Theravada is a later sect?

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Dharmic
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Dharmic » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:01 pm

Caodemarte wrote: The historic presence of Tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism (most obvious today in Tibetan Buddhism and Japan's Shingon) in Sri Lanka is pretty obvious and easily seen. Any good comprehensive history will briefly discuss it. I am a fan of A History of Sri Lanka by de Silva.

Interestingly, after it lost royal support and the subsequent suppression, archeological and literary evidence shows that it continued to have a presence until the 12th century and small groups of people continued to practice it, probably in secret, well into the 15th century.

Works composed by Sri Lankan Tantric masters are included in the Tibetan canon, including a commentary on the Sadharmapundarika Sutra by Prithibandhu and Jayabanda’s Cakrasamvara Tantra. The most important of these works, Manjusrimitra’s Bodhicittabhavana, is one of the seminal texts on Dzong chen. This may represent a branch of that school which evolved in Sri Lanka independently of India and Tibet. The Indian Tantric siddha Vanaratana (1384-1468) went to Sri Lanka about 1404 and studied meditation for six years under Dharmakirti. As India was no longer a congenial place for a Buddhist by the time he left Sri Lanka he went to Nepal and from there made several trips to Tibet where he taught what he had learned from Dharmakirti. The Nalanda Gedage is the only major Tantric monument still existing in Sri Lanka and was built in about the 9th century.
:goodpost:

Hi,

I would like to add a few examples.

There are historic Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna sites in Sri Lanka surviving as remains.

The famous Buddha of Gal Vihara is actually surrounded by the four other smaller Buddhas. Some say this could be depiction of the five Wisdom Buddhas (Pañca-Tathāgata) of Vajrayāna.
11.jpg
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- I recollect somebody pointing out that on the lion throne of the Buddha in the Vidhyādhara Guha there is something that resembles a Vajra. I'm not able to locate the source. I looked at a zoomed image, between the two lions on the base, indeed there is something depicted and it looks like a Vajra but I'm not sure.

HD Image : https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... 8js%29.jpg

- This presentation PDF by Osmund Bopearachchi has many interesting images of various ancient sites,apart from Avalokiteśvara,it also has images of Tārā and others : Sri Lanka and the Maritime Trade : Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara as the Protector of Mariners :thumbsup:

Link : http://www.academia.edu/33243708/Sri_La ... f_Mariners

On page 101, there are images of some pillars with Vajra carved on the top. Unique if they are Vajra pillars!

Few others:

- Seven images at Buduruvagala of Buddha and Bodhisattvas Metteyya ,Avalokiteśvara, Tārā and Vajrapāṇi etc.
22.jpg
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- It seems that people still venerate the Kustarajagala Bodhisattva :

http://archives.sundayobserver.lk/2016/ ... tra-01.asp



- Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva at Maligawila
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In the book some functioning temples are mentioned (from later times) but a lot of changes have taken place since the traditions ceased. ( Buddha in the Crown: Avalokiteśvara in the Buddhist Traditions of Sri Lanka by John Clifford Holt)

:anjali:
Aho! Buddho! Aho! Suddho! Aho! Saṃsuddhamānaso!
Aho! Aho! Mettāsindhu! Buddhaṃ taṃ paṇamāmyahaṃ!


Natthi me saraṅaṃ aññaṃ Buddho me saranaṃ varaṃ
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.

Dharmic
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Dharmic » Mon Jul 31, 2017 7:13 pm

robertk wrote: gained the upper hand somehow.

Hi,

At different points of time different traditions were dominant. Apart from Buddhists sects there were other religions (like Jainism,Hinduism) on the island.

When there are multiple groups naturally issues crop up. Mostly rival groups gained power by engaging in verbal fighting. But sometimes it crossed the limits and then it went off in an other direction like burning the books of rivals, vandalizing their habitation, banishing them/finishing them off...
Some did the dirty work themselves while the rest used others to get the job done.

In Sri Lanka,sometimes, both Theravādins and Mahāyānists are said to have engaged in bitter feuds. ( It is said that in other places they lived together though they had different views. ) We have to add the other groups too to the equation here.

