The Paccekabuddha

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Coëmgenu
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The Paccekabuddha

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:38 pm

I had originally written this in a different forum, but in retrospect it was off-topic there.

Dhammanando wrote:In the commentarial treatment of the Sammāsamuddha, Paccekabuddha and Arahant, there are differences regarding the length of time that they have to develop the perfections, how many of the ten Tathāgata powers they can possess, how far back they can see their former lives, etc, etc.


Speaking of paccekabuddhā, the Chinese preserve a two-way distinction in their (Mahāyāna & non-Mahāyāna) literature, stemming from two different traditions of translating paccekabuddha.

They have 獨覺, meaning "Lone Buddha", and 缘覺, meaning "caused Buddha". There are 19 instances of 缘覺 in the Chinese EBTs.

Current Chinese Buddhist orthodoxy, as far as it even exists and as far as I know it, has this two-fold paccekabuddha division explained (this is citing a śāstra that I have never read, take it with salt) by saying that both are the same rank of Buddha, but a 缘覺 exists simultaneous to a Buddha's dispensation, and a 獨覺 does not. I do not know how well this explanation holds up to inquiry. It seems fishy to me.

The story behind this interesting split may well have to do with the Gāndhārī language, where K's & Y's were often mixed up, since K's frequently became Y's, or dropped out of the language altogether.

If the OP and others will forgive me for dumping some data here from SuttaCentral:

There was a Jan Nattier paper I was reading a while ago, and in it there is identified a few distinct layers of Buddhist Chinese matching the Buddhism being spread at the time into China.

She identifies an older layer originating in the works of a Ven Dharmarakṣa (竺法護) dating to 265-309 CA approximately. On the Database of Chinese Buddhist texts he is listed as having either 11 āgamasūtras or 11 small collections of āgamas hosted in the Taishō Tripiṭaka (I can’t quite understand the page yet).

He is a bit earlier than Kumārajīva, 344–413, from whom modern Mahāyāna Buddhists get the ‘definitive’ editions of many Mahāyāna sutras, but it seems Ven Dharmarakṣa also translated texts like the Lotus Sūtra, albeit translations that never reached the range of circulation that Ven Kumārajīva’s did.

Then the layer originating with Ven Guṇabhadra (求那跋陀羅) from ~435-443.

So the layer from 265-309 has the same somewhat eccentric occasional appearance of something ‘like’ *pratyayabodhi/pratyayabuddha (緣覺) as the 344–413 layer. I got the 19 figure from checking what I believe to be mostly the 435-443 layer hosted here at this site, but I may have been checking all of the layers and inflating the number. This is in contrast to 獨覺, paccekabuddha, lit. “lone Buddha”, which also appears interspersed throughout these layers, it seems, although I have yet to see a text that contains both usages inside of itself.

The layer of Ven Guṇabhadra is more contemporaneous with Ven Kumārajīva (from whom modern Mahāyānis get many ‘definitive’ editions of their translations), although they all seem to be have perhaps been working on translating the same Indian texts.


Nattier’s A Few Good Men: The Bodhisattva Path according to the Inquiry of Ugra (Ugraparipṛcchā), 342.

The passage is commenting on an eccentric spelling of Maitreya that can apparently be seen occasionally, Maitraka, and on this, it has this to say:

The apparent alternation between -eya (in the standard Sanskrit form) and -aka (in the >Prakrit) offers an interesting parallel, though not an exact one, to the fluctuation between ->aya and -eka in the name of the second vehicle of Buddhis practice, that of the >pratyekabuddha […].


[…]

For another example of the confusion between intervocalic -k- and -y- in the Gāndhārī language see Brough 1962, pp. 45-48, where the term udaya “arising” is confused with udaka “water” with ludicrous results.
It seems that this -y-/-k- confusion goes both ways?

Wikipedia cites a hard-to-find 1999 phonological study of Gāndhārī by Mark Barnard, which is likely a paper of his on these four Gāndhārī saṃyuktāgamasūtrāṇi.

On page 114, he notes a phonological peculiarity, where K’s are often dropped altogether in Gādhārī when they are retained in other Prākrits, particularly in medial position.

Compare this with ‘Standard’ English ever --> e’er in Scots.

But Scots does this occasionally with the V instead of the K like Gāndhārī seems to.

That is fertile ground for meagre speculation, I think at least, since it seems I have already misremembered altogether a paper citing Gāndhārī as the reason for pacceka --> pratyaya.

