Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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SDC
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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by SDC » Mon Sep 05, 2016 7:30 pm

Disciple wrote:
SDC wrote:
Disciple wrote:I assure you the teachings are genuine. They have worked for many.
How exactly could any practitioner of any tradition assure such a thing to others? Curious.
Why did you choose Theravada? Certainly you have some degree of faith in it that it works otherwise why practice it?
Having faith is a far different deal than "assuring" that something is genuine.

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Disciple » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:06 pm

SDC wrote:
Having faith is a far different deal than "assuring" that something is genuine.
I believe Mahayana teachings to be genuine and the real deal. Your mileage may vary.

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by davidbrainerd » Mon Sep 05, 2016 9:36 pm

Phena wrote:What is quite a profound sutra is diminished by its Mahayana polemic. In fact, it is an excellent example of a strawman, in that the sutra misrepresents Ven Sariputta, inferring that his wisdom has not been perfected. The sutra then proceeds to lecture Ven Sariputta so that his wisdom will be corrected. It’s quite patronising and deliberate in its use of this teaching device/framing to convey it’s meaning, which is wholly unnecessary.
Is what is being attributed to Sariputta to be attacked actually from the suttas or from the Abhidhamma? Maybe what the authors of this sutra are really attacking is a tradition that Sariputta wrote the Abhidhamma? Or they really dislike the Abhidhamma and bought into a tradition that Sariputta wrote it, and then inferred that his wisdom was flawed?

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Coëmgenu » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:18 pm

davidbrainerd wrote:
Phena wrote:What is quite a profound sutra is diminished by its Mahayana polemic. In fact, it is an excellent example of a strawman, in that the sutra misrepresents Ven Sariputta, inferring that his wisdom has not been perfected. The sutra then proceeds to lecture Ven Sariputta so that his wisdom will be corrected. It’s quite patronising and deliberate in its use of this teaching device/framing to convey it’s meaning, which is wholly unnecessary.
Is what is being attributed to Sariputta to be attacked actually from the suttas or from the Abhidhamma? Maybe what the authors of this sutra are really attacking is a tradition that Sariputta wrote the Abhidhamma? Or they really dislike the Abhidhamma and bought into a tradition that Sariputta wrote it, and then inferred that his wisdom was flawed?
I think inferences are being made that aren't intended. Nothing is being attributed directly to Sariputta. It is not said anywhere in the sutra that Sariputta has not cultivated wisdom-perfection either. The Heart Sutra gives an account of a dialogue from one Buddhist practitioner of extreme attainment (Avalokiteśvara) to another (Sariputta), but it is not established that this is in the context of a debate or disagreement between the two.

There are other sutras that do have a sectarian slant, like the aforementioned Vimalakīrti Nirdeśa Sūtra, the Vajracchedikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, and the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka Sūtra, but I don't think that the Heart Sutra is necessarily one of these.

Similarly the Heart Sutra does not address the Theravada Abhidhamma directly. The Emptiness Doctrine expounded in the sutra, however, contradicts Abhidhammic teachings.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by SDC » Mon Sep 05, 2016 10:21 pm

Disciple wrote:
SDC wrote:
Having faith is a far different deal than "assuring" that something is genuine.
I believe Mahayana teachings to be genuine and the real deal.
That sounds much more reasonable.

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Dinsdale » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:25 am

Coëmgenu wrote:I think inferences are being made that aren't intended. Nothing is being attributed directly to Sariputta. It is not said anywhere in the sutra that Sariputta has not cultivated wisdom-perfection either. The Heart Sutra gives an account of a dialogue from one Buddhist practitioner of extreme attainment (Avalokiteśvara) to another (Sariputta), but it is not established that this is in the context of a debate or disagreement between the two.
I tend to agree, I don't see a sectarian sub-text with the Heart Sutra.
Coëmgenu wrote:Similarly the Heart Sutra does not address the Theravada Abhidhamma directly. The Emptiness Doctrine expounded in the sutra, however, contradicts Abhidhammic teachings.
Could you expand on how the Heart Sutra contradicts the Abhidhamma?
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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:25 am

Spiny Norman wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Similarly the Heart Sutra does not address the Theravada Abhidhamma directly. The Emptiness Doctrine expounded in the sutra, however, contradicts Abhidhammic teachings.
Could you expand on how the Heart Sutra contradicts the Abhidhamma?
I can't directly comment on it, because I have never read the Abhidhamma myself, and have only played around with skimming the Abhidhammattha sangaha that are available on the internet.