Also very important point is that the situation here was very volatile, regular wars and all kinds of disastrous things were going on. The political/religious scene was a complex mess.

Few examples, just for the sake of understanding how rivalry becomes ugly:

Source: ( The Mahāvaṃsa and its sequel The Cūḷavaṃsa 1 and 2)

Mahāvihāra-vāsin = Theravāda
Abhayagiri-vāsin = Mahāyāna ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abhayagiri_vihāra )

Theravādin texts mention that twice ( between ~ 215 CE - 237 CE and 277 CE - 304 CE) Mahāyāna books were burnt, it was suppressed and monks were branded heretics.
Mahāvaṃsa wrote: In like manner he appointed then a great Vesakha-festival, and yearly did he distribute the six garments to the brotherhood. Purifying the doctrine by suppression of heresy he seized bhikkhus dwelling in the Abhayagiri (vihära), sixty in number, who had turned to the Vetulya-doctrine and were like a thorn in the doctrine of the Buddha, and when he had excommunicated them, he banished them to the further coast.

http://mahavamsa.org/mahavamsa/original ... teen-kings
Mahāvaṃsa wrote: For the occasions when the Ariyavamsa was read he decreed over the whole island a regular giving of alms, from reverence for the true doctrine. With the spending of three hundred thousand (pieces of money) this king, who was a friend to the doctrine, freed from their indebtedness such bhikkhus as were in debt. When he had decreed a great Vesakha-festival, he bestowed the three garments on all the bhikkhus dwelling in the island. Suppressing the Vetulya-doctrine and keeping heretics in check by his minister Kapila, he made the true doctrine to shine forth in glory.

http://mahavamsa.org/mahavamsa/original ... teen-kings
Vetulya = Vaipulya/Mahāyāna
Mahāvaṃsa wrote: After Mahasena was consecrated, his mentor Mahayana bhikku Sanghamittha came back to the city. Bhikku Sanghamittha convinced King Mahasena that Mahavihara bhikkus were not teaching real Vinaya (Disciplinary Code of Buddhism).

King Mahasena established a fine for anyone who provided food to Mahavihara bhikkus. Due to this reason, Mahavihara bhikkus were unable to survive in the capital city. They abandoned Mahavihara and went to Rohana. (Southern part of the country).

Bhikku Sanghamittha advised the King, that since Mahavihara is abandoned by bhikkus, the land now belongs to the King himself. The King gave permission to destroy Mahavihara. Bhikku Sanghamittha sent soldiers and destroyed Mahavihara and Lowa Maha Paaya. The building materials obtained from two buildings were used to build more buildings in Abhayagiri Vihara. After destroying Mahavihara, bhikku Sanghamittha came with men to destroy Thuparama.

At that time one of the King’s wives provided money to workers to kill Sanghamittha. The workers killed Sanghamittha and saved Thuparama from destruction.

As promised, King built the Mahavihara. Bhikkus who left Mahavihara came back to dwell there.

http://mahavamsa.org/mahavamsa/simplifi ... ad-301-ad/
History is very complex, I've quoted from one Theravāda source but there are more texts out there. I would suggest to the read the entire text to understand the whole story & later story and also read more books written by historians to get a more neutral view. Otherwise it will give an incomplete picture.

:anjali:
Aho! Buddho! Aho! Suddho! Aho! Saṃsuddhamānaso!
Aho! Aho! Mettāsindhu! Buddhaṃ taṃ paṇamāmyahaṃ!


Natthi me saraṅaṃ aññaṃ Buddho me saranaṃ varaṃ
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Caodemarte » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:04 pm

Dharmic wrote:
.....The famous Buddha of Gal Vihara is actually surrounded by the four other smaller Buddhas. Some say this could be depiction of the five Wisdom Buddhas (Pañca-Tathāgata) ....

