Question about Vinaya.

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism

Question about Vinaya.

Postby Individual » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:13 am

It's been said that modern research has shown that Mahayana Buddhists' Vinaya is older than Theravadin Vinaya. Would this imply that the Mahayana Vinaya's prohibition against monks eating meat was more likely taught by the Buddha than the Theravadin allowance for it?

In a modern context, can a monk justifiably do something he knows to be unethical or unskillful, even if it's technically allowed for by Vinaya?
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra
Individual
 
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: Question about Vinaya.

Postby retrofuturist » Wed Mar 11, 2009 4:21 am

Greetings Individual,

Individual wrote:It's been said that modern research has shown that Mahayana Buddhists' Vinaya is older than Theravadin Vinaya.


Is it?

In HISTORY OF RELIGIONS Aug. 76 Vol. 16 Nattier and Prebish point out that
the Mahasamghika Vinaya is the oldest version (pp.267-9). It is only in the
Pali, Dharmagupta, Sarvistivada, etc. vinayas that we find the three
allowances.

Nattier and Prebish argue that Mahasanghika vinaya is the oldest on the
basis of the Pratimoksa rules, the Mahasanghikas having fewer rules. They
argue since the Pratimoksa is important for maintaining the identity of the
sangha, it is not likely to be easily changed, and the assumption seems to be
the fewer the rules, the least changes and therefore the older it is. Maybe.
We don't think one can generalize from the specific patimokkha rules -- if
they are older or not -- to the whole of the vinaya. None of the different
schools rules mention the three allowances, but none of the patimokkha rules
of any school prohibit meat eating. The discussion of meat eating in the Pali
texts can be found in at least three places in the Pali vinaya, and these
three allowances are found in the vinaya texts of all except the
Mahasanghikas. Again, it may be that the Mahasanghikas have the oldest
pratimoksa, but that is not necessarily to say that their vinaya texts as a
whole are older.

Nakamura in his INDIAN BUDDHISM states that comparative
study of the vinayas is "a favorite subject of Japanese scholars." He is of
the opinion based upon recent and exhaustive Japanese studies, that the Pali
vinaya is the oldest, followed by the Dharmaguptas, and then we have the
Mahasanghikas.

In a footnote in John C. Holt's DISCIPLINE: The Canonical Buddhism of the
Vinayapitaka, Holt states: "Hirakawa argues that the Suttavibhanga of the
Pali Vinaya represents the oldest version of the first part of the
Vinayapitaka that has survived. He bases his assertion on the fact that the
Pali recension contains the least amount of apadana material when
compared to other texts. Hirakawa considers apadanas to be a genre of
literature from a later period. See Hirakawa, A STUDY OF THE VINAYA (Tokyo:
Sakibo-Busshoron, 1960), pp.12-15."


and venerable Dhammanando says (viewtopic.php?f=16&t=476&start=20#p5464)...

I think you've misunderstood what modern scholars are saying. As there's nothing in the supposedly oldest stratum of the Mahāsaṃghika Vinaya that isn't matched in other Vinaya recensions it's nonsensical to say that scholars regard this Vinaya (rather than the others) as representing the earliest stratum.

In fact the question that modern scholars are chiefly concerned with is which recension of the Vinaya was closed (i.e. stopped adding new material) the earliest. And in this matter the only point on which there is any consensus is that the Mūlasarvastivāda Vinaya was closed the latest. But as to which was closed the earliest, the Theravāda, Dharmagupta and Mahāsaṃghika Vinayas are each treated as the likeliest candidate by one scholar or another.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14726
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Question about Vinaya.

Postby jcsuperstar » Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:25 am

its in a sutra (lankavitara and maybe a couple others) that meat eating is talked about, i dont think it's in their vinaya.. i could be wrong though but as far as i've ever read all the vinaya are pretty much the same, and there is no specific mahayana vinaya, they use the dharmagupta i believe..
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
User avatar
jcsuperstar
 
Posts: 1915
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 5:15 am
Location: alaska

Re: Question about Vinaya.

