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Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:30 am
by Luke
I read the following interesting lines on wikipedia:
According to one account, the Mahāsāṃghika sect was formed in the first Buddhist schism around 320 BCE. It split from the Sthaviravāda (Elders) school over disputes about the authenticity of certain texts which the Mahāsāṃghikas claimed had been invented by the Elders and were not genuine Word of the Buddha (Buddhavacana). In this account, they did not join the third buddhist council.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81s%C4%81nghika" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Does anyone know which texts were the one which the Mahāsāṃghikas objected to?

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:32 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings Luke,

Very interesting question, since usually the allegations are made in the other direction.

I look forward to seeing whether someone has any useful insight to share on the matter.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:02 am
by Individual
We could do a process of elimination.

The Sutta Pitaka is within the Mahayana canon with very few differences, so that's not it. And the Vinaya is the same too, right?

This leaves:
-Abhidhamma
-Atthakatha (Theravada commentaries)

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:09 am
by retrofuturist
Greetings Individual,

Following your process of elimination you could then remove the commentaries, since no one is claiming them to be the literal word of the Buddha.

In addition to the Abhidhamma though, there are some parts of the Khuddaka Nikaya which are arguably "later" than others and don't have parallels across the different canons.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/kn/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:42 am
by plwk
Maybe this one...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"If it is desired, Ananda, the Sangha may, when I am gone, abolish the lesser and minor rules."

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:08 am
by mikenz66
I'm sure one of our resident scholars will chime in eventually, but here's a summary of reasonably modern opinion from Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism (1998).

He says that the situation is not certain but...
Gethin wrote:It seems clear that at some point after the Vaisali meeting the primitive Sangha formally divided into tow parties each of which henceforth had its own ordination traditions. The ancient accounts are inconsistent as to what provoked the split. Some suggest that it was the result of a dispute over five points, later associated with a monk named Mahadeva, concerning the nature of the arahat. That this was indeed the cause of the division is accepted by Bareau (a French scholar). Other ancient sources attribute the division to a disagreement over questions of Vinaya, and the more recent scholarship suggests that this is the explanation to be preferred. According to this view a reformist group in the Sangha proposed tightening discipline on certain matters of Vinaya, while the majority were happy to leave things as they stood. Since the two parties failed to come to an agreement, the Sangha divided into two: the reformist sthaviras (Pali: thera) or 'elders' and the majority mahasanghaikas or 'those of the great community'. The dating of this important event ... is ... problematic [probably before or maybe during Ashoka's reign.]
The puggala-vardin (personalists), sarvasti-vadin (all things past, present and future exist), vibhajayavadin, and theravadins were products of later splits of the reformist stharvira group.

Mike

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:10 am
by retrofuturist
That's certainly interesting - thanks Mike.

Metta,
Retro. :)

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:21 am
by mikenz66
Hi Retro,

Obviously I'm no expert, but from what I've gathered by reading a few books, useful answers about this historical stuff is only going to come from reading the recent literature (i.e. from the 90s onward).

Mike

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:24 am
by tiltbillings
Luke wrote:I read the following interesting lines on wikipedia:
According to one account, the Mahāsāṃghika sect was formed in the first Buddhist schism around 320 BCE. It split from the Sthaviravāda (Elders) school over disputes about the authenticity of certain texts which the Mahāsāṃghikas claimed had been invented by the Elders and were not genuine Word of the Buddha (Buddhavacana). In this account, they did not join the third buddhist council.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81s%C4%81nghika" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Does anyone know which texts were the one which the Mahāsāṃghikas objected to?
It had less to with particular texts than particular interpretations of either the nature of the Buddha and the Arahant or the Vinaya rules, depending upon which accounting one looks at.

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:10 am
by Paññāsikhara
tiltbillings wrote:
Luke wrote:I read the following interesting lines on wikipedia:
According to one account, the Mahāsāṃghika sect was formed in the first Buddhist schism around 320 BCE. It split from the Sthaviravāda (Elders) school over disputes about the authenticity of certain texts which the Mahāsāṃghikas claimed had been invented by the Elders and were not genuine Word of the Buddha (Buddhavacana). In this account, they did not join the third buddhist council.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mah%C4%81s%C4%81nghika" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Does anyone know which texts were the one which the Mahāsāṃghikas objected to?
It had less to with particular texts than particular interpretations of either the nature of the Buddha and the Arahant or the Vinaya rules, depending upon which accounting one looks at.
Yuh.

It would have made more sense to even check the veracity of the claim in Wiki first, by looking for its source, and taking the direction from there.

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:12 am
by Paññāsikhara
Individual wrote:We could do a process of elimination.

The Sutta Pitaka is within the Mahayana canon with very few differences, so that's not it. And the Vinaya is the same too, right?

This leaves:
-Abhidhamma
-Atthakatha (Theravada commentaries)
There is no such thing as a "Mahayana canon" per se. Schools that included the Mahayana had their equivalent Agamas and Vinaya, but they are not identical.
Each school had different arrangement and even content of the sutra pitaka, and likewise the Vinaya.
And all but about 3 schools didn't have an Abhidharma.
And the Atthakatha is not sutra, nor is it common to all the Sthaviras.