So I think that it is rather well-established (for the sake of another source: Allon 2001, 79) that Gāndhārī apparently regularly drops both K’s and Y’s where they are preserved in other parallel Prākrits.

I may be wrong, that is what all of the charts cited here and above seem to say though, k -> ⊘ & y -> ⊘, intervocally, as the first most common change §§§, moreso than k -> h even, which is a very common sound change, generally speaking. This would create a lot of ambiguities (either way, k -> y or y ->k), I imagine, in lines of transmission that run through Gāndhārī, like many believe about the Chinese texts mentioned in the OP.

§§§ this doesn’t mean that this change does happen in Gāndhārī, it means that if a change occurs, this one is the most likely. In order to find out, one would have to look at the Gāndhārī, which I cannot, meaning this is all speculation.

*pracceka or *pacceẏa (proposed/speculated Prākrit?, *pacceẏa based on Levman 2010, 58) -> *pace’a (proposed/speculated Gādhārī? applying the sound changes from the two papers) -> misunderstood as pratyaya when translators try to reconstruct it in older times? Producing 緣- and pratyaya-?

I don’t know what I’m talking about, though, so this is all somewhat moot. This is what the papers by the professionals seem to suggest, though, IMO.

I cannot view the page on Google Books, but the aforementioned Four Gāndhārī Saṃyuktāgamasūtrāṇi has, on page 247, this preview:

yasa-pacea: yathd-pratyaya: yathd-paccayam; “as one pleases”
“yathd” look like some error in text rendering, as I have never seen that consonant cluster in any Indic language before, maybe I am poorly exposed, though.

This implies (IMO) a Gāndhārī *pace’a for both *pratyaya and *paccayam. As in, they are likely homonyms in some regional variants of Gāndhārī, as attested to by Levman, Allen, etc.

Alternatively, the Gāndhārī Dhammapada, as translated and analyzed by John Brough, has *pacaġa, but that apparently is in a Sanskrit portion of the Kurram Casket Kharoṣṭhī manuscript (Brough, The Gāndhārī Dhammapada, 91)
Last edited by Coëmgenu on Fri Nov 24, 2017 7:49 pm, edited 3 times in total.
子念昔貧,志意下劣,今於父所,大獲珍寶,并及舍宅、一切財物。甚大歡喜,得未曾有。
The son thought of past poverty, outlook humble, now having from father a treasure harvest, also father's house, all his wealth. Great joy - to have what was never before had.

Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου, ἀποσκιρτήσας ἀφρόνως, ἐν κακοῖς ἐσκόρπισα, ὅν μοι παρέδωκας πλοῦτον· ὅθεν σοι τὴν τοῦ Ἀσώτου, φωνὴν κραυγάζω· Ἥμαρτον ἐνώπιόν σου Πάτερ οἰκτίρμον, δέξαι με μετανοοῦντα, καὶ ποίησόν με, ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.
Your fatherly due I withheld unthinking, in evil I wasted your wealth; a prodigal cries, "I've erred, father, receive the repentant as serf."

妙法蓮華經 Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἀσώτου

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Coëmgenu
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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:42 pm

All of the above is somewhat v.s. the KR Norman notion that pacceka was a corruption of pratyaya.
子念昔貧,志意下劣,今於父所,大獲珍寶,并及舍宅、一切財物。甚大歡喜,得未曾有。
The son thought of past poverty, outlook humble, now having from father a treasure harvest, also father's house, all his wealth. Great joy - to have what was never before had.

Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου, ἀποσκιρτήσας ἀφρόνως, ἐν κακοῖς ἐσκόρπισα, ὅν μοι παρέδωκας πλοῦτον· ὅθεν σοι τὴν τοῦ Ἀσώτου, φωνὴν κραυγάζω· Ἥμαρτον ἐνώπιόν σου Πάτερ οἰκτίρμον, δέξαι με μετανοοῦντα, καὶ ποίησόν με, ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.
Your fatherly due I withheld unthinking, in evil I wasted your wealth; a prodigal cries, "I've erred, father, receive the repentant as serf."

妙法蓮華經 Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἀσώτου

Saengnapha
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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Saengnapha » Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:54 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 5:42 pm
All of the above is somewhat v.s. the KR Norman notion that pacceka was a corruption of pratyaya.
In Mahayana, particularly, the Tibetan view, the Paccekabuddha is usually a source of ridicule, seemingly because they don't take the Bodhisattva vows and path to put off Nirvana for the sake of saving all beings by taking re-birth. It's quite hard to reconcile this view from the Pali Canon and its commentaries.

