TheDhamma wrote: Paññāsikhara wrote:
Good point. I am not that familiar with the Mahayana and Vajrayana versions, but have heard that there are some similarities, but also some marked differences. I am not sure of the extent of the differences, one big one being that there is no Katthavattu in the Mahayana Abhidharma or Abhidharma-kosa.
Who said anything about Mahayana or Vajrayana? I am referring to the Sarvastivada, Mulasarvastivada, Dharmagupta, Mahisasaka, Kasyapiya, Mahasamghika and other traditions.
In your post you mentioned "Sanskrit, Chinese, and even Tibetan materials."
The Chinese and Tibetan texts are Mahayana and Vajrayana, correct?
The early Buddhist schools did not use those languages. But now I see you are probably referring to the fact that the Chinese and Tibetan versions used the early Buddhist school versions of the Abhidhamma, as far as we can tell.
"The Chinese and Tibetan texts are Mahayana and Vajrayana, correct?" - well, no, too vague, so incorrect in this case.
Here, we shall answer in terms of the Buddha's method of Vibhajjavada, ie. an answer which makes distinctions, (as opposed to a direct categorical answer, a counter question, or setting the question aside):
Some of the Chinese texts are Agama, Vinaya and Abhidharma belonging to various Nikayan schools, some are other material belonging to various Nikayan schools, a large amount is Mahayana, some is Vajrayana.
Some of the Tibetan texts are also Agama, Vinaya, Abhidharma and other material belonging to various Nikayan schools, a large amount is common (non-Tantric) Mahayana, a large amount is Tantric / Vajrayana.
(By "other material" I am referring to material that for the Theravadins mainly composes the KN, but for other schools is categorized differently.)
The material I am referring to is mostly the non-Mahayanic (whether common or tantric).
In particular, the various Abhidharma Sastras themselves, of the Hetuvada / Yuktivada / Sarvastivada, and also the Sariputra Abhidharma Sastra. And also the later larger Vibhasa commentaries, and small manuals such as the Hrdaya, Amrtarasa, and so forth. Considering that all of these come from Sthavira traditions, to not consider these at all when discussing the "authenticity" or otherwise of the Pali / Theravada Abhidhamma is a methodological error of simply vast and totally unreasonable proportions.
Also, the Agamas and Vinayas of these other schools is extremely important, too. In many posts above, people have been basing whole arguments on a single passage in a sutta or vinaya, but have not bothered to check to see if these statements / passages are also found in the corresponding texts of other schools. In general, where texts and passages are common across schools, we can kind of establish cut off dates for when this text / statement appeared based on the relations between the schools involved. eg. if found in both Sthavira and Mahasamghika texts, then probably dates from pre-schism period. If found in Theravada, Vatsiputriya and Sarvastivada, but not in other Sthavira schools like Dharmagupta, Kasyapiya, then we can date these accordingly.
Regards the Theravadin material by comparison, all of this material basically pre-dates Buddhaghosa, for instance. This is very important when we consider that although Buddhaghosa is largely using material from earlier texts (see Adikarama, Mizuno, et al), however, in any given citation that he uses, we very seldom can pinpoint from what period or what type of text (eg. Sri Lankan or Indian) it derives. This is very frustrating, and means that we have the Canonical and para-canonical material, which is fairly easy to date, but then have a span of several centuries over which Buddhaghosa's Atthakatha material may
In addition, there is some material that is also classified as "Mahayana" which is relevant here. (Classic examples being the Yogacarabhumi Sastra and Mahaprajnaparamita Upadesa.)
The use of languages is largely irrelevant, as the translations are accurate enough for the material viz the "authenticity" or not of the Abhidhamma / Abhidharma. Where the Mahaprajnaparamita Upadesa makes comments about Katyayana and other Abhidharmikas, for instance, the fact that the source we have is in a Chinese translation and not in its original Sanskrit, makes little difference. It too obviously predates Buddhaghosa, and provides insights from other perspectives.
Personally, I take questions like the "authenticity" or otherwise of a body of literature like the Abhidhamma extremely seriously. As such, it is absolutely vital to take all the possible relevant material into account. Otherwise, with extreme source bias of only examining on body of literature, or only taking information from one Nikayan school, rather than taking all the literature and information from all the schools, of course major errors in our conclusions will result. That would indeed be a shame, don't you think?