SA vs SA-2 (āgamāḥ)

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Coëmgenu
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SA vs SA-2 (āgamāḥ)

Post by Coëmgenu » Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:53 pm

The SA literature is the Sarvāstivādāgamāḥ (Sarvastivada agamas). What recension is the SA-2 literature? Is it also Sarvāstivāda?
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Coëmgenu
Posts: 1847
Joined: Mon Jun 13, 2016 10:55 pm
Location: Whitby, Canada

Re: SA vs SA-2 (āgamāḥ)

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue Mar 07, 2017 11:27 pm

In the interest of enriching conversation on this blog, I also posted a thread like this on SuttaCentral's discussion forums, and Bhikkhu Sujato gave me some information, leading me to post this there:
Thank you, from knowing SA-2 is also referred to as the BZA, I was able to find an article called "Studies in Ágama Literature: with special reference to the Shorter Chinese Saṃyuktágama" by a certain Marcus Bingenheimer. I don't know if I am "allowed" to post a link to his paper here, legally, but it is available for free on a PDF via google search.

In it, he relays that the BZA is a rather mysterious collection of literature that is believed to have been part of a much larger Saṃyuktágama that is now lost. He says some place it's translation at loosely around the same time as the ZA (SA here), but then he seems to also say that this dating is more tenuous than the dating of the ZA. I haven't read the whole paper yet so I am unsure. The translator(s) of the BZA (SA-2) are unknown as is where they came from or what school they belonged to.

Although many believe that SA-2 dates from the same general time period as SA:

It does not appear in the earliest extant catalog, the Chu sanzang jiji 出三藏記集 (dated 515) by Sengyou 僧祐 (435-518), but is first mentioned by Fajing 法經 (d.u.) in his Zhongjing mulu 眾經目錄 (dated 594).

(Bingenheimer 2)


Later on page 4 he mentions that the dating of the BZA is based on the fact that it appears to have a single character in it that references the Qin Dynasty. That isn't much to go on (IMO but I am not a manuscript specialist so my opinion matters little) but sometimes that's all one has with ancient texts.

On page 5 he cites some scholars who think that Qin is a misreading and refers to the Jin dynasty and dates the BZA to much earlier (in the 200s!) but the author disagrees with this theory although conceding the fact that this theory belongs to "the most erudite Chinese scholar-monk of the 20th century" (Ibid 6), Shi Yinshun, whom I am too ignorant of the field to know of.

All in all, the author of this paper describes the BZA thus:

Clearly the style of the BZA is somewhat more archaic, perhaps more literary, and the terminology used is less consistent than in the ZA, but many reasons for this might be posited: lack of revision or editorial oversight, for instance.
(Ibid 6).

I've only read the introduction so far. Well see what else interesting comes up.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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