Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

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Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:32 pm

Hi all,

Here are some resources for anyone interested in the historical aspects of the bodhisattva path in Sri Lanka and other Theravāda locations:


And a few papers discussing the Pāḷi Yogāvacara texts:


All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:30 pm

Here is a list of Pāḷi Yogāvacara texts from the Reference Table of Pāli Literature compiled by Ven. Nyanatusita:

    Vidarśanā pota, Vidarśanā bhāvanā pota, Dhyāna pota, Samasatalis karmasthānadhyānabhāvanā, Bambaragalē Pota, Vipassanā Niddesa (Pāḷi–Sinh. C. Compiled by Rambukavällē Ratanajoti on advice of Siamese theras, 18th c. Different versions? Beg: Okāsa vandāmi bhante… Eng. trans.: Manual of a Mystic. The material of this and the below entries is similar.) N 6601(6; 7; 23; 43 i & ii, 50; 76), LCM 699–702, SH 236.

    Parikammabhāvana (C? Pāḷi. Beg: Upāda uppajjantu…) N 6601(23iii).

    Kasinabhāvanāpota, Cattālisakammaṭṭhāna (Pāḷi–Sinh. Beg: Ahaṃ yācāmi uggahanimmitaṃ…) N 6601(6 & 64).

    Kasinabhāvanāpota, Cattālisakammaṭṭhāna (Pāḷi–Sinh. Beg. Okāsa accayo no bhante accagamā…) N 6601(51).

    Ratanaamatākaravaṇṇanā, Amatākaravaṇṇanā, Yogijanakantavimuttimagga (Pāli verse. 18th c.? Beg: Niccaṃ kilesamalavajjitadehadhāriṃ. The title Vimuttimaggauddāna is arbitrary according to Somadasa in N.) N 6601(85i), SH 236, LCM 687, L.

    Samathavipassanabhāvanavākkapprakaraṇaṃ, Dvidhāvuttakammaṭṭhāna (Pāḷi prose. Beg. Vanditvā sirasā buddhaṃ … Okāsa okāsa bho sabbaññu Gotama sitthakadīpa… The 13 ch. titles are same as in Amatākaravaṇṇanā with which it is found in the same MS bundle. Maybedvi dhā refers to the verse text followed by the prose text. Cf prec. and next entries. N 6601(85ii).

    Duvidhakammaṭṭhāna, (C? In same entry as Kammaṭṭhānasaṅgaha in L. Beg: Vanditvā… Okāsa sabbaññu Gotama sitthakadīpa… 4 chapters.) N 6601(23ii), SW, L.

    Kammaṭṭhānasaṅgaha (C, Sāriputta, 12th c. Maybe identical with the preceding entry.) SW, Ps, HP 144.

    Kammaṭṭhānadīpanī (Sāriputta. Maybe identical with the preceding entry. ) Ps, SW.

    Kammaṭṭhānavibhāga (C?) L.

    Kammaṭṭhānagahananiddesasannaya, L.

    Kammaṭṭhāna, Kammaṭṭhānabhāvanā, Karmaṣthāna, Kamaṭahan, Kamaṭahansannaya (C. Different works?) LCM 1067, N 6600 (145), L.

    Vimuttisaṅgaha (Pāḷi.) (C?) L.

    Vimuttisaṅgahasannaya (C) L.

    Vimuktisaṃgrahaya ((Pāḷi verse + sanna + Sinh. prose.C, Laṅkāsenavirat pirivena adhipatti, late 14th c. Often together with the Skhandhādingē vibhāgaya and Navaarahādībuddhaguṇa vibhāgaya. Beg: Natvā buddhañca…) N 6601(55), CM xxxii, SL 53, L.

    Vimuktimargaya (C?) L.

    Mūlakammaṭṭhāna, Mahāmūlakammaṭṭhāna (Ic.) PCS 2.165, PSA 108, VP 4/120.

    Yokappako Ācāriya (La?) PSA 121.