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 7:14 am
by Paññāsikhara
plwk wrote:Maybe this one...
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .vaji.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
"If it is desired, Ananda, the Sangha may, when I am gone, abolish the lesser and minor rules."
No. In fact, if anything, the opposite.

This is because the Mahasamghika Vinaya has less rules than that of the Theravada.
Though the difference is nothing to do with this sutra at all.

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:29 am
by Ytrog
mikenz66 wrote:I'm sure one of our resident scholars will chime in eventually, but here's a summary of reasonably modern opinion from Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism (1998).

He says that the situation is not certain but...
Gethin wrote:It seems clear that at some point after the Vaisali meeting the primitive Sangha formally divided into tow parties each of which henceforth had its own ordination traditions. The ancient accounts are inconsistent as to what provoked the split. Some suggest that it was the result of a dispute over five points, later associated with a monk named Mahadeva, concerning the nature of the arahat. That this was indeed the cause of the division is accepted by Bareau (a French scholar). Other ancient sources attribute the division to a disagreement over questions of Vinaya, and the more recent scholarship suggests that this is the explanation to be preferred. According to this view a reformist group in the Sangha proposed tightening discipline on certain matters of Vinaya, while the majority were happy to leave things as they stood. Since the two parties failed to come to an agreement, the Sangha divided into two: the reformist sthaviras (Pali: thera) or 'elders' and the majority mahasanghaikas or 'those of the great community'. The dating of this important event ... is ... problematic [probably before or maybe during Ashoka's reign.]
The puggala-vardin (personalists), sarvasti-vadin (all things past, present and future exist), vibhajayavadin, and theravadins were products of later splits of the reformist stharvira group.

Mike
To get things clear: the non-reformists became the mahayana and the reformists the theravada? I always thought it was the other way around. This is about that schism, right?

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:47 am
by Luke
Paññāsikhara wrote: Yuh.

It would have made more sense to even check the veracity of the claim in Wiki first, by looking for its source, and taking the direction from there.
Hi Ven. Huifeng,

Good point. The source of the info in that quote isn't directly cited in the article, but I would guess that it came from either "Light of Liberation: A History of Buddhism in India" by Elizabeth Cook or from "Nāgārjuna in Context: Mahāyāna Buddhism and Early Indian Culture" by Joseph Walser because those are the first two sources listed at the end of the article and the part I quoted came after the first citation and before the second one.

Neither can be read on Google Books.

Anyway, what are the best sources to find out more about the Mahāsāṃghika School?

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:54 am
by Dan74
My understanding is that the Mahasamgikas (an extinct school?) should not be automatically equated with Mahayana, which is more of a later development and much less formal most probably. There is some relationship between the two, but they are not the same, right?

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:54 pm
by plwk
Anyway, what are the best sources to find out more about the Mahāsāṃghika School?
Atisha was ordained in this School...maybe his life story would yield something `besides his mission to Tibet...

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 3:45 pm
by louhi
.

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:19 pm
by mikenz66
Ytrog wrote:
mikenz66 wrote:I'm sure one of our resident scholars will chime in eventually, but here's a summary of reasonably modern opinion from Rupert Gethin, The Foundations of Buddhism (1998).

He says that the situation is not certain but...
Gethin wrote:It seems clear that at some point after the Vaisali meeting the primitive Sangha formally divided into tow parties each of which henceforth had its own ordination traditions. The ancient accounts are inconsistent as to what provoked the split. Some suggest that it was the result of a dispute over five points, later associated with a monk named Mahadeva, concerning the nature of the arahat. That this was indeed the cause of the division is accepted by Bareau (a French scholar). Other ancient sources attribute the division to a disagreement over questions of Vinaya, and the more recent scholarship suggests that this is the explanation to be preferred. According to this view a reformist group in the Sangha proposed tightening discipline on certain matters of Vinaya, while the majority were happy to leave things as they stood. Since the two parties failed to come to an agreement, the Sangha divided into two: the reformist sthaviras (Pali: thera) or 'elders' and the majority mahasanghaikas or 'those of the great community'. The dating of this important event ... is ... problematic [probably before or maybe during Ashoka's reign.]
The puggala-vardin (personalists), sarvasti-vadin (all things past, present and future exist), vibhajayavadin, and theravadins were products of later splits of the reformist stharvira group.

Mike
To get things clear: the non-reformists became the mahayana and the reformists the theravada? I always thought it was the other way around. This is about that schism, right?
This would be an important point to clarify. My recollection was that the mahayana emerged mostly out of the stharvira group, which is why the sarvastivadin abdhidhamma and other sarvastivadin canonical works are preserved in Chinese. I hope someone more knowledgeable will chip in and clarify this point.

Mike

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:53 pm
by Ytrog
Ah, I understand. I was confused by the maha in mahasanghaikas, thinking that this group must have formed mahayana and:
sthaviras (Pali: thera) or 'elders'
Which is also similar to theravada, so I assumed this was the forbearer of theravada.

Re: Which texts did the Mahāsāṃghikas dispute?

Posted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:57 pm
by Kenshou
I think you're right about "sthavira", but "maha" just means "great", more or less, you see that prefix everywhere in Pali or Sanskrit, has nothing to do with Mahayana inherently.