Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Textual analysis and comparative discussion on early Buddhist sects and texts.

Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Indrajala » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:53 pm

I have had something on my mind as of late and I figure I would bring it over to Dhamma Wheel for the sake of having fresh voices to dialogue with. This might sound provocative, but I hope it will generate positive discussion about a subject I've been pondering for awhile.

I think in the English speaking world (and Japan as well in my experienced) there is a notable favouritism for the Theravada Pali canon when discussing Early Buddhism. The idea is that it is most representative of the Buddha's original teachings, life story and the development of the sangha.

However, there is evidence to suggest this might not be the case. The Mahāsāṃghika scriptures and Vinaya might be better representative of said details. Take for example the following point:

“The Mahāsāṃghikas were involved in the first division of the Buddhist community in the second century after the demise of the Buddha, that is, the schism between the Mahāsāṃghikas and the Sthaviravādins. This schism was most likely invoked by the expansion of the root Vinaya text by the future Sthaviravādins, an expansion that was not accepted by the later Mahāsāṃghikas.”


(Bart Dessein in "The First Turning of the Wheel of the Doctrine: Sar and Maha Controversy" in Handbook of Oriental Studies The Spread of Buddhism, edited by Ann Heirman and Stephan Peter Bumbacher (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 15.)

This isn't specifically suggesting the Sthaviravādins simply made up material and wanted to add it (though to some extent that might have been a possibility, which the early Mahāsāṃghikas were concerned about). There is also the account of Devadatta, which in the Mahāsāṃghika school differed considerably. He is simply seen as a virtuous monk. The Japanese scholar Dr. Nakamura Hajime was of the opinion, supported by numerous others incidentally, that the villainous stories about Devadatta were simply later fabrications.

This begs the question of what else on the Sthaviravāda side of the early canon was later fabrications. For example, did the Buddha really say that the Dhamma's longevity in the world would fall into demise five hundred years earlier for having admitted nuns? This is something Dr. Jan Nattier in her work Once Upon a Future Time Studies in a Buddhist Prophecy of Decline discusses. Essentially, this teaching is found in the canons of the Sarvāstivādin, Mahīśāsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Theravādin and Haimavātas schools, all of which belong to the Sthaviravāda branch of early Buddhism, though it is not found in the known canon of any school belonging to the Mahāsāṃghika branch. This quite possibly demonstrates a later fabrication, which raises some concern about using the Sthaviravāda canon as a gauge for authenticity concerning early Buddhism.

Consequently, if it could be demonstrated that the Mahāsāṃghika canon, largely preserved only in Chinese nowadays admittedly, is better representative of early Buddhist history, would this not render some contemporary Theravada claims on best representing early Buddhism as somewhat baseless?

Moreover, could this possibly have an influence on contemporary Śrāvakayāna Buddhology in the sense that Mahāsāṃghika conception of the Buddha, i.e., transcendental and supramundane, could be better appreciated and even adopted? Their conception of the Buddha was the precursor for the later Mahāyāna vision of the Buddha, but nevertheless it was based on pre-Mahāyāna literature just as legitimate, if not more than, the Sthaviravāda Nikāyas. It just used a clearly different interpretative approach.

Venerable Guang Xing in his work The Concept of the Buddha explains,
The Mahāsāṃghikas’ religious philosophy was based more on faith than on reason, and accepted whatever was said by the Buddha or, more precisely, whatever was taught in the Nikāyas and the Āgamas. As a result, they developed the concept of a transcendental (lokottara) Buddha based on the superhuman qualities of the Buddha, as discussed in Chapter 1 above. Two aspects of the Mahāsāṃghikas’ concept of the Buddha can be identified: the true Buddha who is omniscient and omnipotent, and the manifested forms through which he liberates sentient beings with skilful means. Shakyamuni was considered but one of these forms. The true Buddha supports the manifested forms that can appear in the worlds of the ten directions. In Mahayana Buddhism, the former aspect – the true Buddha – was developed and divided into the concept of the dharmakāya and the concept of the sambhogakāya; the latter aspect – the manifested forms – was developed into the concept of nirmaṇakāya. Thus, the Mahāsāṃghikas are the originators of the idea of the nirmaṇakāya, and the manifested forms can have many embodiments. Furthermore, they also introduced the theory of numerous Buddhas existing in other worlds.


So, really what I am suggesting is that in a Śrāvakayāna context the Mahāsāṃghika scriptures and even ideas might be adopted in light of the fact they perhaps better represent early Buddhism. Some of material in the Pali canon which can safely be regarded as later additions (such as the purported account of the Buddha saying the Dhamma would demise five-hundred years earlier for having admitted nuns) might also be set aside as illegitimate. On a perhaps more volatile note, some of Theravada could possibly enjoy a more transcendental vision of the Buddha, as the Mahāsāṃghikas clearly did, without detaching from its Nikāya roots.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby David N. Snyder » Tue Jun 26, 2012 4:26 pm

This should be an interesting analysis; look forward to seeing the responses from our members.

Huseng wrote:There is also the account of Devadatta, which in the Mahāsāṃghika school differed considerably. He is simply seen as a virtuous monk. The Japanese scholar Dr. Nakamura Hajime was of the opinion, supported by numerous others incidentally, that the villainous stories about Devadatta were simply later fabrications.


Ven. Dhammika mentions in one of his blog posts how in Theravada that perhaps Devadatta was vilified more than he should have been. He mentions that in the Tipitaka, there is little mention of him except for a few times in the Vinaya, but in the later accounts he is made into a huge villain.

In regard to the historical development of Buddhism, I think Theravada is pretty safe with the first four Nikayas and there is nothing in the first four Nikayas (which are certainly Buddhavacana), which would in any way contradict Theravada.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Alex123 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 5:37 pm

Hello Huseng, all,

Are there Mahāsāṃghika suttas translated into English? Other than difference regarding Devadatta, Fallibility (?) of Arhats, Transcendental Buddha, what are the doctrinal differences? Thanks.

As for idea of the Buddha. To me, Gotama as being an ordinary human until Buddhahood, is FAR MORE inspiring than the idea that He was some transcendental Being (God?) who only pretended to be unawakened. It also appears that Buddha didn't know about electricity, how weather works, what causes eclipses, geology/history.


With best wishes,

Alex
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Cittasanto » Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:22 pm

Huseng wrote:I have had something on my mind as of late and I figure I would bring it over to Dhamma Wheel for the sake of having fresh voices to dialogue with. This might sound provocative, but I hope it will generate positive discussion about a subject I've been pondering for awhile.

Hi,
Good to see you over here again!

I think in the English speaking world (and Japan as well in my experienced) there is a notable favouritism for the Theravada Pali canon when discussing Early Buddhism. The idea is that it is most representative of the Buddha's original teachings, life story and the development of the sangha.

Without reading further just yet,
I though it was also to do with the Theravada being the oldest surviving dhamma & Vinaya Line, with all the other surviving lines being "merged liniages" of two or more schools and other later add ons. a living example (for lack of better phrase)

However, there is evidence to suggest this might not be the case. The Mahāsāṃghika scriptures and Vinaya might be better representative of said details. Take for example the following point:

“The Mahāsāṃghikas were involved in the first division of the Buddhist community in the second century after the demise of the Buddha, that is, the schism between the Mahāsāṃghikas and the Sthaviravādins. This schism was most likely invoked by the expansion of the root Vinaya text by the future Sthaviravādins, an expansion that was not accepted by the later Mahāsāṃghikas.”


(Bart Dessein in "The First Turning of the Wheel of the Doctrine: Sar and Maha Controversy" in Handbook of Oriental Studies The Spread of Buddhism, edited by Ann Heirman and Stephan Peter Bumbacher (Leiden: Brill, 2007), 15.)