What is the Chinese view on this and is there any difference from the Tibetan 'rejection' of Paccekabuddha?

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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm

I didn't see you post until now, or saw it and neglected to respond.

The world of intersectarian polemics is rarely pleasant. Generally speaking, the Chinese have sūtrāṇi that are conditionally less demeaning to the earlier dispensation, like ekayāna scriptures like the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra (but even this sūtra is a composite work formed over several layers that is not internally consistent in its treatment of the śrāvakāḥ), but they also have some highly sectarian material they hold in higher esteem than the Tibetans, like the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. Generally speaking, bodhisattvayāna scriptures like the Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra are less favourable towards śrāvakāḥ than ekayāna scriptures like the aforementioned Saddharma.

So it really depends on the sect and individual in question.

I am also very ignorant of Tibetan Buddhism, so the above may be ill-informed in some unintended way. I know that the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra is not held in particularly high esteem in Tibet. I am less sure about the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. But suffice to say, those two particular sūtrāṇi are very famous in East Asia.
Saengnapha wrote:
Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:54 am
What is the Chinese view on this and is there any difference from the Tibetan 'rejection' of Paccekabuddha?
All Mahāyānasūtrāṇi start out with the premise that "this" is the definitive and correct interpretation of the Buddhadharma. Unfortunately that involves significantly different interpretations/strata of Buddhavacana to be considered "wrong" in one way or another. Sects and scriptures, and most importantly individuals, differ in their approach to addressing inconsistencies between the Buddhayānāni ("Buddha Vehicles").
子念昔貧,志意下劣,今於父所,大獲珍寶,并及舍宅、一切財物。甚大歡喜,得未曾有。
The son thought of past poverty, outlook humble, now having from father a treasure harvest, also father's house, all his wealth. Great joy - to have what was never before had.

Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου, ἀποσκιρτήσας ἀφρόνως, ἐν κακοῖς ἐσκόρπισα, ὅν μοι παρέδωκας πλοῦτον· ὅθεν σοι τὴν τοῦ Ἀσώτου, φωνὴν κραυγάζω· Ἥμαρτον ἐνώπιόν σου Πάτερ οἰκτίρμον, δέξαι με μετανοοῦντα, καὶ ποίησόν με, ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.
Your fatherly due I withheld unthinking, in evil I wasted your wealth; a prodigal cries, "I've erred, father, receive the repentant as serf."

妙法蓮華經 Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἀσώτου

Caodemarte
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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:12 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm
... they also have some highly sectarian material they hold in higher esteem than the Tibetans, like the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. ... I know that the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra is not held in particularly high esteem in Tibet. I am less sure about the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. But suffice to say, those two particular sūtrāṇi are very famous in East Asia...
Perhaps better to say of the Lotus that it is not usually intensively studied in Tibet (AFAIK) rather that it is “not held in particularly high esteem.” Why do you call Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra “highly sectarian?” I would have thought they were the opposite of sectarian.

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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Coëmgenu » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:57 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:12 pm
Coëmgenu wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:14 pm
... they also have some highly sectarian material they hold in higher esteem than the Tibetans, like the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. ... I know that the Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra is not held in particularly high esteem in Tibet. I am less sure about the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra. But suffice to say, those two particular sūtrāṇi are very famous in East Asia...
Perhaps better to say of the Lotus that it is not usually intensively studied in Tibet (AFAIK) rather that it is “not held in particularly high esteem.” Why do you call Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra and the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra “highly sectarian?” I would have thought they were the opposite of sectarian.
On account of specifically their treatment of śrāvakāḥ. The Saddharmapuṇḍarīkasūtra treats them poorly in certain parts, and better in others, but it is unique in this regard IMO for treating them "better" at all.
子念昔貧,志意下劣,今於父所,大獲珍寶,并及舍宅、一切財物。甚大歡喜,得未曾有。
The son thought of past poverty, outlook humble, now having from father a treasure harvest, also father's house, all his wealth. Great joy - to have what was never before had.

Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου, ἀποσκιρτήσας ἀφρόνως, ἐν κακοῖς ἐσκόρπισα, ὅν μοι παρέδωκας πλοῦτον· ὅθεν σοι τὴν τοῦ Ἀσώτου, φωνὴν κραυγάζω· Ἥμαρτον ἐνώπιόν σου Πάτερ οἰκτίρμον, δέξαι με μετανοοῦντα, καὶ ποίησόν με, ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.
Your fatherly due I withheld unthinking, in evil I wasted your wealth; a prodigal cries, "I've erred, father, receive the repentant as serf."