Thanks for those photos! Trappist monk Thomas Merton said the Gal Vihara statures were the greatest "explanation " ever of sunyata (the Mahayana doctrine of emptiness). They really are incredible whatever your religion of beliefs or who carved them or why. Thanks again.

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mikenz66
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:08 pm

Clearly the history of Buddhist, and other religions, in Asia is complex and it appears that Mahayana existed in SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, etc) before Theravada became dominant:
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=10503

I didn't think there was any particular controversy about this history. Perhaps the details, but not the generalities.

:heart:
Mike

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robertk
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:10 am

mikenz66 wrote:Clearly the history of Buddhist, and other religions, in Asia is complex and it appears that Mahayana existed in SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, etc) before Theravada became dominant:
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=10503

I didn't think there was any particular controversy about this history. Perhaps the details, but not the generalities.

:heart:
Mike
The country we are discussing in this thread is Sri Lanka, not Thailand, Laos etc. And there is overwhelming evidence that the Dhamma (i.e. Theravada)was introduced to Sri Lanka by Mahinda some 2300 years ago. There is no evidence that at that time Mahayana was the dominant religion.

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Dharmic » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:12 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Dharmic wrote:
.....The famous Buddha of Gal Vihara is actually surrounded by the four other smaller Buddhas. Some say this could be depiction of the five Wisdom Buddhas (Pañca-Tathāgata) ...

Thanks for those photos! Trappist monk Thomas Merton said the Gal Vihara statures were the greatest "explanation " ever of sunyata (the Mahayana doctrine of emptiness). They really are incredible whatever your religion of beliefs or who carved them or why. Thanks again.
I agree, Gal Vihāra's Buddhas are among the most beautiful ever made.

( I think it is helpful to know a bit of background. ( Some say,sometimes winners tend to (re)write the history.))

If you have noticed, many ancient Buddhas are huge or larger than life. I read that this was not arbitrary but intentionally done to highlight the Buddha's matchless status as Mahāpuruṣa.

There are many towering Buddhas on the island (and also elsewhere) -
Some examples :Maligawila ,Gal Vihara,Avukana , Polonnaruwa Lankatilaka, Reswehera , Sasseruwa, Buduruvagala ,Rajagala, Tivanka.....

Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, it has an amazing heritage. :twothumbsup:


( Some Hindu texts mention that in 8th century one of the 12 Vaishnava saints plundered a Buddhist Vihāra at Nāgappaṭṭinam where a gold Buddha was enshrined. He melted the Buddha and with that gold the sanctum of Sri Rangam Vishnu temple was gilded. We read in the article I linked in a previous post that a replica of Sri Rangam temple is being built in Sri Lanka.....
History is so complex!!)

Maligawila Buddha
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Avukana Buddha
2 (2).jpg
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Sesseruwa Buddha
3 (2).jpg
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:anjali:
Aho! Buddho! Aho! Suddho! Aho! Saṃsuddhamānaso!
Aho! Aho! Mettāsindhu! Buddhaṃ taṃ paṇamāmyahaṃ!


Natthi me saraṅaṃ aññaṃ Buddho me saranaṃ varaṃ
For me there is no other refuge, the Buddha is my excellent refuge.

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mikenz66
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by mikenz66 » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:25 am

robertk wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:Clearly the history of Buddhist, and other religions, in Asia is complex and it appears that Mahayana existed in SE Asia (Thailand, Laos, etc) before Theravada became dominant:
https://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?t=10503

I didn't think there was any particular controversy about this history. Perhaps the details, but not the generalities.

:heart:
Mike
The country we are discussing in this thread is Sri Lanka, not Thailand, Laos etc. And there is overwhelming evidence that the Dhamma (i.e. Theravada)was introduced to Sri Lanka by Mahinda some 2300 years ago. There is no evidence that at that time Mahayana was the dominant religion.
Hi Robert.

I think you are misreading what people are saying on this thread. When Dhamma was introduced to Sri Lanka it is not completely clear that it was yet labelled "Theravada". Quite apart from that, it seems clear that at a much later time Mahayana was quite prominent.