More learned people than I, however, have said that the Mahayana understanding of śūnyatā is in direct contradiction (and perhaps refutation) of Abhidhamma. Particularly as the Abhidhamma relates to "prime dhammas" (which is a term I have encountered numerous times in literature, but I have no clue what it is supposed to mean in-context).

Just looking at the wikipedia page for śūnyatā one can find this view in the subsections on Mahayana Buddhism.

If you have access to JSTOR, I would highly recommend "Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture" by Joseph Walser, which is available there. Most of the wikipedia page on śūnyatā's subsections concerning Mādhyamaka and Nagarjuna are borderline plagiarized from that much-better article.

There are also plenty of Theravada who believe that the Mahayana understanding of śūnyatā fits perfectly well into the Theravada dispensation. The belief that śūnyatā is in direct refutation of Abhidhamma specifically, though, is a more-often-held belief, and I have to trust people who's knowledge of this material is superior to mine on this matter, given how unlikely it is I will ever get around to reading the Abhidhamma Pitaka myself.

Actually, upon rereading the wiki, it appears that a particular scholar named David Kalupahana, who I haven't read, believes that the Abhidhamma being refuted by Nagarjuna wasn't even the same Abhidhamma that the modern Theravada sect holds in their canon. Who knows though?

Edit: more on-point, it is the śūnyatā-teaching, not the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, that is said to 'contradict' the Abhidhamma. But given that the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya is the quintessential distilled teaching on śūnyatā, from a Mahayanist POV, it could be said that, perhaps, the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya 'contradicts' the Abhidhamma, if the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya is said to have the "fullness" of the śūnyatā-teaching contained within itself.

PS.
It is common to refer to the Heart Sutra as a sutra, but it technically isn't one. The fact that its proper Indic name is "Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya", not ""Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Sūtra" is another manifestation of this. Now I'm not one for being persnickety about names, but calling something a sutra, when it isn't, is an unfortunate mishandling of what exactly a "sutra/sutta" is. I don't know how to correct this common misconception. Certainly I could be a grammar Nazi and insist that people simply call it "The Heart", but that is unlikely to convince anyone that it isn't a sutra. And "Heart Sutra" is a well established Englishism by now.
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2016 7:09 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Spiny Norman wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Similarly the Heart Sutra does not address the Theravada Abhidhamma directly. The Emptiness Doctrine expounded in the sutra, however, contradicts Abhidhammic teachings.
Could you expand on how the Heart Sutra contradicts the Abhidhamma?
I can't directly comment on it, because I have never read the Abhidhamma myself, and have only played around with skimming the Abhidhammattha sangaha that are available on the internet.
There is a significant difference between the lines of thought found in the Abdidhamma Pitaka texts and the considerably later Theravadin Abhidhammattha sangaha.
More learned people than I, however, have said that the Mahayana understanding of śūnyatā is in direct contradiction (and perhaps refutation) of Abhidhamma. Particularly as the Abhidhamma relates to "prime dhammas" (which is a term I have encountered numerous times in literature, but I have no clue what it is supposed to mean in-context).
That has to be looked at as to these authors are referring to as Abhidhamma.
There are also plenty of Theravada who believe that the Mahayana understanding of śūnyatā fits perfectly well into the Theravada dispensation.
Nagaruna's foundational work, the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā, is essentially a commentary on the equivalent of the Kaccayanagotta Sutta SN 12.15; S ii 16; CDB i 544.
Actually, upon rereading the wiki, it appears that a certainly scholar named David Kalupahana believes that the Abhidhamma being refuted by Nagarjuna wasn't even the same Abhidhamma that the modern Theravada sect holds in their canon. Who knows though?
Nagarjuna was responding, not to the Theravada Abhidhamma, but likely to the Mahasanghika and/or the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma texts