    Abbreviations:

    B: Burma/Myanmar
    CM: Chiang Mai/Lān2 Nā
    I: India
    Ic: Indochina. (Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Siam, Vietnam, i.e., the wider sense given in the Oxford Dictionary.)
    Kh: Khmer/Cambodia
    La: Laos
    S: Siam/Thailand
    SI: South-India, Tamil Nadu
    C: Ceylon/Sri Lanka



    CM: Catalogue of Ceylonese Manuscripts; C.E. Godakumbara, the Royal Library, Copenhagen, 1980.
    HP: Handbook of Pāli Literature. Somapala Jayawardhana; Colombo, 1994.
    L: Lankāvē Puskoḷa Pot Nāmāvaliya I and II. K.D. Somadasa; Colombo, 1959 and 1964.
    LCM: Catalogue of Palm Leaf Manuscripts in the Library of the Colombo Museum; W.A. de Silva; Colombo 1938.
    N: Catalogue of the Hugh Nevill Collection of Sinhalese Manuscripts in the British Library, 7 vols.; K.D. Somadasa, London, 1987 - 95.
    PCS: Pāli Literature Transmitted in Central Siam. Peter Skilling & Santi Pakdeekham; Bangkok 2002. (§)
    Ps: Pitakat samuin (Burmese History of the Tipiṭaka); Mahasirijeyasū, 19th c.
    PSA: Pāli Literature of South-east Asia; Ven. Dr. Hammalawa Saddhātissa, Singapore, 1992, repr. 2004.
    SH: Singhalesische Handschriften Teil I; Heinz Bechert and Maria Bidoli, Wiesbaden, 1969. Singhalesische Handschriften Teil II; Heinz Bechert, Stuttgart, 1997.
    SL: Sinhalese Literature; C.E. Godakumbara, Colombo, 1955.
    SW: “Sāriputta and his works”; Primoz Pecenko, JPTS XXIII (1997), pp. 159–179.
    VP:The Pāli Manuscript Collection kept in the Vat Phra Jetuphon Vimol Mangklaram (Vat Po), Jacqueline Filliozat, Bangkok, 2002–2003. In ED 108. (MS No.)

All the best,

Geoff
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby bodom » Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:54 pm

Excellent Geoff, thank you.

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:10 am

Yeah, well, it can be without doubt shown that there were Mahayana bits and pieces in the Theravadin history of ideas, but that, even taking all of the above to account, is a long, long way from finding within the mainstream Theravada anything that looks like the Mahayana bodhisattva path structures and deified Buddha and diminished arhat that characterizes any of the major hermeneutic schools of the Mahayana.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Paññāsikhara » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:14 am

tiltbillings wrote:Yeah, well, it can be without doubt shown that there were Mahayana bits and pieces in the Theravadin history of ideas, but that, even taking all of the above to account, is a long, long way from finding within the mainstream Theravada anything that looks like the Mahayana bodhisattva path structures and deified Buddha and diminished arhat that characterizes any of the major hermeneutic schools of the Mahayana.


Have you read Tochiichi Endo's (formerly from Kelaniya Uni) book on the Theravada concept of the Buddha?
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Sun Dec 12, 2010 8:19 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Yeah, well, it can be without doubt shown that there were Mahayana bits and pieces in the Theravadin history of ideas, but that, even taking all of the above to account, is a long, long way from finding within the mainstream Theravada anything that looks like the Mahayana bodhisattva path structures and deified Buddha and diminished arhat that characterizes any of the major hermeneutic schools of the Mahayana.


Have you read Tochiichi Endo's (formerly from Kelaniya Uni) book on the Theravada concept of the Buddha?
I am sure you are going to tell me I am full of toe-nail pickings. I have read the suttas, which are not quite congruent with Theravadin doctrine, and the suttas also carry a certain amount of baggage of valorizing the Buddha, but nothing like the stuff that can be found in the Mahayana.

So, no I have not read Endo's book. What am I missing?
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Dec 13, 2010 4:54 am

tiltbillings wrote:
Paññāsikhara wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Yeah, well, it can be without doubt shown that there were Mahayana bits and pieces in the Theravadin history of ideas, but that, even taking all of the above to account, is a long, long way from finding within the mainstream Theravada anything that looks like the Mahayana bodhisattva path structures and deified Buddha and diminished arhat that characterizes any of the major hermeneutic schools of the Mahayana.


Have you read Tochiichi Endo's (formerly from Kelaniya Uni) book on the Theravada concept of the Buddha?

I am sure you are going to tell me I am full of toe-nail pickings. I have read the suttas, which are not quite congruent with Theravadin doctrine, and the suttas also carry a certain amount of baggage of valorizing the Buddha, but nothing like the stuff that can be found in the Mahayana.

So, no I have not read Endo's book. What am I missing?


"toe-nail pickings"? :thinking:

"Missing?" A fairly good study of the concept of the Buddha in the Theravada tradition. Which, of course, would be helpful to utilize before any comparisons with the Mahayana could be made.

And yup, the Theravada Buddha is 16 feet tall and pretty much all the rest. Though I'm not sure if the docetism and "has always been enlightened" ideas are there. Ideas which, as we know, were only accepted by parts of the Mahayana, anyway.