Mike

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robertk
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:51 am

Caodemarte wrote:
The historic presence of Tantric or Vajrayana Buddhism (most obvious today in Tibetan Buddhism and Japan's Shingon) in Sri Lanka is pretty obvious and easily seen. Any good comprehensive history will briefly discuss it. I am a fan of A History of Sri Lanka by de Silva.
Caodemarte » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:33 pm

To be clear I am saying that it is extraordinary well established that Tantric Buddhism was the state supported religion before Theravada was established as the official sect or "the" tradition of Sri Lanka.
I am not at all a fan of De Silva . But anyway, where in De Silva's book does she suggest that Mahayana or Tantric or Vajrayana arrived in Sri Lanka before Theravada?
What she does say is that "though it was never able to displace Theravada Buddhism from its position of primacy Mahayana had a profound influence on Sri Lankan Buddhism." P.49

She also states - that "The THERAVADA tradition was brought to the island by Mahinda and his companions"p.57 and that "within a short time Buddhism emerged as the established religion of the country"
She says that " Mahinda was either Asoka's son or brother" [he was Asoka's son].

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robertk
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:01 am

mikenz66 wrote:
Hi Robert.

I think you are misreading what people are saying on this thread. When Dhamma was introduced to Sri Lanka it is not completely clear that it was yet labelled "Theravada". Quite apart from that, it seems clear that at a much later time Mahayana was quite prominent.

Mike
Mahayana may have been prominent at a much later time', that is irrelevant to this topic.

We have ancient pali texts stating clearly that Theravada, the teaching of the elders, was what was rehearsed at the first council a few months after the Buddha's paribanna- it is completely clear:
an excerpt from a post by Dhammanado bhikkhu on another forum where he put the pali alongside the English
yaa mahaakassapaadiihi, mahaatherehi aadito
kataa saddhamma sa.mgiiti, theriyaa'ti pavuccati
eko'va theravaado so, aadivassasate ahu
a~n~naacariyavaadaatu, tato ora.m ajaayisu.m

That rehearsal of the Saddhamma arranged at the
beginning by the great theras such as
Mahaakassapa, is called the Theravaada, for the
first hundred years it was undivided. But later
arose other aacariyavaadas.


tehi sa.mgiitikaarehi, therehi dutiyehi te
niggahitaa paapabhikkhuu, sabbe dasasahassakaa
aka.msaa'cariyavaada.m te, mahaasa.mgiitinaamakaa

The evil monks, ten thousand in all, who were
censured by the theras who held the Second
Council, established the school of doctrine named
the Mahaasa.mgiiti (Greater Recital or Assembly).

tato gokulikaa jaataa, ekabbohaarikaapi ca

From that arose the Gokulikas and the Ekabbohaarikas

gokulikehi pa.n.natti-vaadaa baahulikaapi ca
cetiyavaadaa tesveva, samataasa`nghikaa cha te

From the Gokulikas arose the Pa.n.nattivaada and
the Baahulikas; from these arose the Cetiyavaada.
Thus there are six schools designated Mahaasanghika.

punaapi theravaadehi, mahi.msaasakabhikkhavo
vajjiiputtakabhikkhuu ca, duve jaataa ime khalu

And then two more arose from among the followers
of the Theravaada: the Mahi.msaasaka and the
Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus.

jaataa'tha dhammuttariyaa, bhadrayaanikabhikkhavo
channaagaaraa sammitiyaa, vajjiiputtiyabhikkhuuti

Then arose the Dhammuttariyaas, the Bhadrayaanika
monks, the Channaagaarikas, the Sammitiyas, and
the Vajjiiputtiya monks.

mahi.msaasakabhikkhuuhi, bhikkhuu sabbattha
vaadino
dhammaguttiyabhikkhuu ca, jaataa khalu ime duve

From the Mahi.msaasaka monks arose these two: the
Sabbatthivaadins and the Dhammaguttiya monks.

jaataa sabbatthivaadiihi, kassapiyaa tato pana
jaataa sa`nkantikaa bhikkhuu, suttavaadaa tato
pana

