Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

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Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby suanck » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:58 am

From the thread http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2895&start=20:

Paññāsikhara:

.... Reminds me of a good friend of mine, Bhante "A", a Thai bhikkhu (since age 10, or so, now about 30), who has been studying in Taiwan for maybe about 6 years now. We were talking about the Nikayas and Agamas, this whole "early / original Buddhism" idea. He said that actually, much of "original Buddhism" in Taiwanese academia has already become "Samyuktagama studies"...


Is anyone familiar with research works by Dr Mun-Keat Choong, University of New England, Australia? It seems he wrote books and articles on the comparision between the Samyutta-Nikaya (Pali) & Samyukta-Agama (Chinese). However, his PhD thesis, published as a book, is hard to get. By looking at his photo ( http://www.une.edu.au/staff/mchoong.php), it seems that he is a monk from the Mahayana tradion.

Suan
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Paññāsikhara » Mon Dec 07, 2009 2:48 am

suanck wrote:From the thread http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=2895&start=20:

Paññāsikhara:

.... Reminds me of a good friend of mine, Bhante "A", a Thai bhikkhu (since age 10, or so, now about 30), who has been studying in Taiwan for maybe about 6 years now. We were talking about the Nikayas and Agamas, this whole "early / original Buddhism" idea. He said that actually, much of "original Buddhism" in Taiwanese academia has already become "Samyuktagama studies"...


Is anyone familiar with research works by Dr Mun-Keat Choong, University of New England, Australia? It seems he wrote books and articles on the comparision between the Samyutta-Nikaya (Pali) & Samyukta-Agama (Chinese). However, his PhD thesis, published as a book, is hard to get. By looking at his photo ( http://www.une.edu.au/staff/mchoong.php), it seems that he is a monk from the Mahayana tradion.

Suan


Since it is a post of mine from another thread that is being used as a thread starter here, may be appropriate to say a few words.

I am somewhat somewhat familiar with Choong's book The Notion of Emptiness in Early Buddhism, because my own dissertation is on sunyata in the early Prajnaparamita, and so I build up from so-called early Buddhism and mainstream school Buddhism. It seems to me that a lot of the content of Choong's book is from the first chapter of Yinshun's book Investigations into Sunyata 空之探究, 1985. So, I just use Yinshun, who I think does a better job on the stratification of the primary source material (eg. Choong includes the Ekottaragama, which is almost definitely quite a late version, and also some sutras / suttas of schools which are not found in other schools, and are hence most properly considered as sectarian and not pan-Buddhist texts). I haven't read or studied his more recent writings, however. It looks like he is becoming quite specialist in this area, great stuff! It is a pity that most of his comparative studies seem to be quite small-range, what is needed is a great broad overview of the material. I wonder if he has thought about translating Yinshun's Compilation of the Early Buddhist Canon into English? That would be a great help.

I think that although he is ordained in the Chinese traditions, coming from Malaysia, I believe, there is quite a lot of Theravada influence amongst many Chinese Buddhists in Malaysia (I have more than a few friends who are Malaysian Chinese, ordained in the Theravada). Remember, even those ordained in the Chinese system, ie. Dharmagupta based bhiksu/ni ordination, plus Bodhisattva precepts, their bhiksu/ni ordination is still that of an early Buddhist school. In a sort of way, they are not "Mahayana bhiksu/nis", but are "Dharmagupta bhiksu/nis, and Mahayana Bodhisattvas".
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Ben » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:31 am

Thank you Bhante for your contribution!
Venerable Choong's body of work looks extremely interesting.
kind regards

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby suanck » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:01 am

Thanks you, Bhante, for information.

I'm interested to get one of his books: "The fundamental teachings of early Buddhism: A comparative study based on the Sutranga portion of the Pali Samyutta-Nikaya and the Chinese Samyuktagama", based on his PhD Thesis. I could not believe the price tag of US$1,400.00 when I searched at amazon.com! See it at: http://www.amazon.com/fundamental-teachings-early-Buddhism-Samyutta-Nikaya/dp/344704232X

Perhaps it is classified as a rare book for collector's items!

Additional search at the original publisher in Germany ( http://www.harrassowitz.de/ ) reveals the list price is only 74 euros.

Don't know if I should try to order a copy!