PS.
It is common to refer to the Heart Sutra as a sutra, but it technically isn't one. The fact that its proper Indic name is "Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya", not ""Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Sūtra" is another manifestation of this. Now I'm not one for being persnickety about names, but calling something a sutra, when it isn't, is an unfortunate mishandling of what exactly a "sutra/sutta" is. I don't know how to correct this common misconception. Certainly I could be a grammar Nazi and insist that people simply call it "The Heart", but that is unlikely to convince anyone that it isn't a sutra.
Of course it is a sutra. If you look at the long version of it, It starts with "Thus have I heard."
>> 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: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Sep 06, 2016 8:09 am

Disciple wrote:I assure you the teachings are genuine. They have worked for many. Do you have experience practicing in any of the Mahayana traditions or are you just rambling on about something you don't know much about? I think you would be surprised if you kept a little more open mind.
Your assurances are empty and meaningless. I know enough about the Kagyu Lineage to dismiss its practices as not the teaching of the Buddha.

The 16th Karmapa Lama was living in India when some disciples of the Kagyu school asked him to send them a lama to teach at a new centre to be established in Birmingham. He sent his friend, the Venerable Sayādaw U Rewata Dhamma. A Burmese monk who was an expert in the Abhidhamma. He was also a friend of Goenka, and taught Vipassanā meditation in that tradition. That is how I first met the Sayādaw.

In 1976 I moved to Birmingham as the Sayādaw's resident full-time assistant. During that period from 1976-1979, before my ordination, I attended the Black Hat ceremony in Birmingham held by the 16th Karmapa Lama, and I met several other High Lamas of the Kagyu lineage.

Having dismissed the Mahāyāna Suttas as not Dhamma, after comparing them carefully with the Dhamma and Vinaya, it would be foolish to practise them.

The foolish majority¹ will have blind faith in rituals to achieve purification. The Buddha taught that purification comes about through the practice of morality, concentration, and wisdom, and not by any rituals or blessings by others. Even the Buddha himself cannot remove your doubts if you make no effort to understand properly. (See Dhotaka's Questions in the Suttanipāta).

¹ That includes, of course, all who have no experience in meditation, nor a thorough knowledge of the Tipitaka. The vast majority of Theravādin Buddhists will frequently attend a recital of Paritta Suttas or a Kathina Ceremony, but only a tiny minority (< 1%) have ever attended even one 10-day meditation course to practise the Noble Eightfold Path properly as it was taught by the Buddha. The typical Poya-day celebration involves wearing white clothes, undertaking the eight precepts, listening to some talks, and doing an hour or two of meditation. At the end of the day, they take five precepts, so even their temporary observance of morality is half-hearted and ineffectual. As for those outside of the Buddhasāsana, the prognosis is even worse as they depend on devotion to a non-existent God, or ritual bathing in the filthy waters of the Ganges (or some other empty ritual).
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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:17 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Actually, upon rereading the wiki, it appears that a certainly scholar named David Kalupahana believes that the Abhidhamma being refuted by Nagarjuna wasn't even the same Abhidhamma that the modern Theravada sect holds in their canon. Who knows though?
Nagarjuna was responding, not to the Theravada Abhidhamma, but likely to the Mahasanghika and/or the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma texts
We don't know this for sure though, one scholar's opinion doesn't change general academic opinion. It is certainly a possibility, a likely possibility unless someone cares to clarify to me what "prime dhammas" happen to be, and how they are incompatible with śūnyatā.
tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: It is common to refer to the Heart Sutra as a sutra, but it technically isn't one. The fact that its proper Indic name is "Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya", not ""Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya Sūtra" is another manifestation of this. Now I'm not one for being persnickety about names, but calling something a sutra, when it isn't, is an unfortunate mishandling of what exactly a "sutra/sutta" is. I don't know how to correct this common misconception. Certainly I could be a grammar Nazi and insist that people simply call it "The Heart", but that is unlikely to convince anyone that it isn't a sutra.
Of course it is a sutra. If you look at the long version of it, It starts with "Thus have I heard."
I subscribe to the Jan Nattier hypothesis as to the material origins of the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, not the traditional narratives, that may be bringing up a point of contention. On terms of traditional Buddhology, the dedication on the Chinese transliteration of the Amoghavajra manuscript tradition found at Dunhuang pretty much solves the issue of the origins of the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya for me, though not necessarily for others, I understand:
Translated, under the imperial command, by Bukong [Amoghavajra], whose posthumous name given by the Emperor is Dabian Zhengguanzhi. Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva had personally taught and bestowed this Sanskrit text to Tripitaka Dharma Master Xuanzang; Bukong has edited it
(Taisho, no. 256; Stein, no. 700 (London: The British Library), quoted from Tanahashi's The Heart Sutra, pg 68)