妙法蓮華經 Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἀσώτου

Caodemarte
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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:06 am

IMHO, these terms are only partisan if you assume they are aimed at a particular sect with a partisan purpose. Since the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra in particular is a famous ekayana (“one vehicle”) text, which states that all paths (at least Buddhists sects) are one or as the Lotus, another one vehicle text, states “the three vehicles of the Śrāvaka (disciple), Pratyekabuddha (Solitary Buddha), and Bodhisattva are actually just three expedient devices (upayacausalya) for attracting beings to the one buddha vehicle, via which they all become buddhas." The one Buddha vehicle is not a sect, but the direct path to truth that anyone from any sect can be on. This is also the orthodox Madhyamaka view that all views are temporary expedients (so sectarian fighting is even more foolish) or as Ajhan Cha used to say, just one more thing to give up. At least that’s my understanding. If I remember correctly a Thai Theravada teacher, if asked what sect he taught, answered “ I don’t teach or practice any sect. I teach the Buddha Way.” Would that not be similar to, if not the same as, the Mahayana Ekayana view?

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Coëmgenu
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Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:35 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:06 am
IMHO, these terms are only partisan if you assume they are aimed at a particular sect with a partisan purpose. Since the Śrīmālādevī Siṃhanāda Sūtra in particular is a famous ekayana (“one vehicle”) text, which states that all paths (at least Buddhists sects) are one or as the Lotus, another one vehicle text, states “the three vehicles of the Śrāvaka (disciple), Pratyekabuddha (Solitary Buddha), and Bodhisattva are actually just three expedient devices (upayacausalya) for attracting beings to the one buddha vehicle, via which they all become buddhas." The one Buddha vehicle is not a sect, but the direct path to truth that anyone from any sect can be on. This is also the orthodox Madhyamaka view that all views are temporary expedients (so sectarian fighting is even more foolish) or as Ajhan Cha used to say, just one more thing to give up. At least that’s my understanding. If I remember correctly a Thai Theravada teacher, if asked what sect he taught, answered “ I don’t teach or practice any sect. I teach the Buddha Way.” Would that not be similar to, if not the same as, the Mahayana Ekayana view?
Perhaps I was overly hard on the Śrīmālādevīsiṃhanādasūtra. It's been ages since I read it, and I think those many years ago when I read it, I may well have fundamentally misread it.

I identified the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra because of the famous episode with Śāriputra. The Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra because of its rejection of the possibility for śrāvakāḥ to attain anuttarāsamyaksaṃbodhi.
子念昔貧,志意下劣,今於父所,大獲珍寶,并及舍宅、一切財物。甚大歡喜,得未曾有。
The son thought of past poverty, outlook humble, now having from father a treasure harvest, also father's house, all his wealth. Great joy - to have what was never before had.

Τῆς πατρῴας, δόξης σου, ἀποσκιρτήσας ἀφρόνως, ἐν κακοῖς ἐσκόρπισα, ὅν μοι παρέδωκας πλοῦτον· ὅθεν σοι τὴν τοῦ Ἀσώτου, φωνὴν κραυγάζω· Ἥμαρτον ἐνώπιόν σου Πάτερ οἰκτίρμον, δέξαι με μετανοοῦντα, καὶ ποίησόν με, ὡς ἕνα τῶν μισθίων σου.
Your fatherly due I withheld unthinking, in evil I wasted your wealth; a prodigal cries, "I've erred, father, receive the repentant as serf."

妙法蓮華經 Κοντάκιον τοῦ Ἀσώτου

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

Re: The Paccekabuddha

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:24 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:35 am
......I identified the Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra because of the famous episode with Śāriputra. The Aṣṭasāhasrikāprajñāpāramitāsūtra because of its rejection of the possibility for śrāvakāḥ to attain anuttarāsamyaksaṃbodhi.
Part of the central message of Vimalakīrtinirdeśasūtra is that all can “obtain” enlightenment. It does not really matter what sect you come from or your station in life. Even the great Buddhist monks, like Sariputra, are sent by Buddha to bow to the superior wisdom of a lay man in this case. It is pretty revolutionary in its Buddhist context. This is part of the basic Mahayana message. I would not get too wrapped up in seeing Sariputra and Sravaka in any of the Mahayana sutras as just representing one or more of the extinct Indian sects involved in the polemical wars.

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