This isn't specifically suggesting the Sthaviravādins simply made up material and wanted to add it (though to some extent that might have been a possibility, which the early Mahāsāṃghikas were concerned about). There is also the account of Devadatta, which in the Mahāsāṃghika school differed considerably. He is simply seen as a virtuous monk. The Japanese scholar Dr. Nakamura Hajime was of the opinion, supported by numerous others incidentally, that the villainous stories about Devadatta were simply later fabrications.

This begs the question of what else on the Sthaviravāda side of the early canon was later fabrications. For example, did the Buddha really say that the Dhamma's longevity in the world would fall into demise five hundred years earlier for having admitted nuns? This is something Dr. Jan Nattier in her work Once Upon a Future Time Studies in a Buddhist Prophecy of Decline discusses. Essentially, this teaching is found in the canons of the Sarvāstivādin, Mahīśāsaka, Dharmaguptaka, Theravādin and Haimavātas schools, all of which belong to the Sthaviravāda branch of early Buddhism, though it is not found in the known canon of any school belonging to the Mahāsāṃghika branch. This quite possibly demonstrates a later fabrication, which raises some concern about using the Sthaviravāda canon as a gauge for authenticity concerning early Buddhism.

Consequently, if it could be demonstrated that the Mahāsāṃghika canon, largely preserved only in Chinese nowadays admittedly, is better representative of early Buddhist history, would this not render some contemporary Theravada claims on best representing early Buddhism as somewhat baseless?

I don't believe so, as (please correct me) but werent the Mahāsāṃghikas the group who wanted to change the vinaya, and some other things during the first schism?
but I believe a comparative analysis of the respective canons would be best to know what the Buddha taught in some areas, but to my understanding they all have the same legitimacy in claiming to be from the Buddha.

Moreover, could this possibly have an influence on contemporary Śrāvakayāna Buddhology in the sense that Mahāsāṃghika conception of the Buddha, i.e., transcendental and supramundane, could be better appreciated and even adopted? Their conception of the Buddha was the precursor for the later Mahāyāna vision of the Buddha, but nevertheless it was based on pre-Mahāyāna literature just as legitimate, if not more than, the Sthaviravāda Nikāyas. It just used a clearly different interpretative approach.

(underline added)
I think the interpretative approach is the problem, and think to answer fully I will wait for an answer to the last question above (put in bold for this purpose)

Venerable Guang Xing in his work The Concept of the Buddha explains,
The Mahāsāṃghikas’ religious philosophy was based more on faith than on reason, and accepted whatever was said by the Buddha or, more precisely, whatever was taught in the Nikāyas and the Āgamas. As a result, they developed the concept of a transcendental (lokottara) Buddha based on the superhuman qualities of the Buddha, as discussed in Chapter 1 above. Two aspects of the Mahāsāṃghikas’ concept of the Buddha can be identified: the true Buddha who is omniscient and omnipotent, and the manifested forms through which he liberates sentient beings with skilful means. Shakyamuni was considered but one of these forms. The true Buddha supports the manifested forms that can appear in the worlds of the ten directions. In Mahayana Buddhism, the former aspect – the true Buddha – was developed and divided into the concept of the dharmakāya and the concept of the sambhogakāya; the latter aspect – the manifested forms – was developed into the concept of nirmaṇakāya. Thus, the Mahāsāṃghikas are the originators of the idea of the nirmaṇakāya, and the manifested forms can have many embodiments. Furthermore, they also introduced the theory of numerous Buddhas existing in other worlds.


So, really what I am suggesting is that in a Śrāvakayāna context the Mahāsāṃghika scriptures and even ideas might be adopted in light of the fact they perhaps better represent early Buddhism. Some of material in the Pali canon which can safely be regarded as later additions (such as the purported account of the Buddha saying the Dhamma would demise five-hundred years earlier for having admitted nuns) might also be set aside as illegitimate. On a perhaps more volatile note, some of Theravada could possibly enjoy a more transcendental vision of the Buddha, as the Mahāsāṃghikas clearly did, without detaching from its Nikāya roots.

