Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.
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Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:07 pm

Hello Dhamma Wheelers,

I posted a question on Stack Exchange regarding the differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas. I was hoping to get a comprehensive answer, so I thought I would also post it here since people around here can probably answer it.
Buddhism.SE Question wrote:What are the salient differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas?

I'm looking specifically for a list of discourses that are unique in the Āgama collection. A list of the main doctrinal differences is also acceptable but it would need to have references to back it up.

Thank you.

:anjali:

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Qianxi » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:41 pm

When talking about similarities and differences, I don't think it's very helpful to put all the Chinese agama texts together because all of the main Agama collections come from different schools. You have to take the Chinese agama collections separately.

You can get an approximate idea of the various Agama collections' relationship to the Pali canon by browsing http://suttacentral.net
For example if you look at the Sarvastivada Madhyama Agama (MA) preserved in Chinese http://suttacentral.net/ma parallel texts ending in N (DN,MN,SN,AN) are in the Pali canon. You can find what the site means by 'parallel' by clicking on the 'methodology' tab on the front page.

Obviously this is only an approximate idea. The details can't really be summarised. To get a more detailed idea I'd suggest reading some of the work of Analayo, perhaps starting with his review of the different versions of the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta part 1 part 2

There's lots more of interest available here: http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.htm

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:45 pm

Qianxi wrote:When talking about similarities and differences, I don't think it's very helpful to put all the Chinese agama texts together because all of the main Agama collections come from different schools. You have to take the Chinese agama collections separately.

You can get an approximate idea of the various Agama collections' relationship to the Pali canon by browsing http://suttacentral.net
For example if you look at the Sarvastivada Madhyama Agama (MA) preserved in Chinese http://suttacentral.net/ma parallel texts ending in N (DN,MN,SN,AN) are in the Pali canon. You can find what the site means by 'parallel' by clicking on the 'methodology' tab on the front page.

Obviously this is only an approximate idea. The details can't really be summarised. To get a more detailed idea I'd suggest reading some of the work of Analayo, perhaps starting with his review of the different versions of the Dhammacakkappavattana-sutta part 1 part 2

There's lots more of interest available here: http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.htm


Thank you for the reply Qianxi, I'm aware of those resources and I've already read most of Analayo's publications.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:35 pm

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Jul 03, 2014 7:40 pm

daverupa wrote:Are you aware of Akanuma's Comparative Catalogue of Chinese Agamas and Pali Nikayas?


Yes, I'm aware of it, thank you for mentioning. It's also available for free at Marcus Bingenheimer's website.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:10 pm

In that case, other than Pande's Studies in the origins of Buddhism and the Early Buddhism resources on the site here, I think everything I'm aware of has been mentioned.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Thu Jul 03, 2014 8:36 pm

daverupa wrote:In that case, other than Pande's Studies in the origins of Buddhism and the Early Buddhism resources on the site here, I think everything I'm aware of has been mentioned.


I've read only it's third part, didn't read part one & two. Maybe I've missed something there. Do you think it can answer the OP's question?

Thank you for your effort, daverupa.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby daverupa » Thu Jul 03, 2014 11:13 pm

I had expected that trawling the Catalogue would have done that; how is it deficient?

Pande really only mentions it across pages 3-6 or so, but the rest of the book offers an interesting set of thoughts.

But, a specific list is perhaps not yet extant? Maybe that's where you come in...
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:46 am

daverupa wrote:I had expected that trawling the Catalogue would have done that; how is it deficient?

Pande really only mentions it across pages 3-6 or so, but the rest of the book offers an interesting set of thoughts.

But, a specific list is perhaps not yet extant? Maybe that's where you come in...


Who said it is deficient? It is just not readable nor practical to answer the question, not deficient. I was looking for the main points of divergence but I guess I'll have to wait.

Thank you for the considerate replies.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Qianxi » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:09 am

This thread ( Kalama Sutta: Why in Anguttara Nikaya Chapter three? ) reminded me of an interesting difference.

There is a parallel to the Anguttara Nikaya Kalama Sutta (AN 3.65) in the Sarvāstivāda Madhyama Āgama preserved in Chinese (MA 16).

They are basically the same: the Kalamas come to the Buddha with doubts, the Buddha tells them that the three roots of evil are desire hatred and ignorance, that one can free oneself from these by developing the four divine abodes and that this will result in the four assurances.

The main difference is that in the Anguttara Nikaya the Buddha's initial response to the Kalamas' doubts is the following famous passage:
“It is fitting for you to be perplexed, Kālāmas, fitting for you to be in doubt. Doubt has arisen in you about a perplexing matter. Come, Kālāmas, do not go by oral tradition, by lineage of teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of scriptures, by logical reasoning, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned cogitation, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think: ‘The ascetic is our guru.’ But when, Kālāmas, you know for yourselves: ‘These things are unwholesome; these things are blameworthy; these things are censured by the wise; these things, if accepted and undertaken, lead to harm and suffering,’ then you should abandon them.


However in the Sarvāstivāda Madhyama Āgama the above passage does not appear, and instead the Buddha says:
“Kalamas, do not doubt! Why? When there is doubt, hesitation arises.
Kalamas, you yourselves do not have clear knowledge about whether there is a next life or whether there is no next life. Kalamas, you yourselves also do not have clear knowledge about what action is an offence and what action is not an offence.


There is a discussion of this in Analayo's lecture series on the Madhyama Agama available as mp3 here (end of lecture 9, beginning of lecture 10)

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Mkoll » Fri Jul 11, 2014 9:12 am

Nice find Qianxi. Thanks for pointing that out.

:thanks:

It's always interesting to hear what different recensions have to say, especially about such famous suttas as the Kalama Sutta.
Peace,
James

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Sat Jul 12, 2014 2:22 pm

Qianxi wrote:...


Interesting, Qianxi. Thank you for the note. They are most welcome.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby gillbate » Fri Oct 03, 2014 2:02 am

Hi there, this is my 1st post.
Some part of my research is comparing, directly to Pali and Chinese (Taisho), Mahānidāna Sutta (大緣方便經) in Nikāyas and Āgamas.
Briefly, main structure of suttas are similar but details. To consider which part is true or fault, we have to research in other suttas which contain the same doctrine. Example, for dependent origination doctrine, some Āgama merges two suttas of Nikāya into one sutta of Āgama.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Unrul3r » Tue Oct 07, 2014 8:21 pm

gillbate wrote:Hi there, this is my 1st post.
Some part of my research is comparing, directly to Pali and Chinese (Taisho), Mahānidāna Sutta (大緣方便經) in Nikāyas and Āgamas.
Briefly, main structure of suttas are similar but details. To consider which part is true or fault, we have to research in other suttas which contain the same doctrine. Example, for dependent origination doctrine, some Āgama merges two suttas of Nikāya into one sutta of Āgama.


Welcome gillbate. ;)

Interesting. If it's made available, I'm looking forward to read your research when it's completed.

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Sylvester » Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:38 am

gillbate wrote:Hi there, this is my 1st post.
Some part of my research is comparing, directly to Pali and Chinese (Taisho), Mahānidāna Sutta (大緣方便經) in Nikāyas and Āgamas.
Briefly, main structure of suttas are similar but details. To consider which part is true or fault, we have to research in other suttas which contain the same doctrine. Example, for dependent origination doctrine, some Āgama merges two suttas of Nikāya into one sutta of Āgama.



Woohoo! I echo Unrul3r's welcome and sentiments. Pls do share.

I find especially delicious T14's discussion of the nāmakāya (名身) and rūpakāya (色身) and their relationship to all the bases (處, assuming that the translator of T 14 used the standard Chinese lexicon for āyatana as such). I wonder why contact (觸 ) is not discussed at all, unlike the parallel in DA 13 which discusses 心觸 (mental contact?) and 身觸 (bodily contact?).

While the Pali DN 15 uses the concept of paṭi­gha­samphassa (impingement contact), DA 13 speaks instead of this bodily contact (身觸). I wonder if the concept of pratigha as impingement might not already have been forgotten by the time the Dirgha was translated; elsewhere, the standard Formless pericope "...with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance/impingement..." (paṭi­gha­saññā­naṃ atthaṅgamā) is translated in DA 28 as 滅恚 (cessation of aversion).

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby gillbate » Sat Oct 11, 2014 2:41 pm

Thought it would take years to complete that because I am writing in Thai. :jumping:
For word 處, translator may use A Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms, compiled by William Edward Soohil and Lewis Hodous, which translate as āyatana.
If we use A Buddhist Chinese-Sanskrit Dictionary of Hirakawa Akira, it can be different.
Then you have to use Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary for English.

A Buddhist Chinese-Sanskrit Dictionary can be download at http://www.scribd.com
Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary can be used online at http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/monier/

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Re: Differences between the Pāḷi Nikāyas & Chinese Āgamas

Postby Sylvester » Sun Oct 12, 2014 8:18 am

A few years is OK. As long as they do not unearth any more parallels.


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