Prof Endo does describe this as the "deification" or "apotheosis" of the Buddha, which gives the general idea.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby alan » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:18 am

Nothing I've read in the Suttas says anything about Boddisattvas.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:33 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:"Missing?" A fairly good study of the concept of the Buddha in the Theravada tradition. Which, of course, would be helpful to utilize before any comparisons with the Mahayana could be made.

And yup, the Theravada Buddha is 16 feet tall and pretty much all the rest. Though I'm not sure if the docetism and "has always been enlightened" ideas are there. Ideas which, as we know, were only accepted by parts of the Mahayana, anyway.

Prof Endo does describe this as the "deification" or "apotheosis" of the Buddha, which gives the general idea.
From what I read about the book, it is a study of what is found in the commentarial literature, but for me what would be far more interesting is a study of the differences betwwen the Commentaries and the suttas. Though there is some titanization of the Buddha in the suttas, the over all picture of the Buddha in the suttas is far more human than not.

Docetism is clearly identified in the Kathavatthu and soundly rejected.

Ideas which, as we know, were only accepted by parts of the Mahayana, anyway.
Which is why there was this push within Indian Mahayana towards systemitizing things, trying make order out of a wildly diverse bunch of "sacred texts" and ideas.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

dheamhan a fhios agam

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:14 am

There are times when I wonderif I have accidentally wandered into a Theravadin website.
The going for refuge is the door of entrance to the teachings of the Buddha.

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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby gavesako » Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:23 am

If you read the introduction to the Nalaka Sutta (which seems to be a commentary inserted before the actual dialogue of the Buddha) you can clearly see the beginnings of the Bodhisattva doctrine taking shape already -- the little prince at his birth is already the greatest being in the universe destined to roll the wheel of Dhamma:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Sanghamitta » Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:14 am

So if someone zonks us on the head with a vase with a peacock feather attached,some Bodhisattva stuff attaches to us does it Bhante ?
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby rowyourboat » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:05 am

I think Sri Lanka should reclaim some of its mahayanic roots, as without Buddhas (and bodisatvas) there would be no arahanths!
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 14, 2010 3:42 am

rowyourboat wrote:I think Sri Lanka should reclaim some of its mahayanic roots, as without Buddhas (and bodisatvas) there would be no arahanths!


This implies Sri Lanka was :quote: Mahayana before Theravada. I think not.

And this implies Theravadins need to become :quote: Mahayana to become Boddhisattvas. They do not. They can remain Theravada and learn to become a Bodhisattva without anything from Mahayana.
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Hanzze » Tue Dec 14, 2010 7:09 am

The Water-Snake Simile

"Monks, there is the case where some worthless men study the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose and verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions [the earliest classifications of the Buddha's teachings]. Having studied the Dhamma, they don't ascertain the meaning (or: the purpose) of those Dhammas [5] with their discernment. Not having ascertained the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment, they don't come to an agreement through pondering. They study the Dhamma both for attacking others and for defending themselves in debate. They don't reach the goal for which [people] study the Dhamma. Their wrong grasp of those Dhammas will lead to their long-term harm & suffering. Why is that? Because of the wrong-graspedness of the Dhammas.

"Suppose there were a man needing a water-snake, seeking a water-snake, wandering in search of a water-snake. He would see a large water-snake and grasp it by the coils or by the tail. The water-snake, turning around, would bite him on the hand, on the arm, or on one of his limbs, and from that cause he would suffer death or death-like suffering. Why is that? Because of the wrong-graspedness of the water-snake. In the same way, there is the case where some worthless men study the Dhamma... Having studied the Dhamma, they don't ascertain the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment. Not having ascertained the meaning of those Dhammas with their discernment, they don't come to an agreement through pondering. They study the Dhamma both for attacking others and for defending themselves in debate. They don't reach the goal for which [people] study the Dhamma. Their wrong grasp of those Dhammas will lead to their long-term harm & suffering. Why is that? Because of the wrong-graspedness of the Dhammas.
more: Alagaddupama Sutta: The Water-Snake Simile



The Raft Simile

"Monks, I will teach you the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: "Suppose a man were traveling along a path. He would see a great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious & risky, the further shore secure & free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. The thought would occur to him, 'Here is this great expanse of water, with the near shore dubious & risky, the further shore secure & free from risk, but with neither a ferryboat nor a bridge going from this shore to the other. What if I were to gather grass, twigs, branches, & leaves and, having bound them together to make a raft, were to cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with my hands & feet?' Then the man, having gathered grass, twigs, branches, & leaves, having bound them together to make a raft, would cross over to safety on the other shore in dependence on the raft, making an effort with his hands & feet. [7] Having crossed over to the further shore, he might think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having hoisted it on my head or carrying on my back, go wherever I like?' What do you think, monks: Would the man, in doing that, be doing what should be done with the raft?"

"No, lord."

"And what should the man do in order to be doing what should be done with the raft? There is the case where the man, having crossed over, would think, 'How useful this raft has been to me! For it was in dependence on this raft that, making an effort with my hands & feet, I have crossed over to safety on the further shore. Why don't I, having dragged it on dry land or sinking it in the water, go wherever I like?' In doing this, he would be doing what should be done with the raft. In the same way, monks, I have taught the Dhamma compared to a raft, for the purpose of crossing over, not for the purpose of holding onto. Understanding the Dhamma as taught compared to a raft, you should let go even of Dhammas, to say nothing of non-Dhammas."
more: Alagaddupama Sutta: The Water-Snake Simile


"The Bodhisatta's Austerities"
63. "Rightly speaking, were it to be said of anyone: 'A being not subject to delusion has appeared in the world for the welfare and happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare and happiness of gods and humans,' it is of me indeed that rightly speaking this should be said."
The Great Discourse on the Lion's Roar
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Just that! *smile*
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BUT! it is important to become a real Buddhist first. Like Punna did: Punna Sutta Nate sante baram sokham _()_
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 14, 2010 1:42 pm

alan wrote:Nothing I've read in the Suttas says anything about Boddisattvas.


It's remarkably absent. Which would lead one who gives the suttas precedence to the conclusion that the Buddha would have us take the path to Arahantship. Guess it depends on who you take as your teacher. Many people enjoy the Buddha's wisdom and delight in practicing meditation, but otherwise do not surrender to the idea that the Buddha is the incomparable teacher of man kind and therefore they do not defer to him, but refer, especially when it comes to mental pleasure seeking. Unfortunately (as happens to some), once Buddhism is relegated to a scholarly pursuit of knowledge then it is no longer regarded as an urgent medicine for a pressing issue.

"There is the case where a monk, as day departs and night returns, reflects: 'Many are the [possible] causes of my death. A snake might bite me, a scorpion might sting me, a centipede might bite me. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me. Stumbling, I might fall; my food, digested, might trouble me; my bile might be provoked, my phlegm... piercing wind forces [in the body] might be provoked. That would be how my death would come about. That would be an obstruction for me.' Then the monk should investigate: 'Are there any evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by me that would be an obstruction for me were I to die in the night?' If, on reflecting, he realizes that there are evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then he should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. Just as when a person whose turban or head was on fire would put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness to put out the fire on his turban or head, in the same way the monk should put forth extra desire, effort, diligence, endeavor, undivided mindfulness, & alertness for the abandoning of those very same evil, unskillful qualities. But if, on reflecting, he realizes that there are no evil, unskillful mental qualities unabandoned by him that would be an obstruction for him were he to die in the night, then for that very reason he should dwell in joy & rapture, training himself day & night in skillful qualities.

- http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... ml#turban1
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'The Blessed One is the Teacher, I am a disciple. He is the one who knows, not I." - MN. 70 Kitagiri Sutta
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:29 pm

BlackBird wrote:
alan wrote:Nothing I've read in the Suttas says anything about Boddisattvas.


It's remarkably absent.

Are you suggesting that prior to his awakening the Buddha wasn't a bodhisattva and the suttas where he refers to himself prior to his awakening as a bodhisattva are fictions?
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:43 pm

The Suttas talk about the Bodhisattva ...singular. The Buddha to be. In our age that was Gautama Siddhartha. All other Bodhisattvas are literary devices and/or left overs from the Vedanta. Which were smuggled back into Buddhism via the Mahayana. Do you really not know Nana that this is the mainstream Theravada view ? Or do you just like playing Maras Advocate ?
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Nyana » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:47 pm

Sanghamitta wrote:All other Bodhisattvas are literary devices and/or left overs from the Vedanta. Which were smuggled back into Buddhism via the Mahayana.

The Metteyya stuff was "smuggled back into Buddhism via the Mahayana"?
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Re: Bodhisattva Path: Historical Aspects In Theravāda

Postby Sanghamitta » Tue Dec 14, 2010 2:54 pm

In every age there is one Buddha per world system. Shakyamuni is the Buddha for this age. Metteya for the next age/world system.

Avalokiteshvara , Tara, Manjushri et al are borrowings from the Vedanta incorporated into the mahayana by a regrettable lapse into the pre Buddhist cosmology of the Indian Subcontinent. Gilding the lily.
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