From the Sabbatthivaadins arose the Kassapiyas,
then from these arose the Sankantika monks, and
from these the Suttavaadins.

theravaadena saha te, honti dvaadasi'mepi ca
pubbe vuttachavaadaa ca, iti a.t.thaarasaa khilaa

These make twelve, together with the Theravaada;
to these are added the six schools named before,
thus making eighteen.

sattarasaapi dutiye, jaataa vasassate iti
a~n~naacariyavaadaa tu, tato oramajaayisu.m

Thus in the second century arose seventeen
schools, and the others arose afterwards.

hemataa raajagiriyaa, tathaa siddhatthikaapi ca
pubbaseliyabhikkhuu ca, tathaa aparaseliyaa

The Hemavata and the Raajagiriyaa, and likewise
the Siddhatthaka, the Pubbaseliya monks and the
Aparaseliyas,

vaajiriyaa cha etehi, jambudiipamhi bhinnakaa
dhammaruci ca saagaliyaa, la.mkaadiipamhi
bhinnakaa

and the Vajiriyas: these six broke away in
Jambudiipa. The Dhammaruci and the Saagaliyas
broke away on the Island of Lankaa.

aacariyakulavaadakathaa ni.t.thitaa
Concluded is the the Story of the Aacariya Schools
(Mahaava.msa V. 1-12)

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robertk
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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:12 am

I now quote from the Katthavathuppakarana-Atthakatha (by Buddhoghosa) (p3 of Points of controversy, PTS) :
It talks about after the second council (about 100 years after Buddha parinibbana)
"Ten thousand of the of the Vajjiputtaka bhikkhus[after splitting from the good monks] seeking adherents among themselves, formed a school called the Mahasanghika [these then split several times] Thus from the school of the Mahasanghikas, in the second century only two schools seceded from the Theravada[note that the rightful monks are called Theravada by Buddhaghosa]-Mahimsinsasakas and Vajjiputtakas... [it lists more that split later]..Thus from the Theravada arose these eleven seceding bodies making 12 in all. And these 12 together the six schools of the Mahasanghikas constitute the 18 schools which arose in the second century. Of the eighteen, 17 are to be understood as schismatics, the Theravadan only being non- schismatic[/b
]."""

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:22 am

The Theravada order has always being conservative. It is because of their great courage and wisdom that the true Dhamma is still here.

Take the case of the Abhayagiri sect which later arose as a distinct sect from the Mahavihara monks(who kept the Dhamma and Vinaya properly) which was mentioned by someone earlier in this thread

The Mahavamsa notes (p267 -268)p264 that a King helped to purify the sasana by suppression of a heresy. He seized bhikkhus dwelling in the Abhayagiri.."who had turned to the Vetulya [they followed some of the mahayana beliefs] doctrine and were like a thorn in the doctrine of the Buddha and he excommunicated them." It then notes that the thera sanghamitta (from south India was embittered against the goo bhikkhus of the Mahavihara and bided his time until the good king died and the next one Jetthatissa died. Then his time was ripe when the younger brother of Jetthatissa (mahasena ) came to power that the Thera sanghamitta , who dwelt at the Abhayagiri told the king that the Mahavihara teach a wrong doctrine and so the King made a proclamation telling the population that they could not feed any monk from the Mahavihara. "The good monks thus abandoned it.""


These good monks underwent incredible hardship as they people were forbidden to feed them. BUT they were steadfast in refusing to conduct acts of sangha such as reciting the Patimokkha with the Abhayagiri. Eventually things changed and the good monks were again allowed to be fed. I find this example of the conservatism of the ancient Theravada heroic and inspiring.
In fact the ancient monks would stand firm no matter how unpopular their stand was. To say that Theravada is merely some later sect who made false claims to follow the original teachings is ungrateful and foolish IMO.

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Dmytro » Tue Aug 01, 2017 7:38 am

Hi Mike,
mikenz66 wrote:When Dhamma was introduced to Sri Lanka it is not completely clear that it was yet labelled "Theravada".