Suan
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Dmytro » Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:53 am

Hi Suan,

You may find interesting:

A Digital Comparative Edition and Translation of the Shorter Chinese Saṃyukta Āgama (T.100)

http://buddhistinformatics.chibs.edu.tw/BZA/

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.pdf

A CRITICAL TRANSLATION OF FAN DONG JING, THE CHINESE VERSION OF BRAHMAJALA SUTRA
by Cheng Jianhua

http://www.library.websangha.org/earlyb ... Agamas.zip

Comparative Study of Different Versions of the Dharmapada
Research in Chinese Versions of this Ancient Buddhist Text

Miroslav Rozehnal

http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-AN/101333

http://ekottara.googlepages.com/

http://www.suttacentral.net/

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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Bankei » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:26 am

You may also find interesting the articles by the German Theravada monk ven Analayo. There are a few available online, including one or two in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:59 pm

Bankei wrote:You may also find interesting the articles by the German Theravada monk ven Analayo. There are a few available online, including one or two in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics.

He is a very good scholar. If you could find links to these articles, it would be approceaited by me and others.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Dmytro » Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:26 pm

Hi Tilt,

tiltbillings wrote:He is a very good scholar. If you could find links to these articles, it would be approceaited by me and others.


I've given the link:

http://www.buddhismuskunde.uni-hamburg. ... ations.pdf

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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby tiltbillings » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:17 pm

Really good stuff by a really good scholar monk. Thanks.
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.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Ben » Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:53 pm

Thanks Dmytro.
I've just checked out Ven Analayo's publication list and read one of his journal articles.
They're a real treasure! Thanks so much!
metta

Ben
Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.

Taṃ nadīhi vijānātha:
sobbhesu padaresu ca,
saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

Sutta Nipata 3.725


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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby zavk » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:27 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Really good stuff by a really good scholar monk. Thanks.


Ben wrote:I've just checked out Ven Analayo's publication list and read one of his journal articles.
They're a real treasure!


Hear hear! Ven. Analayo's work gets a two thumbs :twothumbsup: and two big toes up from me! :D

I think it was mentioned recently in another thread but I highly recommend his book on the Satipatthana. I've read it many times, but not cover to cover though. I find the book very useful as a resource for clarifying specific aspects of meditation practice as and when they come up in my experience.
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby suanck » Tue Dec 08, 2009 1:29 am

zavk wrote:
I think it was mentioned recently in another thread but I highly recommend his book on the Satipatthana. I've read it many times, but not cover to cover though. I find the book very useful as a resource for clarifying specific aspects of meditation practice as and when they come up in my experience.


I agree. Ven Analayo's book -- based on his PhD thesis -- on the Satipatthana Sutta is a good reference book on the subject, and I strongly recommend all of us to obtain a copy and read.

A good review by Lance Cousins (4 pages, PDF format) could be downloaded from:

http://www.equinoxjournals.com/ojs/index.php/BSR/issue/view/83

Cousins concluded in that review: "... Ven. Anālayo has
collected and applied a great many relevant passages from the Pali canonical and commentarial
literature. This is a valuable contribution to the study of satipaṭṭhāna practice
within the Theravāda tradition. It also sheds much light on how an intelligent and scholarly
practitioner in present times perceives what he is doing
."

Thanks to you all, for the links on the subject of Samyutta-Nikaya (Pali) & Samyukta-Agama (Chinese). Much appreciated.

Since Pali (and Sanskrit) and Classical Chinese are difficult languages to master -- and require several years to study, I wonder if it's better to have joint effort, collaboration / team effort, for a group of scholars (some are fluent in Pali & some are fluent in Classical Chinese) to work together on the subject, instead of individual studies?

Suan
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:24 am

suanck wrote:
Since Pali (and Sanskrit) and Classical Chinese are difficult languages to master -- and require several years to study, I wonder if it's better to have joint effort, collaboration / team effort, for a group of scholars (some are fluent in Pali & some are fluent in Classical Chinese) to work together on the subject, instead of individual studies?

Suan


Well, sure, that is a nice idea. But the realities of academia are not always conducive for such things.

Profs and wannabe profs have to write articles and books. They do this between teaching classes,
usually scraping in hours or minutes between "scheduled" activities.
To work together on an article is not easy. They would almost have to be in the same location / university.
One may say that tech allows them to be at separate locations, but a lot of things have to be discussed ad nauseum.

However, the way things work, most Buddhist studies centers specialize in one type of Buddhism,
eg. Pali / Theravada Buddhism, East Asian Buddhism, etc. so, they seldom have the people who can do both.
Most specialists in Pali / Theravada may know some Sanskrit, but very, very know Chinese or Japanese.
Most specialists in East Asian Buddhism know classical Buddhist Chinese, and probably Japanese,
some may know Skt or even Tibetan, but few know Chinese. Most think it entirely irrelevant.