Although this does not mean I don't think the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya is authentic Buddhist (Mahayana) teaching.

The Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya is preserved in 5 disparate manuscript traditions, the oldest of which are the Horyu-ji manuscripts. The Horyu-ji manuscripts group the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya with another dharani called the Uṣṇīṣavijaya dhāraṇī. This is not definitive proof that the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya was not originally considered a sutra, but it certainly shows that, in its earliest appearances, it has a tendency to appear in the context of esoteric dhāraṇī chant, and is not listed or accompanied by other sutras.

The oldest manuscript tradition aside, there are 3 main Sanskrit transmissions for this sutra, the Horyu-ji (c. 600), Amoghavajra (after 774), and the Nepalese long sutra (c. 1100). Of these, the Nepalese long sutra, which serves as a basis for all of the later Tibetic "long versions" of the Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya, is the latest and most innovative on terms of adding new material to the text.

Of these only the Horyu-ji (c. 700) and the Amoghavajra (after 774) are mostly-the-same. The Nepalese long sutra (c. 1100) (note: this is not Kumārajīva's Pañcaviṁśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra) is highly innovative (Fumimasa-Bunga Fukui, Comprehensive Study of the Heart Sutra, quoted in Tanahashi 68).

There are 2-3 Chinese transmissions, the Kumārajīva/Xuanzang manuscript tradition and the Chinese Amoghavajra tradition. The modern Chinese Kumārajīva/Xuanzang manuscript tradition in the Taisho tripitaka has been doctored (and/or plagiarized) (Jan Nattier, The Heart Sutra: A Chinese Apocryphal Text?, p. 168) in order that it closer resembles Kumārajīva's Pañcaviṁśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra, of which a section of the modern-day Prajñāpāramitāhṛdaya is a paraphrase.

I am not saying that the Heart Sutra isn't (Mahayana) Buddhist teaching, but the earliest attested manuscript transmissions have features very peculiar for a "sutra" (Nattier 158), including a mantra, Avalokiteshvara-veneration (foreign to all other Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra), the absense of Mañjuśrī, the tutelary deity of the Prajñāpāramitā scriptural tradition, and the replacement of Subhūti with Śāriputra (the Prajñāpāramitā scriptures are traditionally addressed to Subhūti, not Śāriputra).

Similarly the Horyu-ji manuscript retention opens thusly:
Namas sarvajñāya Āryāvalokiteśvarabodhisattvo gaṃbhīraṃ [...]

Homage to the all-knower noble-Avalokiteśvara-bodhisattva deeply [...]
and the title of the text is given at the end of the Horyu-ji, traditional for Japanese esoteric dharani chant (Tanahashi 67), it reads thus:
[...] iti Prajñāpāramitāhṛdayaṃ samāptaṃ.

thus wisdom-perfection [is] all-together-obtained/concluded.
Here we lack the identification of the text as a "sutra". Later versions that include text such as "thus I have heard" appear to be a later innovation to what was originally an Avalokiteśvara-venerating-dhāraṇī which contained within itself a loosely paraphrased section of the Pañcaviṁśatisāhasrikā Prajñāpāramitā Sūtra.

The Jan Nattier exegesis is available here, for free, if it interests you (http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/ojs/ ... /8800/2707).
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by JiWe2 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 10:10 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Actually, upon rereading the wiki, it appears that a certainly scholar named David Kalupahana believes that the Abhidhamma being refuted by Nagarjuna wasn't even the same Abhidhamma that the modern Theravada sect holds in their canon. Who knows though?
Nagarjuna was responding, not to the Theravada Abhidhamma, but likely to the Mahasanghika and/or the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma texts
We don't know this for sure though, one scholar's opinion doesn't change general academic opinion. It is certainly a possibility, a likely possibility unless someone cares to clarify to me what "prime dhammas" happen to be, and how they are incompatible with śūnyatā.
This relatively short text might shed some light on the Theravada views:

The Dhamma Theory - Philosophical Cornerstone of the Abhidhamma by Y. Karunadasa, 1996.

Contents:
Introduction
I. The Early Version of the Dhamma Theory
II. The Development of the Theory
III. Paññatti and the Two Truths
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh412-u.html
or
http://www.bps.lk/olib/wh/wh412.pdf

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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2016 1:43 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote:Actually, upon rereading the wiki, it appears that a certainly scholar named David Kalupahana believes that the Abhidhamma being refuted by Nagarjuna wasn't even the same Abhidhamma that the modern Theravada sect holds in their canon. Who knows though?
Nagarjuna was responding, not to the Theravada Abhidhamma, but likely to the Mahasanghika and/or the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma texts
We don't know this for sure though, one scholar's opinion doesn't change general academic opinion. It is certainly a possibility, a likely possibility unless someone cares to clarify to me what "prime dhammas" happen to be, and how they are incompatible with śūnyatā.
You think that Nagarjuna was responding to the Theravadin Abhidhamma? Most of the major mainstream schools (non-Mahayana) had their own significantly differing version of the Abhidhamma, and Mahayana monks at the time of Nagarjuna, and pretty much until Buddhism's death in India, belonged to one or the other ordination lineages of the mainstream (non-Mahayana) schools, and lived in the mainstream schools' viharas. And this tradition is continued with Mula-sarvastivadin ordination lineage of the Tibetan monks and the Dharmagupta ordination lineage of Chinese Buddhist monastics. Show us any modern scholarship that puts Nagarjuna in the ordination lineage of the Sri Lanka Theravada.

At the time of Nagarjuna, Mahayanist monks lived and functioned within the mainstream monastic communities, which would mean that whatever community that Nagarjuna lived in that he knew their teachings and texts exceedingly well, and no doubt had a good handle on the teachings of most of the other schools, as well. And keeping this in mind, one also needs to keep in mind that how differing schools dealt with similar issues could differ quite dramatically, and this is certainly so around the issue of svabhāva; Pali: sabhāva, which is a central character in Nagarjuna's central text the Mūlamadhyamakakārikā. How he characterizes svabhāva in that work is not necessarily how the Theravadins understood and used the term, at that time, or in the Adhidhamma Pitaka texts; however, by the time Abhidhammattha sangaha (11th or 12th century CE) that has changed.

Do take JiWe2's suggestion and read Y. Karunadasa's excellent essay.
tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: It is common to refer to the Heart Sutra as a sutra, but it technically isn't one. . . .
I am quite familiar with Nattier's work, but even with the "peculiarities" of the origins of the Heart Sutra, there is nothing in that that would preclude it from being considered as a Sutra, as it has been accepted so within traditional Mahayana circles, which is all that really matters in terms of is it a sutra or not.
>> 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: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:26 pm