Does it matter? Arahants at the First Council clearly didn't use such kind of label, expounding "Dhamma-Vinaya".
Quite apart from that, it seems clear that at a much later time Mahayana was quite prominent.
Mahayana at the time of prominence in Sri Lanka was not labeled in such a way. As described in Sri Lankan chronicles, in the beginning it was called "Vetullavada". The remnants of such label are preserved in Sanskrit "Vaipulya sutras":

https://books.google.com/books?id=hFTqB ... 9&lpg=PA89

This started in the reign of Voharika Tissa (269-291):

https://books.google.com/books?id=Xjjwj ... &lpg=PA125

and was prevalent from eighth to eleventh centuries:

https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/i ... 99#page=14


The notion that something didn't exist because current label of it didn't exist at a time quickly leads to absurd conclusions.

For example, "Buddhism" as a label was introduced by Europeans in the 19th century. "Christianity" and "Islam" are also comparatively late labels.

Calvin and Luther didn't say: "Let's now establish Protestantism".

We should rather look at specific doctrines and practices, - even if they evolve over time, we still call Jehova's witnesses "Christians", since they adhere to the Bible.

Similarly, those who adhere to the Pali Canon, and apply Dhamma-Vinaya, are invariably one school, called currently "Theravada".

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Aug 01, 2017 12:11 pm

robertk wrote: I am not at all a fan of De Silva . But anyway, where in De Silva's book does she suggest that Mahayana or Tantric or Vajrayana arrived in Sri Lanka before Theravada?
What she does say is that "though it was never able to displace Theravada Buddhism from its position of primacy Mahayana had a profound influence on Sri Lankan Buddhism." P.49

She also states - that "The THERAVADA tradition was brought to the island by Mahinda and his companions"p.57 and that "within a short time Buddhism emerged as the established religion of the country"
She says that " Mahinda was either Asoka's son or brother" [he was Asoka's son].
I don't know where these quotes come from, or what book or de Silva you are referring to. I referred to the famous K.M. De Silva, who is a man, and his well known "A Hisory of Sri Lanka" ISBN-10: 9558095923

I am sure there are many female De Silvas. I am just not familiar with the one you reference. I have not said that anything arrived before or after anything. I have described in over simplified terms a well known (at least in outline) complex political/religious history. Again, none of this is particularly controversial elsewhere.

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:29 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
robertk wrote: I am not at all a fan of De Silva . But anyway, where in De Silva's book does she suggest that Mahayana or Tantric or Vajrayana arrived in Sri Lanka before Theravada?
What she does say is that "though it was never able to displace Theravada Buddhism from its position of primacy Mahayana had a profound influence on Sri Lankan Buddhism." P.49

She also states - that "The THERAVADA tradition was brought to the island by Mahinda and his companions"p.57 and that "within a short time Buddhism emerged as the established religion of the country"
She says that " Mahinda was either Asoka's son or brother" [he was Asoka's son].
I don't know where these quotes come from, or what book or de Silva you are referring to. I referred to the famous K.M. De Silva, who is a man, and his well known "A Hisory of Sri Lanka" ISBN-10: 9558095923

I am sure there are many female De Silvas. I am just not familiar with the one you reference. I have not said that anything arrived before or after anything. I have described in over simplified terms a well known (at least in outline) complex political/religious history. Again, none of this is particularly controversial elsewhere.
Sorry I don't know why I thought he was a woman.

Of course the quotes I supplied are from the book by the MAN, K.M. De Silva and from his book "A history of Sri Lanka" (i.e. the one you have been citing).
For the quote, "though it was never able to displace Theravada Buddhism from its position of primacy Mahayana had a profound influence on Sri Lankan Buddhism" , please go to the chapter titled "Anuradapura Kingdom IV" in case your version of the book has a different page numbering from mine.