The first teaching (as Ajahn Sumedho likes to think of it) was a Q&A, to paraphrase, "are you a god? no! are you a human? no!". certainly the Buddha was trascending the world with its gods and humans and all other beings, but I believe it is in a particular way, one which faith can skew, and reason can down play.
The Arahants are individuals of one mind (if I remember the text correctly, and please feel free to provide a reference not sure where it is) not one being of many forms, as then we are all already enlightened and it begs the question how did we get defiled and the problem of Buddha nature as described by Ajahn Thanissaro is in play, i.e., what is the point if we can not escape samsara perminently? to possibly over simplify it :-(
This offering maybe right, or wrong, but it is one, the other, both, or neither!
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby daverupa » Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:05 pm

I'm unaware of any large differences other than a few extra Sutras which involve emptiness in uncommon ways, vinaya, and abhidhamma. Very little doctrinal difference sticks out to me, but I'm not very well-read here.
    "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: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Dan74 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 12:41 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Huseng, all,

Are there Mahāsāṃghika suttas translated into English? Other than difference regarding Devadatta, Fallibility (?) of Arhats, Transcendental Buddha, what are the doctrinal differences? Thanks.

As for idea of the Buddha. To me, Gotama as being an ordinary human until Buddhahood, is FAR MORE inspiring than the idea that He was some transcendental Being (God?) who only pretended to be unawakened. It also appears that Buddha didn't know about electricity, how weather works, what causes eclipses, geology/history.


With best wishes,

Alex


I am not sure about the OP, but this widely held misconception doesn't remotely do justice to the Mahayana teachings on the nature of the Buddha.

I am poorly read with little or no insight but even at my level it is clear to me that it is more like a general Buddha principle manifesting in a particular person of Gotama rather than some superbeing pretending to be human.

The Flower Ornament Sutra deals with this question with a subtlety and depth that seems to escape most of the detractors and I am sure I have not helped much either.

For what it's worth, in the tradition that I practice, Gotama, the man is not denied, but there are more levels to the story, indeed to all our stories.
_/|\_
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby daverupa » Wed Jun 27, 2012 1:35 am

Here's a nice addition, courtesy of tiltbillings elsewhere.
___

This is from the great buddhologist Msgr. Etienne Lamotte, SJ in his exhaustive HISTORY OF INDIAN BUDDHISM (Peeters Press, 1988, page 156):

However, with the exception of the Mahayanist interpolations in the Ekottara [the Chinese equivalent to the Pali Canon's Anguttara], which are easily discernable, the variations in question affect hardly anything save the method of expression or arrangement of the subjects. The doctrinal basis common to the agamas [preserved in Chinese and partially Sanskrit and Tibetan] is remarkably uniform. Preserved and transmitted by the schools, the sutras [discourses] do not however constitute scholastic documents, but are the common heritage of all the sects.


This makes the comparison one of abhidhammas, perhaps vinayas.
    "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: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:34 am

Cittasanto wrote:I don't believe so, as (please correct me) but werent the Mahāsāṃghikas the group who wanted to change the vinaya, and some other things during the first schism?
but I believe a comparative analysis of the respective canons would be best to know what the Buddha taught in some areas, but to my understanding they all have the same legitimacy in claiming to be from the Buddha.


It was the Sthaviravādins (ancestors of Theravada), not the Mahāsāṃghikas, who wanted to add material to the Vinaya, which led to the schism as the story goes.

Comparative analysis has lead some scholars to believe the Mahāsāṃghika material best represents the earliest available versions of Buddhist texts. They tend to have less material than from other schools, which in the context of religious literature usually means it is the earlier edition because material is usually added, not deleted, over time.

The Mahāsāṃghika canon could very well be a better representative for early Buddhist literature than the Pali canon. I know that is potentially volatile to say, but given that there is a decided bias in favor of the Pali canon, given western interactions in Asia from the 19th century onward, I think it is worth considering.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:36 am

daverupa wrote:Here's a nice addition, courtesy of tiltbillings elsewhere.
___

This is from the great buddhologist Msgr. Etienne Lamotte, SJ in his exhaustive HISTORY OF INDIAN BUDDHISM (Peeters Press, 1988, page 156):

However, with the exception of the Mahayanist interpolations in the Ekottara [the Chinese equivalent to the Pali Canon's Anguttara], which are easily discernable, the variations in question affect hardly anything save the method of expression or arrangement of the subjects. The doctrinal basis common to the agamas [preserved in Chinese and partially Sanskrit and Tibetan] is remarkably uniform. Preserved and transmitted by the schools, the sutras [discourses] do not however constitute scholastic documents, but are the common heritage of all the sects.


This makes the comparison one of abhidhammas, perhaps vinayas.


The Mahāsāṃghikas rejected Abhidharma, however they did indeed have a Vinaya.

It might all be common heritage, but at the end of the day their respective interpretations differed considerably.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:40 am

Alex123 wrote:Hello Huseng, all,

Are there Mahāsāṃghika suttas translated into English? Other than difference regarding Devadatta, Fallibility (?) of Arhats, Transcendental Buddha, what are the doctrinal differences? Thanks.

As for idea of the Buddha. To me, Gotama as being an ordinary human until Buddhahood, is FAR MORE inspiring than the idea that He was some transcendental Being (God?) who only pretended to be unawakened. It also appears that Buddha didn't know about electricity, how weather works, what causes eclipses, geology/history.


With best wishes,

Alex


There is not -that- much material on the Mahāsāṃghikas in English.

You pretty much pinned down the key differences. The purported founder of the Mahāsāṃghikas, Mahādeva, plays a vilified role in some Buddhist legends. He is said to have held five heretical views:

Arhats can be led astray by others;
Arhats are still subject to ignorance (despite their awakened state);
Arhats are subject to doubt;
Arhats can be taught by others (and are therefore not omniscient);
[various forms, all revolving around the notion that] it is [somehow] permissible or good to say "Oh, the suffering!" [etc.]


See DDB (http://www.buddhism-dict.net/cgi-bin/xp ... 7%E5%A4%A9)

Whether or not this is actually true, it is a polemic against the Mahāsāṃghikas that might best represent what the other side had problems with in Mahāsāṃghikas doctrines.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:49 am

Huseng wrote: The purported founder of the Mahāsāṃghikas, Mahādeva, plays a vilified role in some Buddhist legends. He is said to have held five heretical views:

Arhats can be led astray by others;
Arhats are still subject to ignorance (despite their awakened state);
Arhats are subject to doubt;
Arhats can be taught by others (and are therefore not omniscient);
[various forms, all revolving around the notion that] it is [somehow] permissible or good to say "Oh, the suffering!" [etc.]

See this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=11630
for a discussion of the permanence of arahantship in different schools, with reference to MN 29 Maha Saropama Sutta.

:anjali:
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:50 am

Huseng wrote:It was the Sthaviravādins (ancestors of Theravada), not the Mahāsāṃghikas, who wanted to add material to the Vinaya, which led to the schism as the story goes.
That is, of course, like much of early Buddhist history, still open to debate.

Comparative analysis has lead some scholars to believe the Mahāsāṃghika material best represents the earliest available versions of Buddhist texts. They tend to have less material than from other schools, which in the context of religious literature usually means it is the earlier edition because material is usually added, not deleted, over time.
The question, however, how much actual Mahāsāṃghika material is there, especially in terms of sutta literature.

The Mahāsāṃghika canon could very well be a better representative for early Buddhist literature than the Pali canon. I know that is potentially volatile to say, but given that there is a decided bias in favor of the Pali canon, given western interactions in Asia from the 19th century onward, I think it is worth considering.
The Pali Canon is the only canon we have in an actual Indic language that goes back fairly close in time to the Buddha. It is a shame we do not have a complete canon from another school in an Indic language and it is too bad that the Tibetans did not translate into Tibetan a complete canon,given the high quality of their translation work, which has been better in many respects to a lot of the work done into Chinese.

The Mahāsāṃghika canon could very well be a better representative for early Buddhist literature than the Pali canon. We will never really know.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:00 am

Huseng wrote:
The Mahāsāṃghikas rejected Abhidharma,
Another one of those things that is open to debate.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:07 am

Huseng wrote:It was the Sthaviravādins (ancestors of Theravada), not the Mahāsāṃghikas, who wanted to add material to the Vinaya, which led to the schism as the story goes.

Comparative analysis has lead some scholars to believe the Mahāsāṃghika material best represents the earliest available versions of Buddhist texts. They tend to have less material than from other schools, which in the context of religious literature usually means it is the earlier edition because material is usually added, not deleted, over time.


In most situations I would agree with that. However, 227 precepts are a lot of things to follow! And there are bound to be some, as we see even today, who want to relax some of those rules/precepts. And according to the accounts of the Second Buddhist council it was over 10 major points, including using money, eating after midday, etc., i.e., that some wanted to reduce the number of rules, not to add any. If the account we have for the Second Buddhist council is correct, I would say that gives more evidence that the Pali Canon is the earliest Buddhavacana that we know of.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby sunyavadin » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:50 am

The criticisms of the arahats was also characteristic of the early Mahayana (although I seem to recall, their criticisms included that they could still suffer nocturnal emissions, i.e. wet dreams). Was there a relationship between the Mahāsāṃghika and early Mahayana, or is that also something that not known?
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby JBG » Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:26 pm

"Human nature being what it is, it is perfectly credible that the Mahāsāṅghikas believed that they had preserved the original form of the Vinaya which had been altered by others. Their opponents are unlikely to have agreed. They probably felt that things had become lax and it was necessary to restore the pristine teaching. In such a dispute historians should not take sides. We may be sure that each party was able to make a case for its position."

"What is important is that the picture which now emerges is one in which the earliest division of the saṅgha was primarily a matter of monastic discipline. The Mahāsāṅghikas were essentially a conservative party resisting a reformist attempt to tighten discipline. The likelihood is that they were initially the larger body, representing the mass of the community, the mahāsaṅgha. Subsequently, doctrinal disputes arose among the reformists as they grew in numbers and gathered support. Eventually these led to divisions on the basis of doctrine. For a very long time, however, there must have been many fraternities (nikāyas) based only on minor vinaya differences. They would have been very much an internal affair of the saṅgha and the laity would have been hardly aware of them. Geographical differences and personalities would have been more important than doctrine."

The ‘Five Points’ and the Origins of the Buddhist Schools, by L.S. Cousins, 1992
From here: http://www.shin-ibs.edu/academics/_forum/v2.php


"In current Buddhology, there are two primary but opposing hypotheses to explain the beginnings of Indian Buddhist sectarianism. The first, advocated by Andre Bareau, presumes the schism that separated the Mahāsāṃghikas and Sthaviras to have resulted from disciplinary laxity on the part of the future Mahāsāṃghikas, coupled with concerns over five theses predicated by the monk Mahādeva. The second hypothesis, more recently promulgated by Janice Nattier and myself, suggests that the initial schism resulted not from disciplinary laxity but solely from unwarranted expansion of the root vinaya text by the future Sthaviras."

"One of the major features of the second thesis revolves around the degree to which it can be demonstrated that the Sthaviras may have expanded the root vinaya text. A comparison of two very early vinayas, the Mahāsāṃghika-Lokottaravādin’s (in Sanskrit) and the Theravādin’s (in Pāli), amply shows that the two texts bear remarkable coincidence in all but one category: the śaikṣa-dharmas (simple faults or misdeeds, the least serious category of precepts). In that category, the Mahāsāṃghika text posits sixty-seven items, while the Theravāda text posits seventy-five."

"The paper argues that the divergent rules in the two nikāyas demonstrate an attempt on the part of the future Sthaviras to circumvent a potential saṃghabheda, or schism within the order, by making more explicit the general areas of disagreement that precipitated the second council. In so doing, they inadvertently provoked the split they were so diligently trying to avoid."