Postby Bankei » Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:55 pm

Mahayana monks follow the non-Mahayana (or Hinayana) vinaya together with Bodhisattva precepts. Today there are 2 surviving vinaya lineages in addition to the Theravada. Monks of the Tibetan traditions are ordained according to the Mulasarvastivada vinaya and monks from Chinese derviced tradtions according to the Dharmaguptaka vinaya.

So there is really no such thing as a Mahayana vinaya, only other Hinayana vinayas and there are only 3 surviving branches. The article by Prebish argues that generally those schools with the fewest rules are the oldest as rules are gradually added over time. The Mahasamghika version has the fewest rules and he argues, and I forget the details now, that there is evidence from Chinese sources that the Theravadins and others added rules because they wanted to be more strict in certain areas.

Interesting stuff

Bankei
-----------------------
Bankei
Bankei
 
Posts: 427
Joined: Fri Jan 09, 2009 4:40 am

Re: Question about Vinaya.

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Apr 28, 2009 11:43 pm

Greetings Bankei,

Bankei wrote:The Mahasamghika version has the fewest rules and he argues, and I forget the details now, that there is evidence from Chinese sources that the Theravadins and others added rules because they wanted to be more strict in certain areas.


Pali sources differ...

Extract from

The Buddhist Monk's Discipline
by Bhikkhu Khantipalo
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... el130.html

There is a consideration based upon the events of the First Sangayana (Council). In this great gathering of arahants, Venerable Mahakassapa, who was its president, put forward this motion: "If it seems right to the Sangha, the Sangha should not lay down what has not been laid down, nor should it abolish what has been laid down. It should proceed in conformity with and according to the training rules which have been laid down. This is the motion. Your reverences, let the Sangha listen to me. If it seems right to the Sangha, the Sangha should not... (thrice repeated). It is pleasing to the Sangha; therefore it is silent. Thus do I understand." All those who are accepted as (Theravada) bhikkhus in the present day follow this tradition as laid down in the First Sangayana. This is Theravada tradition; it is based upon the decision of those great elders who were ennobled with the highest nobility. Who are we indeed, to go astray from their way?

Although the Teacher before his Parinibbana spoke thus: "After my passing Ananda, let the Sangha if it so desires abolish the lesser and minor rules of training," no Sangha anywhere actually ventured to do this, partly because of the uncertainty in defining "the lesser and minor rules" and partly because they were constrained out of respect to preserve that which had been instituted by the great Teacher. Acariya Nagasena explains that "the Tathagata spoke thus testing the bhikkhus: 'Will my disciples on being left by me adhere to the passing, or will they repudiate them?'" (Milinda Pañha text, PTS p. 143). There is also the consideration that those of other sects might say, "While the Teacher (Gotama) was alive, his disciples respected and honored his precepts but now that he is no more, they throw off the training." But principally the reason was devotion arising from the successful practice of Dhamma Vinaya.


Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


Dharma Wheel (Mahayana / Vajrayana forum) -- Open flower ~ Open book (blog)
User avatar
retrofuturist
Site Admin
 
Posts: 14726
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 9:52 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Question about Vinaya.

Postby Cittasanto » Fri May 01, 2009 11:03 pm

As far as I am aware the Mahayana all come from Theravadan Ordination lines and are not older in any way although aspects may be just as old.
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
Blog, - Some Suttas Translated, Ajahn Chah.
"Others will misconstrue reality due to their personal perspectives, doggedly holding onto and not easily discarding them; We shall not misconstrue reality due to our own personal perspectives, nor doggedly holding onto them, but will discard them easily. This effacement shall be done."
User avatar
Cittasanto
 
Posts: 5830
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:31 pm
Location: Ellan Vannin


Return to General Theravāda discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests