrable fact that
anything even approaching popular support for the Mahayana cannot be documented
until 4th/5th century AD, and even then the support is overwhelmingly monastic,
not lay, donors ... although there was - as we know from Chinese translations - a large
and early Mahayana literature there was no early, organized, independent,
publicly supported movement that it could have belonged to."

-- G. Schopen "The Inscription on the Ku.san image of Amitabha and the
character of the early Mahayana in India." JIABS 10, 2 pgs 12
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by srivijaya » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:23 pm

jcsuperstar wrote:where did the mahayana come from
whats "our side of the story"?
A question of two parts. The Mahayana arose in order to rectify the incorrect views of some schools, which were subsequently termed Hinayana.
It is a mistake to equate these now-defunct schools with the Theravadan tradition, as they are nothing to do with it.

I am always astonished at how many Buddhists, across all traditions make this fundamental error. The Theravadans have no case to answer, as they were never amongst any Hinayana sects, listed within the Mahayana tenets.
In the Indian Mahayana Buddhist monasteries, such as Nalanda, monks studied four systems of Buddhist tenets. Two – Vaibhashika and Sautrantika – were subdivisions of the Sarvastivada school within Hinayana. The other two – Chittamatra and Madhyamaka – were subdivisions within Mahayana.
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... sion_.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Dhammanando wrote:Not very much is said on the subject, for the polemical thrust of post-canonical Pali texts is directed chiefly against the doctrines of the Sabbatthivāda (Skt. Sarvāstivāda school) and its many off-shoots and the various Puggalavādin schools.
One thing in common there. Neither liked the Sarvāstivādas.

The paucity of Theravadan comment seems to indicate that there has been, historically, little connection between the two.

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Ceisiwr
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by Ceisiwr » Wed Feb 11, 2009 9:52 pm

I know this is a bit off topic but why did no one agree with the Sarvāstivādas. I cant find any info on them myself

Where name-&-form,
along with perception
of impingement & form,
totally stop without trace:
that's where the tangle
is cut.

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tiltbillings
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Re: where did the mahayana come from

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Feb 11, 2009 10:07 pm

clw_uk wrote:I know this is a bit off topic but why did no one agree with the Sarvāstivādas. I cant find any info on them myself
Get Rupert Gethin's THE FOUNDATIONS OF BUDDHISM, which is an inexpensive paperback.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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