The Role of Prātimokṣa Expansion in the Rise of Indian Buddhist Sectarianism, by Charles S. Prebish, 2007
From here: http://www.shin-ibs.edu/academics/_pwj/three.nine.php
Last edited by JBG on Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:06 pm

JBG wrote:
...

The ‘Five Points’ and the Origins of the Buddhist Schools, by L.S. Cousins, 1992
http://www.shin-ibs.edu/documents/bForu ... ousins.pdf


This link is opening to an error page for me. An alternative location for this article can be found here:

Buddhism: Critical Concepts in Religious Studies Series, Edited by Paul Williams:

Volume II –The Early Buddhist Schools and Doctrinal History; Theravāda Doctrine
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby JBG » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:28 pm

ancientbuddhism wrote:
JBG wrote:
...

The ‘Five Points’ and the Origins of the Buddhist Schools, by L.S. Cousins, 1992
http://www.shin-ibs.edu/documents/bForu ... ousins.pdf


This link is opening to an error page for me. An alternative location for this article can be found here:


Hmmm, I don't know why the direct links to those pdf articles don't work, but I changed the links to the pages where they are available.
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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby ancientbuddhism » Wed Jun 27, 2012 3:34 pm

Sects and Sectarianism by Sujato

    “It seems tome that far too much weight has been ascribed to the Dīpavaṁsa, the earliest Sri Lankan chronicle. This version of events, despite straining credibility in almost every respect, continues to exert a powerful influence on the Theravādin sense of communal identity. The fact that some modern scholars have treated it favourably only reinforces this tendency.

    The research contained in this work was primarily inspired by my involvement in the reformation of the bhikkhuni order within Theravāda. While we will only glance upon this issue here, one of the central questions in the revival of the bhikkhuni lineage from the Theravādin perspective is the validity of ordination lineages in other schools. The traditional Theravādin view would have it that the bhikkhunis in existence today are ‘Mahāyāna’. Mahāyāna, it is claimed, is descended from the Mahāsaṅghikas, and the Dīpavaṁsa asserts that the Mahāsaṅghikas are none other than the ‘evil’ Vajjiputtakas, who advocated the use of money by monks, and who were defeated at the Second Council, but who later reformed and made a new recitation. Hence the Mahāyāna is representative of a tradition whose fundamental principle was to encourage laxity in Vinaya. They are ‘schismatic’ and it is impossible to accept them as part of the same communion.

    It seems to me that this view, ultimately inspired by the Dīpavaṁsa, underlies the position taken by many mainstream Theravādins today. I intend to show how the Dīpavaṁsa’s position is incoherent and patently implausible, and that a more reasonable depiction of the origins of Buddhist schools can be constructed from a sympathetic reading of all the sources. ...”
Fingers walk the darkness down
Mind is on the midnight
Gather up the gold you've found
You fool, it's only moonlight.
If you try to take it home
Your hands will turn to butter
You better leave this dream alone
Try to find another. – Townes Van Zandt ‘Lungs’

Secure your own mask before assisting others. – NORTHWEST AIRLINES (Pre-Flight Instruction)

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Re: Favouring Mahāsāṃghika Scriptures

Postby Alex123 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:38 pm

Hello Huseng.

Huseng wrote:You pretty much pinned down the key differences. The purported founder of the Mahāsāṃghikas, Mahādeva, plays a vilified role in some Buddhist legends. He is said to have held five heretical views:

Arhats can be led astray by others;
Arhats are still subject to ignorance (despite their awakened state);
Arhats are subject to doubt;
Arhats can be taught by others (and are therefore not omniscient);
[various forms, all revolving around the notion that] it is [somehow] permissible or good to say "Oh, the suffering!" [etc.]



Well, even the Buddha didn't know everything regarding weather, people's names, names of streets, etc. So even He could be taught this by others.

I do wonder what is meant by "being subject to ignorance". Does it talk about above? Or avijjā as a fetter? If so, what is the evidence for that? What is the evidence that Arhats have avijjā?
I was not; I was; I am not; I do not care."
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