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.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

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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.
神足示現者,
世尊隨其所應,而示現入禪定正受,陵虛至東方,作四威儀,
行、住、坐、臥,入火三昧,出種種火光,青、黃、赤、白、
紅、頗梨色,水火俱現, 或身下出火,身上出水,身上出火,
身下出水,周圓四方亦復如是。

Saengnapha
Posts: 341
Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:17 am

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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