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Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by robertk » Tue Aug 01, 2017 1:50 pm

Caodemarte wrote: I have not said that anything arrived before or after anything. I have described in over simplified terms a well known (at least in outline) complex political/religious history. Again, none of this is particularly controversial elsewhere.
Caodemarte wrote:
Would it not be truer to say that Tantric Buddhism was the island tradition, the Buddhism that Theravada (or rather Theravada with its court sponsors) replaced and suppressed on the island, before it became "the tradition for a long time?"
Caodemarte » Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:33 pm

To be clear I am saying that it is extraordinary well established that Tantric Buddhism was the state supported religion before Theravada was established as the official sect or "the" tradition of Sri Lanka.

When the arahat Mahinda arrived in Sri Lanka with the mission from his father Asoka this was during the reign of Devanampiya tissa. Even your preferred history by De Silva says that :
" there was also the close link forged between the state and Buddhism. Devanampita tissa [250-210 BC] himself granted a royal park as a residence for the ordained priesthood . This was the beginning of the Mahavihara......Within a short time of Mahinda's mission , Buddhism emerged as the established religion of the country
." He also states that "
The THERAVADA tradition was brought to the island by Mahinda and his companions"

Caodemarte
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Joined: Fri May 01, 2015 3:21 pm

Re: Theravada is a later sect?

Post by Caodemarte » Tue Aug 01, 2017 2:43 pm

robertk wrote:
Caodemarte wrote:
robertk wrote: I am not at all a fan of De Silva . But anyway, where in De Silva's book does she suggest that Mahayana or Tantric or Vajrayana arrived in Sri Lanka before Theravada?
What she does say is that "though it was never able to displace Theravada Buddhism from its position of primacy Mahayana had a profound influence on Sri Lankan Buddhism." P.49

She also states - that "The THERAVADA tradition was brought to the island by Mahinda and his companions"p.57 and that "within a short time Buddhism emerged as the established religion of the country"
She says that " Mahinda was either Asoka's son or brother" [he was Asoka's son].
I don't know where these quotes come from, or what book or de Silva you are referring to. I referred to the famous K.M. De Silva, who is a man, and his well known "A Hisory of Sri Lanka" ISBN-10: 9558095923

I am sure there are many female De Silvas. I am just not familiar with the one you reference. I have not said that anything arrived before or after anything. I have described in over simplified terms a well known (at least in outline) complex political/religious history. Again, none of this is particularly controversial elsewhere.
Sorry I don't know why I thought he was a woman.

Of course the quotes I supplied are from the book by the MAN, K.M. De Silva and from his book "A history of Sri Lanka" (i.e. the one you have been citing).
For the quote, "though it was never able to displace Theravada Buddhism from its position of primacy Mahayana had a profound influence on Sri Lankan Buddhism" , please go to the chapter titled "Anuradapura Kingdom IV" in case your version of the book has a different page numbering from mine.
I think we are talking about different things. Buddhism does not equal Theravada. No one is saying that Theravada does not exist in Sri Lanka or was not powerful. Theravada was not "the" or only Buddhist tradition on the island. What we now call Theravada, or, better,one Theravada sect based in a powerful monastery, was established as the "official" sect after the last royal go round. It was not always in power. There were other traditions, some of which became royal allies and state supported and hence "dominate." For example, in the chapter mentioned, de Silva refers to Sena I becoming a Tantric adherent. de Silva also refers in that chapter to the growth of Sanskrit literature as monks turned to the study of Mahayana texts. In Chapter 7 he talks about the establishment of the worship of Mahayana "deities" " and the absorption of Mahayana sects. The other references I gave show that Sri Lanka was well known as a Tantric and Mahayana center as well as other traditions (certainly by the Chinese visitors, the most famous of whom refers to monks studying both Mahayana and 'Hinayana" texts and the Mahayana and "Hinayana " factions of the "Conservatives.") After all, the Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra ( one of the most important Mahyana sutras) is set in Sri Lanka! None of this has much relevance to the truth or usefulness of Mahayana or Theravada teachings. Nor does the early or late arrival of Catholic, Hindu, or Muslim religions on the island have much to do with their truth or usefulness.
None of this would be surprising in Sri Lanka. I am surpised that it appears controversial here.

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