tiltbillings wrote:You think that Nagarjuna was responding to the Theravadin Abhidhamma? Most of the major mainstream schools (non-Mahayana) had their own significantly differing version of the Abhidhamma, and Mahayana monks at the time of Nagarjuna, and pretty much until Buddhism's death in India, belonged to one or the other ordination lineages of the mainstream (non-Mahayana) schools, and lived in the mainstream schools' viharas. And this tradition is continued with Mula-sarvastivadin ordination lineage of the Tibetan monks and the Dharmagupta ordination lineage of Chinese Buddhist monastics. Show us any modern scholarship that puts Nagarjuna in the ordination lineage of the Sri Lanka Theravada.
Well I am not an Abhidhammaka, I've never read the source texts, and I suspect I don't have the ability to read the source texts (is the entire thing in English yet...?). I don't know from where/whence one line of Abhidhammic discourse arises, I don't know where/whence another opposing discourse falls. All I know is the opinions and research of people (hopefully) better equipped than myself to handle the problem.

I don't know the differences between rivals sects' Abhidhammic discourses either. But these discourses don't arise out of fresh air. If Nagarjuna was reacting to something, was refuting something, in order for it to have caught Nagarjuna's attention, it must have been a widely disseminated teaching. Its possible that said widely disseminated teaching could have influenced Theravada Abhidhammattha discourse, it is possible that it did not. I am not qualified to make that judgement.

I don't have any stake in the matter though. If you say that Nagarjuna was definitely working in opposition to Mahasanghika and/or the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma, and not a proto-Theravada Abhidhammattha discourse, similarly I am not in a position to argue the matter. I am just saying that a lot of scholars don't necessarily share that opinion.
tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: It is common to refer to the Heart Sutra as a sutra, but it technically isn't one. . . .
I am quite familiar with Nattier's work, but even with the "peculiarities" of the origins of the Heart Sutra, there is nothing in that that would preclude it from being considered as a Sutra, as it has been accepted so within traditional Mahayana circles, which is all that really matters in terms of is it a sutra or not.
Well the whole point about my insisting on it not being "technically" a sutra is sort of like when a grammar Nazi insists Englishmen don't split their infinitives, its just a pet project of mine. I don't have any illusions that I am saying anything new or changing anyone's opinion on anything. I am just a manuscript geek sharing a perspective on the origin of a well-loved text, that doesn't in any way challenge the orthodoxy or status of that text.

The Heart Sutra having its origins in dhāraṇī doesn't challenge its status in the Mahayana canon anymore than it challenges the status of the Śūraṅgama or Nīlakaṇṭha Dhāraṇyah.
世尊在靈山會上拈華示眾眾皆默然唯迦葉破顏微笑世尊云
The Lord dwelt at the Vulture Peak with the assembly and plucked a flower as a teaching. The myriad totality were silent, save for Kāśyapa, whose face cracked in a faint smile. The Lord spoke.
吾有正法眼藏涅槃妙心實相無相微妙法門不立文字教外別傳付囑摩訶迦葉。
I have the treasure of the true dharma eye, I have nirvāṇa as wondrous citta, I know signless dharmatā, the subtle dharma-gate, which is not standing on written word, which is external to scriptures, which is a special dispensation, which is entrusted to Mahākāśyapa.

नस्वातोनापिपरतोनद्वाभ्यांनाप्यहेतुतः

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tiltbillings
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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by tiltbillings » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:49 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:You think that Nagarjuna was responding to the Theravadin Abhidhamma? Most of the major mainstream schools (non-Mahayana) had their own significantly differing version of the Abhidhamma, and Mahayana monks at the time of Nagarjuna, and pretty much until Buddhism's death in India, belonged to one or the other ordination lineages of the mainstream (non-Mahayana) schools, and lived in the mainstream schools' viharas. And this tradition is continued with Mula-sarvastivadin ordination lineage of the Tibetan monks and the Dharmagupta ordination lineage of Chinese Buddhist monastics. Show us any modern scholarship that puts Nagarjuna in the ordination lineage of the Sri Lanka Theravada.
. . .