Moreover, less academic "cred" (which is needed to become a Prof, or gain tenure) is given to translations
than it is to "academic" studies. So, there is little impetus to do major translation works, eg. the Samyuktagama, etc.

Academic teamwork in writing articles is easier said than done.
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby being5 » Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:59 am

Hello Suanck,

The Australasian Digital Theses Program lists Australasian theses http://adt.caul.edu.au/homesearch
If you do a search on "Choong" you will find the thesis you are interested in listed amongst the results (Number 28). It is not available online from the University of Qld. which awarded it but they do have a service where you can buy a hardcopy http://www.library.uq.edu.au/iad/docdeliv/uqtheses.html

The University of New England, UNE (the Australian one), where Dr. Choong is a staff member according to the link you posted has a copy of his thesis in book form and 3 other books by him in their library. Do a search on "Choong" and "Author" here: http://www.une.edu.au/library/
You might also consider emailing him mchoong@une.edu.au

You can join the UNE library as a special borrower for an annual fee and then use their resources, including borrowing books at a distance. If you are a student you may be able to borrow through inter library loan without having to become a special borrower. I'm assuming you're not in Australia...
http://www.une.edu.au/library/services/community/specialborrowers.php

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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby suanck » Tue Dec 08, 2009 4:38 am

Ven Pannasikara:

Thanks for insightful info on the Buddhist academia world. It seems not much different than the scientific academia I used to know! :-)

Don't know if some Buddhist organisations in Taiwan or Japan, with strong financial supports, could organize and/or sponsor such joint research? Perhaps it's just my wishful thinking ...

Dear Being5,

Thanks for your informative message. I'm exploring ways to obtain a copy of that book.

Suan
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:29 am

suanck wrote:
Don't know if some Buddhist organisations in Taiwan or Japan, with strong financial supports, could organize and/or sponsor such joint research? Perhaps it's just my wishful thinking ...



Yes, organizations in Taiwan and / or Japan probably could do that.

But ...

These organizations, though having academic elements, are almost all based on, and receive their support from, the Buddhism practiced by the ordinary people, obviously including their big financial sponsors.

Why would they want to spend money and time promoting texts (the Agamas) and forms of Buddhism (early Indian Buddhism) which are often quite at odds with the traditions that they have upheld for the past 1000+ yrs?

For example, can you see a Japanese school based on the Lotus Sutra (eg. forms of Tendai, Nichiren, etc.) encourage people to seriously spend time and effort to investigate the Agamas as opposed to the Lotus sutra, which they uphold as the ultimate teaching ever given?

Any real look into the Agamas (let alone the Nikayas) in East Asian Buddhism in the last 100 yrs, has only come from a small group of scholars, and some very tiny and minority practice groups in the last 10-20 years. The majority of the Buddhist population in these countries tends to look at this as "Hinayana". Enough said.
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby BlackBird » Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:54 am

Insightful doesn't quite do this justice.
"For a disciple who has conviction in the Teacher's message & lives to penetrate it, what accords with the Dhamma is this:
'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: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Paññāsikhara » Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:32 am

And likewise too, why it is difficult to find good backing for investigations into the history of the Mahayana and Tantric traditions in places like Sri Lanka, and most of SE Asia, where, for several centuries, they were quite popular and strong. You know, simple little things, like copper plates of the large Prajnaparamita sutra, and other such things.
:focus:
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Bankei » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:03 am

suanck wrote:
zavk wrote:

Since Pali (and Sanskrit) and Classical Chinese are difficult languages to master -- and require several years to study, I wonder if it's better to have joint effort, collaboration / team effort, for a group of scholars (some are fluent in Pali & some are fluent in Classical Chinese) to work together on the subject, instead of individual studies?

Suan


Actually Ven Analayo has teamed up with Rod Bucknell and Sujato Bhikkhu on a project. see http://suttacentral.net/contacts.htm

Rod Bucknell has written a few articles (some in JIABS) and a few books too, he was formerly a monk in Thailand and later a lecturer in Buddhist Studies at QLD Uni and is proficient in Chinese, Sanskrit, Thai and a few more.
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Re: Samyutta-Nikaya & Samyuktagama

Postby Bankei » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:07 am

Paññāsikhara wrote:And likewise too, why it is difficult to find good backing for investigations into the history of the Mahayana and Tantric traditions in places like Sri Lanka, and most of SE Asia, where, for several centuries, they were quite popular and strong. You know, simple little things, like copper plates of the large Prajnaparamita sutra, and other such things.
:focus:


Hi Ven Paññāsikhara

This is an area that I am interested in too and I have collected a number of articles and books over the years. I will try to put together a list when I have time. There is a fair bit out there already.

Bankei
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