I don't have any stake in the matter though. If you say that Nagarjuna was definitely working in opposition to Mahasanghika and/or the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma, and not a proto-Theravada Abhidhammattha discourse, similarly I am not in a position to argue the matter. I am just saying that a lot of scholars don't necessarily share that opinion.
And what scholars are you talking about? A.K. Warder? E. LaMotte? Paul Williams? Rupert Gethin? Peter Harvery? Joseph Walser? David Kalupahana? George Dreyfus? Jay Garfield? Jeffery Hopkins? C.W. Huntington? Richard Jones?

Again, one of the main players in Nagarjuna's Mula is svabhāva, and how it described is not how the Theravada Abhidhamma Pitaka uses the term.
In other words, Nagarjuna is not targeting the Theravada, which was something of a backwater in Buddhist history of that period.
not a proto-Theravada Abhidhammattha discourse
That is a rather strange locution. I am not talking about a "discourse"; rather, I am pointing to the Abhidhamma Pitaka, and it extends beyond that into the commentarial literature, including Buddhaghosa.
tiltbillings wrote:
Coëmgenu wrote: It is common to refer to the Heart Sutra as a sutra, but it technically isn't one. . . .
I am quite familiar with Nattier's work, but even with the "peculiarities" of the origins of the Heart Sutra, there is nothing in that that would preclude it from being considered as a Sutra, as it has been accepted so within traditional Mahayana circles, which is all that really matters in terms of is it a sutra or not.
Well the whole point about . . . .
It seems to be a pointless point.
>> 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

JiWe2
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Re: Mahāyāna Sutras?

Post by JiWe2 » Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:51 pm

A quote from Joseph Walser's "Nagarjuna in Context: Mahayana Buddhism and Early Indian Culture", p.226-227:
Nagarjuna and the Sarvastivadin Abhidharma

The most obvious abhidharma references in Nagarjuna’s works are clearly
his attacks on certain Sarvastivadin tenets
. These attacks occur primarily in
the Mulamadhyamakakarika
. The clearest reference to Sarvastivada abhi-
dharma occurs in the first chapter in the second and third verses.

2 Four only are the conditions of arising: cause, objective basis, the
immediately preceding condition, and the decisive factor; there is
no fifth condition . . .
3 If there are conditions, things are not self-existent; if there is there
is no self-existence there is no other-existence.

The four conditions (pratyaya) listed in the order of “primary causal,
appropriating or objectively extending, sequential or contiguous, and
dominantly extending conditions” (hetu, alambana, anantara, and adhi-
patyeya) occurs nowhere in the sutra literature and does not occur any-
where in Theravadin abhidharma literature
. It does appear in two of the
Sarvastivadin abhidharma texts
: the Vijnanakaya and the Prakaranapada.
With one or both of these texts as the target for Nagarjuna’s arguments in
this chapter, we may tentatively assume that Nagarjuna was not writing in
a Sarvastivadin monastery.

Contrary to the opinion of the author of the Zhonglun, however,
Nagarjuna’s involvement even with abhidharma literature is far more
complicated than one of simple opposition. Nagarjuna may have opposed
certain notions in the Sarvastivadin abhidharma, but he does not eschew
all abhidharma.
Chapter 5 of the Ratnavali lists fifty-seven moral faults that
Nagarjuna claims come from a text called the Ksudravastuka. Yukihiro
Okada and Michael Hahn have pointed out that both the Vibhanga of the
Theravadins and in the Dharmaskandha of the Sarvastivadins contain a
chapter called Ksudravastu (Pali Khuddakavattu). Although a
core number of terms are shared by the two texts, the order of the terms
in the Ratnavali is identical to that in the Dharmaskandha. For this reason,
Okada and Hahn conclude that the Sarvastivadin Dharmaskandha is the
best match for the list of fifty-seven in Nagarjuna’s
. There is no indication
in the Ratnavali discussion that follows that Nagarjuna does anything but
recommend the study and application of these topical lists (matrka). He
tells the king, “With vigor you should definitely realize those renowned as
the fifty-seven.” Thus, while one of Nagarjuna’s works attacks Sarvastiva-
da abhidharma literature, another appears to support it. This discrepancy
requires an explanation.

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